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Chapter 1.3 Workforce Development Area (WDA) Designations and Agreements

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Chapter 1.3.1 Resources

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Chapter 1.3.2 Resources

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Chapter 1.3.3 Resources

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Chapter 1.3.4 Resources

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Chapter 1.3.5 Resources

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Chapter 1.3.6 Resources

Fiscal Agent Guidance - June 1, 2021

1.3.1 Background and Purpose

Effective date: July 1, 2020

The local workforce development area (WDA) serves as the jurisdiction for the administration of workforce development activities, and the execution of Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth funds allocated by DWD-DET.

They are the areas within which local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) oversee the functions described in Policy 1.4.3.1

Such areas may be considered a region unto themselves, or may be components of a planning region, each with its own Local Workforce Development Board (WDB).

The Governor must designate local areas in order for the state to receive Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth funding under Title I, subtitle B of WIOA.2


1.3.2 Initial WDA Designations

Effective date: July 1, 2020

WIOA required that within the first two years of enactment, DWD-DET, in consultation with the Governor's Council on Workforce Investment (CWI), chief elected officials (CEOs), and local WDBs, and after a public comment period, establish local workforce development areas (WDAs) within the state.1

In the state of Wisconsin, all local WDAs previously established under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 were re-designated under WIOA on May 16, 2016 per the process outlined in Administrator's Memo 15-04.2

Initial Designation Timeline

Date Event
July 22, 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into law
March 12, 2015 Local area designations discussed with local WDBs during WIOA state call
March 23, 2015 DWD Secretary Reggie Newson consulted with CWI about local area designations
April 15, 2015 DOL issued TEGL 27-14: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Transition Authority for Immediate Implementation of Governance Provisions
May 12, 2015 DOL issued TEGL 27-14, Change 1. Allows Concentrated Employment Programs (CEPs) established under WIA to apply for designation
June 2015 State policy routed in draft form for review and comment to local WDBs and Wisconsin Workforce Development Association (WWDA)
June 13, 2015 State policy and comments discussed with local WDBs at WIOA state call.
June 30, 2015 DWD-DET issued Administrator's Memo 15-04
December 31, 2015 Due date for local areas under WIA to submit "Request Form for Workforce Development Area Designation under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act" to DWD-DET for review
February 11 - March 11, 2016 Designation requests posted to http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wioa/doc/public_review_notice_area_designation.doc for 30-day public review
May 2, 2016 CWI recommended approval of local area designation requests for 11 WDAs to Governor Walker.
May 16, 2016 DWD Secretary Raymond Allen issued WDA designation approval letters to all 11 WDBs.
July 1, 2016 Local area designations in effect

Wisconsin's Local Workforce Development Areas

Wisconsin has identified eleven (11) local WDAs encompassing its 72 counties:

  • WDA 1 – Southeastern Wisconsin: Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties
  • WDA 2 – Milwaukee: Milwaukee County
  • WDA 3 – Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington: Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties
  • WDA 4 – Fox Valley: Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Waupaca, Waushara,and Winnebago counties
  • WDA 5 – Bay Area: Brown, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, and Sheboygan counties
  • WDA 6 – North Central: Adams, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Wood, and Vilas counties
  • WDA 7 – Northwest: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Washburn counties
  • WDA 8 – West Central: Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties
  • WDA 9 – Western: Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties
  • WDA 10 – South Central: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette, and Sauk counties
  • WDA 11 – Southwest: Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, and Rock counties

1.3.3 Subsequent Designations

Effective date: July 1, 2020

At any time, the CEO and local WDB from any unit of local government, including local government consortia, may request to be designated as a local WDA. Requests will be reviewed by the CWI, which will make recommendations to the Governor, who will approve or deny the request in accordance with established policy.1

Designations of local WDAs will be ongoing2 as long as those areas:

  1. Perform successfully;3
  2. Sustain fiscal integrity;
  3. and
  4. Meet the requirements of WIOA Section 106(c)(1) when involved in a planning region.

Local areas that are able to demonstrate successful performance and fiscal integrity must be permitted to continue to operate and may not be re-designated without the consent of the local WDB and CEO in the local area.4

Regular Review of Designations

The Governor may review a local area at any time to evaluate whether that area continues to meet the requirements for subsequent designation.5

The Governor must review local area designations at least once every four years, to coincide with the four-year state planning cycle.6

The local area and CEO must be considered to have requested continued designation unless the local area and CEO notify the Governor that they no longer seek designation.7


1.3.4 Appeals Process for Non-Designation of Local Areas

Effective date: July 1, 2020

If a unit of local government, or a grant recipient, is denied a request to be designated as a local area they may appeal to the CWI using the appeals process outlined in Section VI.c of Wisconsin's Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Combined State Plan.

If the appeal is denied, the appellant may appeal to the United States Secretary of Labor. If the Secretary of Labor determines that the appeals process in the State Plan was not followed appropriately, or that the area in question meets the requirements in WIOA 106(b)(2 or 3), then he/she can require that the area be designated a local area.1


1.3.5 Development of Regions1

Effective date: July 1, 2020

WIOA requires that the state identify regions.2 The purpose of identifying regions is to align workforce development activities and resources with larger regional economic development areas and available resources to provide coordinated and efficient services to both job seekers and employers.3

Wisconsin's Planning Regions

Wisconsin has identified two planning regions based on alignment with its economic development regions and local labor market information, including commuting patterns between counties, shared labor force, and various other economic factors. These regions are:

  • Planning Region A: WDAs 1, 2, and 3
  • Planning Region B: WDAs 4 and 54

1.3.6 Governance Agreements

Effective date: July 1, 2020

Each local WDA must have the following governing agreements in place:

  • CEO Consortium Agreement1
  • WDB By-Laws2
  • WDB-CEO Agreement
  • WDB-Fiscal Agent Agreement
  • CEO-WDB-Service Provider Agreement, only in cases where the service provider is fulfilling multiple roles within the one-stop delivery system3

These agreements may be standalone documents or may be combined with each other or incorporated into other documents as deemed appropriate by the local area.

Agreements may be reviewed and modified anytime deemed appropriated by the CEO or local WDB and may be reviewed by DWD-DET annually consistent with Chapter 1.2 of this policy manual.

Each local WDA must also develop a WIOA Local Plan, and if part of a planning region, must collaborate on the development of a WIOA Regional Plan.


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Fiscal Integrity

Effective date: July 1, 2020

A local workforce development area (WDA) has "fiscal integrity" if the Secretary of Labor has not made a formal determination that either the grant recipient or the administrative entity of the WDA misexpended funds due to willful disregard of the requirements of the provision involved, gross negligence, or failure to comply with accepted standards of administration for the two-year period preceding the determination.

WIOA Sec. 106(e)(2)