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Inventory of the State Office of Economic Opportunity Records
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Organization of Inventory

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: State Office of Economic Opportunity Records
    Inventory: F3751
    Creator: State Office of Economic Opportunity
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], State Office of Economic Opportunity Records, f3751, California State Archives.

    Agency History

    In 1964 Congress enacted PL 88-452, an omnibus bill, entitled the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). The Act established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in the Executive Office of the President to direct and coordinate the mobilization of the human and financial resources of the nation to combat poverty in the United States. Initially, this War on Poverty was organized under seven titles. Title I, Youth Programs, established a Job Corps which provided education, work experience and vocational training in conservation camps and residential training centers for low income youth, age 16 through 21. Work Training programs enabled low income youth, age 16 through 21, to obtain full or part-time employment in order to continue or resume their education, and/or gain work experience. The Work-Study program offered part-time employment for low income students to enter or continue college level education. Title II, Urban and Rural Community Action Programs, created General Community Action Programs (CAP's) which elicited local initiative in the identification and resolution of poverty problems. Adult Basic Education Programs sought to instruct adults to read and write the English language effectively. Voluntary Assistance Programs for Needy Children encouraged personal, voluntary support of one or more needy children. Title III, Special Programs to Combat Poverty in Rural Areas, awarded grants up to $1,500. and loans up to $2,500. to low income rural families in order to increase the income of such families through improved farm operation. Migrant and seasonally employed agricultural workers and their families received housing, sanitation facilities, education and day care services. Dairy farmers who were required to remove pesticide-contaminated milk from commercial markets could now apply for indemnity payments. Title IV, Employment and Investment Incentives, authorized loans and guarantees of loans totaling no more than $25,000. for a 15 year period to small business concerns. Title V, Work Experience Program, conducted experimental pilot and demonstration projects in the training of unemployed fathers and other needy persons who were unable to support or care for themselves or their families. Title VI, Administration and Coordination, established the Office of Economic Opportunity and defined its authority. The Director of OEO was delegated to recruit, select and train Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Title VII guaranteed that an individual's opportunity to participate in certain programs under the Act should neither jeopardize nor be jeopardized by his receipt of public assistance.
    Early in 1964 Governor Edmund G. Brown appointed Dr. Paul O'Rourke, M.D. as Special Assistant for Anti-Poverty Planning. Later that year the Governor, by executive order, created the California Office of Economic Opportunity (COEO) to assume responsibility, under the direction of Dr. O'Rourke, for liaison between OEO and non-OEO anti-poverty programming in California. Financed on a 90%-10% basis with the 10% share provided through state and local sources, COEO (more commonly referred to as the State Office of Economic Opportunity, that is, SOEO) received the first federal funds on December 22, 1964. Staffed by a director, deputy director, administrative assistant and six community action representatives, the State Office of Economic Opportunity advised the Governor of his responsibilities with regard to the federal war on poverty; reviewed and monitored programs for recommendation of veto or approval; provided technical assistance and leadership to local communities in the development of projects to combat poverty and in the application for anti-poverty grants; and administered the State Migrant Master Plan.
    Authorized by the Legislature ( Stats. 1965, ch. 1576), the State Migrant Master Plan coordinated a series of programs funded not only under EOA but also under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the federal Public Health Service Act, the Social Security Act and state legislation.
    On May 13, 1968, in response to terms of Congressional Amendments to the Economic Opportunity Act which awarded the states a greater role in war-on-poverty projects, Governor Ronald Reagan formally designated the State's Health and Welfare Agency as the single Community Action Agency (CAA) for anti-poverty programs in California, subject to federal approval. Cities and counties could opt to come under the State Plan or could request separate designation as an independent CAA. Indian reservations were given the same option.
    In order to further consolidate statewide efforts and resources in combating poverty and in the training and placement of hard core unemployed, the State Office of Economic Opportunity was restructured. The Department of Human Resources Development in the Human Relations Agency succeeded to all the duties, powers, purposes, responsibilities and jurisdiction vested in the State Office of Economic Opportunity ( Stats. 1968, ch. 1460). In 1974 the State Office of Economic Opportunity was reintegrated into the newly established Employment Development Department where it remains at the present time.

    Organization of Inventory

    This inventory is in two parts. Part I contains an artificial, functional organization of essentially administrative records. Part II includes individual program accounts arranged according to the original title sequence designated by the EOA of 1964.