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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Council for Economic Opportunities do?

The nonprofit Council for Economic Opportunities has served residents of Greater Cleveland for 55 years. It formed in 1964 in response to Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. In the past half a century, the Council has helped hundreds of thousands of residents better understand the connection between education and growth and prosperity.

The first Head Start classrooms opened in the Fall of 1965: one on Cleveland’s East side and one on the West side. The Council’s first Neighborhood Opportunity Centers opened in 1966. Many elected officials and community leaders are a part of the organization’s success story in Cleveland.

The Council’s mission is to invest in people, nurture their success and transform lives. We do this by addressing four key areas:

(1) Enrolling children and families in early childhood education – we are one of Ohio’s largest Head Start programs;
(2) Providing support services to sustain individuals and families to help people focus on bettering themselves and their families in the future, we are the designated Community Action Agency in Cuyahoga County;
(3) Encouraging and teaching personal and professional development;
(4) Assisting people with job placement and earning a living wage or higher.

The Council for Economic Opportunities oversees the Head Start program. Tell us more about the importance of early childhood learning.

When children are exposed to the world of learning — whether seeing a fuzzy yellow caterpillar for the first time, playing a new instrument or learning how to say hello in a different language — their minds light up. Socialization and literacy skills improve and toddlers are better prepared for the world of learning. We have a great learning-through-play curriculum that gets children ready for kindergarten. They learn letters, number, colors and shapes.

Head Start focuses holistically on children: we integrate nutrition and health and dental screenings into their preschool experience. We have 11 Head Start Centers located throughout Cuyahoga County.

 Are you still enrolling children in Head Start for this school year?  How can parents sign up?

Head Start preschool begins each Fall just like other schools, but we are always accepting new students. Call (216) 589-9922 or click here to start the enrollment process today.

So the key to a bright future is education, and getting an early start. There are still hundreds of thousands of people in our community who may have received an education, but for one reason or another have fallen on hard times. How does the Council reach out and help this individual?

The Council believes that every individual has the potential to succeed. We have three Neighborhood Opportunity Centers where we meet with individuals and families, learn what challenges they face and recommend support services if necessary, then a personal development plan of action and/or a professional development plan. We have life coaches and family development and job placement specialists on staff.

Our Central Neighborhood Center located at 1801 Superior Ave., Suite 400, has three classrooms where we teach life skills and job readiness workshops.

A big issue in our community is unemployment and also, people who have low-paying jobs who want to find better paying work. How does the Council help people find the jobs they are looking for and so desperately need?

The Council for Economic Opportunities provides education opportunities for adults. We have three classrooms centrally located in downtown Cleveland. We teach classes in computer skills, customer service, how to write a resume and how to interview for a job. We have dedicated staff ready to assist people with a professional development plan and then we track and encourage progress each step of the way. The end of the process is an appointment with a Job Specialist who works with the client to get them job interviews. Our team gets really excited when clients get called for interviews and get the job.

What is the vision for the future of the organization?

The Council will empower individuals and families through transformative and innovative programs that are international models of success.

What are the eligibility requirements for your programs and services?

All customers must be Cuyahoga County residents. The majority of the Council’s programs also have income requirements in order to qualify. Those requirements differ based on the specific program.

To find out if you qualify for our Early Head Start and/or Head Start programs, please call (216) 589-9922. To find out if you qualify for one of our personal or professional development courses, please call the Neighborhood Opportunity Center nearest you.

When do you take applications for your programs?

Our programs take applications throughout the year. Head Start and Early Head Start are always enrolling children and families at their locations throughout Cuyahoga County. If a particular center is full, you can apply and be placed on a waiting list. The center will contact you as soon as a spot is available.

The Personal Development/Family Development and Professional Development programs accept applications throughout the year at all of our locations.

Energy Assistance operates during particular seasons. The HEAP Winter Crisis Program operates from November 1st – March 31st and applications are processed in person at the Energy Assistance Office. We also operate a Summer Cooling program. The Summer Cooling program operates from July 1st – August 31st.

Where are your programs located?

The Council has Neighborhood Opportunity Centers located throughout Cuyahoga County. Please click here to find the location that is most convenient for you.