Joint Council for Economic Opportunity (JCEO) was created in 1966 as Clinton County’s official anti-poverty agency, two years after the signing of the historic Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964. The original mandate, which still holds true to this day, was to provide resources and services that promote people’s dignity and self-sufficiency. Programs have changed throughout the years to reflect the changing needs of the community. However, all programs are based on JCEO’s mission to alleviate poverty through practical, timely, and innovative programs and services that emphasize and develop problem-solving skills for people.

In 1998, JCEO established the Head Start program in Franklin County after its success in Clinton County. In 2013, food, transportation, and weatherization services joined Head Start in Franklin County. Joint Council for Economic Opportunity changed its name to Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties to reflect the larger 2-county service area.

JCEO serves the residents of Clinton and Franklin Counties through its main administrative office as well as 11 Community Outreach Centers and ten Head Start Centers. A 24 member Board of Directors consisting of eight members each from the private, public, and consumer sectors of the local community governs the agency. Programs currently administered include Head Start, Early Head Start, Day Care Resources, Food Services, Weatherization, HEAP, Emergency Homeless, Community Outreach, and Senior Outreach.

At JCEO, 96% of the consumers who utilize the Community Action Agency’s services are temporarily in need and are not on any form of public assistance. They are the working poor, the elderly, and the severely sick. They are widows, orphans and sometimes simply the unlucky that have landed suddenly in crisis. At times like these, it is a relief to know there is help available at JCEO.