Workforce Investment Act: States and Local Areas Have Developed Strategies to Assess Performance, but Labor Could Do More to Help: GAO-04-657

Nilsen, Sigurd R.; Blank, Dianne
June 2004
GAO Reports;6/1/2004, p1
Government Documents
With rising federal deficits and greater competition for public resources, it is increasingly important for federal programs, such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, to show results. This report examines (1) how useful WIA performance data are for gauging program performance; (2) what local areas are doing to manage their WIA performance and assess one-stops on a timely basis, and how states assist these efforts; and (3) the extent to which the Department of Labor is trying to improve WIA's performance measurement system and assess one-stop success. WIA performance data provide a long-term national picture of outcomes, but these data offer little information about current performance and represent a small portion of job seekers who received WIA services. Unemployment Insurance wage records--the primary data source for tracking WIA performance--provide reliable outcome information over time. But they have shortcomings, such as not including some categories of workers, and considerable time lags before data are available. Many states rely on alternative data sources to fill gaps in the wage records. However, the time between when a participant receives services and when their outcomes are reported to Labor can range from about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years or longer. In addition, states' annual reports reflect only a small portion of job seekers who receive WIA services because of restrictions in the law and policies of Labor. With assistance from states, many local areas collect interim outcome information from former participants or employers and use other interim indicators to track WIA performance levels long before wage record data are available. However, states and local areas would like more help from Labor in disseminating best practices on interim performance measures. In addition, these efforts tell them little about the performance of their overall one-stop systems. Many states and local areas rely on other indicators--job seeker measures, employer measures, program partnership measures, and family and community indicators to assess their one-stops. Labor has taken steps to improve WIA's performance system and assess onestops, but could do more. Although Labor is studying adjustment methods that could better take into account local differences when negotiating performance levels, it has not committed to using such a method nationally. Labor also has efforts to improve the quality of WIA's performance data and is developing a set of common measures for one-stop partner programs. Yet as part of the common measures, Labor plans to restrict the use of alternative data. Labor has also delayed plans to conduct an impact evaluation and will not meet its statutory requirement to do so by 2005.


Related Articles

  • The Role of Labor-Management Cooperation in Economic Development. Goulet, Janet C. // Labor Law Journal;Aug88, Vol. 39 Issue 8, p538 

    The article discusses the role played by the labor-management cooperation in economic development in the United States. Labor-management cooperation plays a singularly important role in economic development. While economic development involves a host of factors, the labor force and its...

  • Highlights of a GAO Forum: Workforce Challenges and Opportunities For 21st Century: Changing Labor Force Dynamics and the Role of Government Polices: GAO-04-845SP. Walker, David M. // GAO Reports;6/1/2004, p1 

    The U.S. workforce of the 21st century is expected to face a very different set of opportunities and challenges than previous generations. Demographic and economic trends indicate that the size and composition of the labor force, as well as the characteristics of many jobs, are changing in the...

  • Jobless Claims Fall 16,000 To 461,000 in Oct. 11 Week.  // Bond Buyer;10/17/2008, Vol. 366 Issue 32984, p21 

    The article reports on the decline in initial claims for unemployment in the U.S., based on the data released by the Department of Labor. It fell 16,000 to 461,000 in the week of October 11, 2008. The four-week moving average for initial claims for the week was 483,250 up from the previous...

  • Jobless Claims Rise 7,000 to 318,000. Smith, Nicole M. // Bond Buyer;9/22/2006, Vol. 357 Issue 32472, p2 

    The article reports on the survey conducted by the U.S. Labor Department which found out that first-time applications for state unemployment benefits rose 7,000 to 318,000 in the week ended September 16, 2006. Insurance and Financial Review Markets predicted that the seasonally adjusted figure...

  • Jobless Claims Up 10,000 To 324,000 in June 16 Week.  // Bond Buyer;6/22/2007, Vol. 360 Issue 32656, p2 

    The article reports on the initial claims of unemployment which rose 10,000 to 324,000 released by the U.S. Department of Labor in the U.S. The initial claims came above the expectation as from the forecast had centered on 311,000 new claims, within a range of 310,000 to 315, 000 based on the...

  • Budget Watch. J. C. // Education Week;9/17/1986, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p14 

    The article reports on the plan of conducting of a vote on across-the-board cuts by lawmakers if the fiscal 1987 deficits exceeds 154-billion dollars in the U.S. 9.4 percent would be the required cut based on the General Accounting Office's forecast. According to most observers, Congress will...

  • National Emergency Grants: Labor Is Instituting Changes to Improve Award Process, but Further Actions Are Required to Expedite Grant Awards and Improve Data: GAO-04-496. Nilsen, Sigurd R. // GAO Reports;4/16/2004, p1 

    The Department of Labor (Labor) awards national emergency grants to states and local areas to provide assistance to workers who lose their jobs because of major economic dislocations or disasters. Most grants awarded are regular grants to assist workers affected by plant closings or mass...

  • Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan: HEHS-99-152R. Fagnoni, Cynthia M. // GAO Reports;7/20/1999, p1 

    Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, focusing on assessing the: (1) usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking purposes; and (2) degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the...

  • Enforcement can be improved. Limbacher, Patricia B. // Pensions & Investments;10/3/1994, Vol. 22 Issue 20, p8 

    Reports on the General Accounting Office's (GAO) recommendations for the improvement of the US Department of Labor's (DoL) efforts to protect pension plan participants. Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration's inability to evaluate its current enforcement strategy; DoL's disagreement with...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics