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entitled 'Youth Opportunity Grants: Lessons Can Be Learned from 
Program, but Labor Needs to Make Data Available' which was released on 
December 9, 2005. 

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Report to Congressional Requester: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

December 2005: 

Youth Opportunity Grants: 

Lessons Can Be Learned from Program, but Labor Needs to Make Data 
Available: 

GAO-06-53: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-53, a report to congressional requester: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Youth Opportunity Grant program (YO) represented an innovative 
approach to improving education and employment opportunities for at-
risk youth by targeting resources in high poverty areas and 
incorporating strategies that experts have identified as effective for 
serving this population. The Department of Labor (the Department) 
awarded 36 grants in 2000, and the program continued for 5 years. The 
Department had used a similar approach on a smaller scale in previous 
programs, but little information is available on the impact of these 
other programs. In order to understand what can be learned from the 
Youth Opportunity Grant program, GAO examined the granteesí 
implementation of the program, challenges they faced, and what is known 
about the programís outcomes and impact. To view selected results from 
GAOís Web-based survey of the Program Directors, go to GAO-06-56SP. 

What GAO Found: 

Grantees used a variety of approaches to build the infrastructure of 
the YO program, provide services to at-risk youth, and conduct outreach 
efforts. While grantees set up centers and trained core staff to 
deliver services, they differed somewhat in their approaches, depending 
on circumstances within their communities. In addition, grantees 
employed a combination of strategies to provide youth services, 
including collaborating with other providers and inventing unique 
programming. To recruit this hard-to-serve target population, grantees 
used a range of techniques, from partnering with juvenile justice 
agencies, to combing malls for eligible youth. 

Fast program start up, conditions in their communities, and the 
characteristics and needs of the youth challenged the grantees; however 
they used features of the program design to address some of these 
difficulties. Many grantees struggled to set up the program, especially 
within the Departmentís time frame. In addition, grantees felt 
encumbered by the drugs, violence, and a lack of jobs in their 
communities as well as the obstacles facing their clients, such as low 
academic achievement and lack of family support. Grantees used the 
discretion and other components built into the program design to 
address many of these challenges. For example, in response to safety 
concerns, an urban grantee elected to provide transportation for youth 
attending evening events. However, grantees and others said more 
planning time would have been beneficial. 

Grantees and others reported that the youth and their communities made 
progress toward the YO program goals, but the programís impact is still 
under study. Grantees reported that they had enrolled about 91,000 
youth nationwide, many of whom completed high school, entered college, 
or found employment after enrolling in the program. In addition, 
grantees and others said that the grants had benefited their 
communities. However, without an impact analysis, it is not known 
whether these events would have occurred in the absence of the program. 
The Department contracted for a $24 million evaluation of the program 
that included plans for an impact analysis; however, agency officials 
are unsure if the analysis will be completed. 

Manchester Point Arena Youth Opportunity Center, Calif.: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that the Secretary of Labor take the actions necessary 
to complete the impact analysis of the Youth Opportunity Grant program 
and release the data and all related research reports from the 
programís evaluation. In comments on GAOís draft report, the Department 
agreed with GAOís recommendation to complete the impact analysis and 
publish all related reports. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-53. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact David Bellis at (415) 904-
2272 or bellisd@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Grantees Carried Out the Program Using a Variety of Approaches: 

Grantees Used Program Design to Address Major Challenges, but Found 
Start-up Time to be Short: 

Grantees and Others Reported That Participants and Their Communities 
Made Progress, but the Program's Impact Is Still under Study: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Labor: 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Related GAO Products: 

Table: 

Table 1: YO Program Areas, Corresponding Youth Activities, and Examples 
of Implementation: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Location of Youth Opportunity Grantees: 

Figure 2: Key Components of Youth Opportunity Grant Program: 

Figure 3: Photos of YO Centers: 

Figure 4: Number of Youth Who Signed up for, Participated in, and 
Achieved at Least One Educational or Employment Goal of the Program: 

Abbreviations: 

CIMC: California Indian Manpower Consortium: 
ISY: In-school youth:
MIS: Management information system: 
OIG: Office of Inspector General: 
OSY: Out-of-school youth: 
YO: Youth Opportunity Grants: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

Washington, DC 20548: 

December 9, 2005: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

The Honorable Arlen Specter: 
Chairman: 
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and 
Related Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

More than 5 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 were jobless 
and out of school in 2001, according to a recent study,[Footnote 1] and 
young people living in high poverty areas face particularly difficult 
barriers to employment and education. A variety of factors make this 
population hard to serve, including low levels of academic attainment, 
limited work experience, and a scarcity of jobs in their communities. 
Much remains to be learned about the best ways to help these youth 
connect with education and employment opportunities. A 2003 report by 
the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth concluded that a 
lack of rigorously collected program evaluation data has limited the 
potential for gaining insight into the strategies that are most 
effective for serving these youth. 

One program that explored innovative strategies was the Youth 
Opportunity Grant program, authorized under the Workforce Investment 
Act of 1998.[Footnote 2] This was a 5-year, $1 billion program aimed at 
increasing the educational attainment and long-term employment of youth 
residing in impoverished areas. The program was the successor to 
several prior demonstration programs that were based on a similar 
model. Through the Youth Opportunity Grants awarded under the program, 
the Department of Labor targeted funds to 36 localities with high 
poverty rates and employed a comprehensive approach for attempting to 
improve opportunities for at-risk youth living in these communities. 
All 14 to 21 year-olds residing in the target areas, regardless of 
income, were eligible to receive services, and once enrolled, could 
usually remain in the program as long as needed. The program design 
included many of the strategies experts have suggested are effective in 
serving at-risk youth, including providing a safe place for young 
people to go, assigning a key adult to monitor their progress, and 
offering a wide array of services. The program also provided a system 
for grantees to report performance information and included plans for 
an extensive evaluation study. The program began in 2000 and was funded 
for 5 years. 

In order to understand what can be learned from the Youth Opportunity 
Grant program, you asked us to examine the following: (1) How did 
grantees implement the Youth Opportunity Grant program? (2) What 
challenges did they face, and what can be learned from their 
experiences in addressing them? (3) What is known about the outcomes 
and impact of this program, both on the participants and on their 
communities? 

To answer these questions, we surveyed the 36 Youth Opportunity Grant 
program directors, visited 7 grantees, and analyzed program data 
provided by the Department of Labor. All of the program directors 
completed the survey, which we conducted between March and May 
2005.[Footnote 3] We conducted five in-depth site visits to grantees, 
during which we interviewed program administrators, staff, youth, and 
other members of the community. We also toured youth opportunity 
centers, in-school facilities, and observed program activities. We 
selected these five sites according to the proportionate representation 
of urban, rural, and Native American grantees as well as for their 
geographic distribution. We briefly visited two additional grantees 
while pretesting the survey, and at these sites, we toured grantees' 
centers and spoke with program administrators, staff, and youth. In 
addition, we reviewed agency documents and interviewed agency officials 
and relevant experts. To address the third question regarding outcomes 
and impact, we also analyzed electronic data the Department of Labor 
collected from the grantees in a management information system 
developed specifically for the program. 

We conducted our work from September 2004 through November 2005 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Results in Brief: 

Grantees carried out the Youth Opportunity Grant program--which was 
designed in part to enhance the local infrastructure of youth services-
-in a variety of ways. As outlined in the program design, grantees set 
up centers in the target areas that served as focal points for the 
program and housed a core staff of trained youth workers who provided 
case management and individualized services to participants. Because 
the target areas varied in size, some grantees had 1 center while 
other, more geographically-dispersed grantees had as many as 40. 
Grantees also offered participants a range of youth services in the 
areas of education, occupational training, leadership development, and 
support services. Youth could participate in an array of activities in 
these areas, from college tours and subsidized employment to community 
service projects and health-related workshops. Grantees collaborated 
with other organizations to deliver some of these services, such as 
arranging for youth to attend GED preparation classes at a local 
agency. In many cases, grantees also developed unique programming to 
fill gaps in available services. One grantee started a charter high 
school, the only one of its kind in that city. All of the grantees 
tracked the activities of participants and transmitted the information 
to a reporting system administered by the Department of Labor. In 
addition, many grantees used innovative methods to recruit 
participants, such as placing outreach staff in malls and providing 
work-related incentives for youth to participate. 

Grantees faced challenges related to program start-up, conditions in 
their communities, and meeting the service needs of the youth; however, 
certain features of the program design such as local discretion and 
individualized services, helped grantees address these challenges. Most 
of the grantees reported that it was difficult to set up a center 
within the 7 months the Department of Labor expected the programs to be 
operational and grantees said that this quick start-up had an adverse 
effect on retaining participants. As a consequence, grantees, experts, 
and agency officials said that programs could have benefited from 
additional time to plan. In addition, although most grantees found it 
difficult to establish an information-reporting system, some of them 
ultimately found it useful for their own program management purposes. 
Most grantees reported that existing conditions in their communities 
were problems--such as violence, drugs, and lack of jobs--but grantees 
used the discretion afforded to them by the program to devise a range 
of approaches to address the problems. For example, a rural grantee 
responded to limited employment opportunities in its area by 
subsidizing positions with local businesses and providing the youth 
transportation to jobs in other locales. Additionally, grantees told us 
that the obstacles facing their clients--such as low academic 
achievement, health problems, and lack of family support--made it 
difficult for the youth to move forward, but found aspects of the 
program's design--such as case management and individualized services-
-useful in helping the youth deal with these barriers. For example, one 
grantee trained case managers to conduct mental health assessments of 
the youth and, when deemed appropriate, arranged for a professional 
counselor to provide therapy at the center. 

Grantees and others reported that the participants and their 
communities made progress toward the education and employment goals of 
the program; however, a formal assessment of the program's impact is 
still under study. Data provided by the grantees show that the Youth 
Opportunity Grant program enrolled about 91,000 youth nationwide, a 
number of whom subsequently completed high school, entered college, or 
found employment. In addition, grantees and others told us that the 
program benefited their communities. However, in the absence of a 
systematic impact analysis, it is not known whether the events they 
cited would have occurred without the program. The Department of Labor 
contracted for a $24 million evaluation of the program that included 
plans for an impact analysis. However, agency officials are unsure if 
the impact analysis will be completed as originally planned due to the 
Department's allocations being less than expected. 

In order to learn from this innovative program and continue to improve 
efforts to serve at-risk youth, we recommend the Secretary of Labor 
take the actions necessary to complete the impact analysis of the Youth 
Opportunity Grant program and release the impact data and all related 
research reports from the program's evaluation. In comments on GAO's 
draft report, the Department of Labor agreed with our recommendation 
and indicated that it plans to complete the impact analysis and publish 
all related reports. 

Background: 

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 authorized Youth Opportunity 
Grants (YO), a $1 billion, 5-year program aimed at increasing the 
educational attainment and long-term employment of youth residing in 
high poverty areas. The program was designed to assist at-risk, hard- 
to-serve youth and the communities in which they live by concentrating 
resources into a targeted geographic area. YO expanded on earlier 
demonstration programs that were based on a similar design, the most 
recent of which were known as Kulick grants. The Department of Labor 
(the Department) announced the 36 YO grantees[Footnote 4]--24 urban, 6 
rural, and 6 Native American--in February 2000 and set a goal for the 
grantees to have their programs operational by September of that year. 
Although the Department originally planned to continue to add grantees, 
funding for the program was eliminated in the budget for fiscal year 
2004. Figure 1 shows the 36 grantees by location. 

Figure 1: Location of Youth Opportunity Grantees: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: In Robeson County, N.C., and Imperial County, Calif., the program 
only operated in certain areas of the county. 

[End of figure] 

The Department of Labor's stated goals for the YO program were to 
increase educational attainment and promote long-term employment of 
youth in the target areas, as well as to improve the youth service 
delivery systems in these communities. Specifically, grantees were 
expected to effect increases in the rates of high school completion, 
college enrollment, and employment, both for youth participating in the 
program and, by extension, the overall target area. Grantees were also 
expected to facilitate the delivery of services by partnering with 
other institutions in the community, especially local schools and 
colleges, the juvenile justice system, and private employers. The 
program was designed to allow grantees to enhance the local 
infrastructure of youth services by filling in critical service gaps, 
coordinating existing services, and, in the case of some rural and 
tribal areas, developing an infrastructure where services were limited. 

Many of the YO program components were based on practices that experts 
have identified as effective for working with at-risk youth, and the 
design of the program supported flexibility and invention at the local 
level. Based on a youth development framework that emphasizes a 
comprehensive approach to meeting a young person's needs, the program 
required YO grantees to offer a full range of education, employment, 
and leadership development services as well as provide other supports 
to the youth. Advocates and experts have also stressed that youth need 
a place to gather where they feel comfortable and a sense of belonging. 
In this vein, YO grantees were required to have at least one youth 
center in the target community that would provide a focal point for 
services and activities as well as a safe place for the youth to go. In 
addition, grantees were expected to maintain a core staff of trained 
youth workers and to provide follow up services to participants for at 
least 2 years after they completed participation in program activities, 
which is in keeping with the identified effective practice of providing 
youth access to a caring, trusted adult for an extended period of time. 
Additionally, experts have suggested youth benefit from the opportunity 
to continue a relationship with a program for as long as they need. 
Similarly, the program had flexible enrollment rules that allowed 
participants to remain enrolled even through periods of inactivity. 
However, the program design allowed grantees latitude in deciding many 
of the particulars of the program. For example, grantees could choose 
how and by whom services would be delivered, the number and location of 
the YO centers, and the institutions with which they partnered. Figure 
2 displays the key components of Youth Opportunity Grant program. 

Like some prior demonstration programs that the Department of Labor has 
administered, eligibility for YO was not based on income, but rather on 
geographic residence. Youth between the ages of 14 and 21 living in the 
target area were eligible for the program, regardless of income. In 
most cases, the target areas were federally designated empowerment 
zones or enterprise communities, which are, by definition, areas with 
high rates of poverty. 

The Department of Labor provided extensive, ongoing technical 
assistance to grantees. The Department assigned grantees coaches with 
considerable experience working in youth programs who helped grantees 
with a range of issues, such as developing services and building 
partnerships. The Department also collaborated with a private 
foundation to establish a training institute that provided courses in 
youth development to more than 2,000 youth workers. In addition, the 
Department sponsored opportunities for grantees to share best practices 
and strategies in regular directors' meetings and conference calls and 
through peer-to-peer training sessions. 

The Department laid the foundation for collecting performance data on 
the program by setting up a management information system (MIS). The 
Department collected performance data on the YO program in a 
centralized, electronic system. Grantees submitted information to 
fulfill requirements of the Workforce Investment Act, which mandated 
that grantees report on seven performance measures related to 
employment, retention, earnings, attainment of skills, and attainment 
of credentials. In addition to these, grantees reported on interim 
measures developed by the Department to gauge the progress of 
participants as they moved through the program. These measures were 
designed to document youth participation in activities and other 
intermediate milestones. 

The Department had funded several prior programs premised on a 
geographic and community concept similar to that of the YO, although on 
a much smaller scale, but little information is available on the impact 
of these demonstration programs. Although evaluations were conducted of 
these earlier programs, the impact studies were either incomplete or 
not released. The first of these demonstrations, Youth Opportunities 
Unlimited, was evaluated and the results published, but the study did 
not include a systematic analysis of impact based on comparison groups. 
The funding for the second demonstration, Youth Fair Chance, was cut 2 
years into the program, and although the evaluation study was 
published, it was based on only 2 of the planned 5 years of the 
program. As a result, the authors of this study advised that the 
findings should be interpreted cautiously. The most recent of the 
demonstration programs was known as the Kulick grants. The Department 
has prepared an evaluation of the Kulick grants, but has not yet 
released the results publicly. 

For the Youth Opportunity Grants, the Department set up an extensive 
effort in 2000 to collect and analyze information to assess the 
program's impact. The Department contracted for a $24 million 
evaluation study that included plans to estimate the impact of the 
program by comparing key characteristics in the YO communities and 
comparable areas that did not receive YO grants. It was to begin in 
2000, and the final report was originally scheduled to be completed in 
July 2005. The study was designed to differentiate between those 
observed changes in participants and the communities that resulted from 
the program and those that would have occurred even without the 
program's intervention. 

Grantees Carried Out the Program Using a Variety of Approaches: 

Grantees adapted key elements of the program's design to their 
particular circumstances and used a variety of approaches in providing 
services and conducting outreach. Grantees set up centers that varied 
widely in terms of number and other characteristics where youth could 
receive services and participate in activities. The centers housed a 
core staff who provided case management and helped plan individualized 
services for youth. Staff numbers and duties differed between grantees. 
Most grantees used the management information system (MIS) provided by 
the Department of Labor to submit program data to the Department, but 
some used their own systems. Most grantees used a combination of 
approaches to provide youth services, including collaborating with 
other organizations and, when they deemed it necessary, developing 
services of their own. To reach hard-to-serve target population, 
grantees used a variety of recruiting techniques, ranging from the 
conventional to the innovative. 

Figure 2: Key Components of Youth Opportunity Grant Program: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Grantees Adapted Program's Design to Their Particular Circumstances: 

The centers set up under the terms of the grant varied widely in number 
and character. Because the target communities varied in size, some 
grantees had 1 center while other, more geographically dispersed 
grantees had as many as 40. The centers were intended to serve as the 
hub of the local programs, and the types of activities offered in them 
differed considerably. One center we visited in rural Louisiana had a 
variety of recreational facilities, such as a basketball court and 
recreation room, in addition to a classroom, computer lab, and staff 
offices. Youth participating in this program told us nothing like these 
facilities had existed for them before the YO program. On the other 
hand, a center we visited in Houston resembled a traditional career 
center, with computer kiosks set up near staff offices where the youth 
could undertake job searches and skills assessments. Houston officials 
said they had formerly offered some recreational activities on site, 
but found them to be duplicative of other services available in the 
neighborhood. Some grantees provided still other facilities at their 
centers. For example, Baltimore had an on-site health clinic and music 
recording studio. Some grantees also had centers located within 
schools. The District of Columbia had staff sited in a local high 
school, where they offered training and support for youth. This in- 
school center was located in a large classroom, with a staff office off 
to one side and furnished with a computer lab with equipment purchased 
by the grantee. Figure 3 depicts photos of two youth opportunity grant 
centers we visited. 

Figure 3: Photos of YO Centers: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

The centers housed staff who varied substantially in number and makeup. 
Houston divided staff duties between as many as 115 people working in 4 
centers. In this program, "personal service representatives" provided 
case management and identified youths' goals and training needs, and 
"employment counselors" assisted youth with job searches and conducted 
follow-up services to youth who had been placed in employment. Other 
grantees, however, had sites with only one person performing all of the 
major staff duties. At the California Indian Manpower Consortium (CIMC) 
Manchester Point Arena site, one youth worker handled recruitment, case 
management, and job placement. Because of the remoteness of the site, 
this youth worker also frequently drove a van, weekly transporting 
youth to services as far as 4 hours away. 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Most grantees used the management information system (MIS) provided by 
the Department of Labor to record program data, but some used their own 
systems and then submitted the data to the Department. Those who did 
not use the Department MIS used a variety of systems. For example, 
Milwaukee developed its own system with the aim of using it in 
conjunction with other youth programs offered by its local Workforce 
Investment Board.[Footnote 5] Similarly, Hartford developed customized 
software that enabled it to share information with other provider 
agencies and the schools in the community. 

Grantees Used Collaboration and Invention to Varying Degrees in 
Delivering Services: 

Grantees used a combination of approaches to establish a network of 
educational, occupational, and other services for youth, but varied the 
extent to which they relied on other providers. Grantees availed 
themselves of existing services, either through formal arrangements or 
by referring participants to other organizations in the community. 
Kansas City arranged for youth to attend classes at other local 
agencies to help prepare for the GED exam. Similarly, Baltimore 
referred young women who needed interview clothing to a local charity 
organization. Most grantees also collaborated with other institutions 
to provide some services. San Antonio partnered with a local community 
college to establish academies in which youth could spend half a day on 
their home campuses and half a day at the community college, allowing 
them to earn a certificate or associate degree in areas such as 
aviation or biotechnology. Houston purchased credit retrieval software 
for local high schools that students could use to complete their 
academic requirements for graduation. In addition, grantees originated 
programs to fill perceived gaps in services. Memphis established its 
own charter school with an emphasis on the arts in order to provide 
alternative education opportunities for the youth, one of the 
emphasized youth activities in the program. To provide leadership 
development opportunities, one of the CIMC sites sponsored a cemetery 
care project. In this project, participants worked with the tribal 
elders to make a map of the local cemetery with the names of the 
deceased because cemeteries on this reservation did not have 
headstones. Table 1 shows youth activities and examples of how grantees 
implemented the activities. 

Table 1: YO Program Areas, Corresponding Youth Activities, and Examples 
of Implementation: 

YO program area: Improving educational achievement; 
Youth activities: Tutoring, study skills training, and instruction, 
including dropout prevention strategies; 
Example of implementation: Birmingham created an intensive 9-week 
dropout prevention program called Operation Yes that targeted 8th, 9th, 
and 10th graders functioning one or more grade levels below their 
current grade. It combined academic remediation with job readiness 
training, life skills sessions, and a paid work experience. 

Youth activities: Alternative secondary school services; 
Example of implementation: Cleveland partnered with their local school 
district to offer on-site the Twilight School program, a diploma-track 
high school for dropouts. The program offered mastery- based credit 
classes at a time and in a setting conducive to these youth. 

YO program area: Preparation for and success in employment; 
Youth activities: Summer employment opportunities directly linked to 
academic and occupational learning; 
Example of implementation: Louisville partnered with the local bar 
association to provide summer internships for interested YO 
participants. 

Youth activities: Paid and unpaid work experiences, including 
internships and job shadowing; 
Example of implementation: Boston developed the Transitional Employment 
Services program, a four- tiered approach to employment training and 
job placement. Youth could progress from the lowest tier, which focused 
on basic employability skills and gaining experience through community 
service projects, to the highest level, which focused on helping youth 
find unsubsidized employment. 

Youth activities: Occupational skills training; 
Example of implementation: Moloka'i partnered with a local fishpond to 
give youth hands-on experience in areas such as basic computing, 
seaweed farming, aquaculture, carpentry, and plumbing. 

YO program area: Services to develop the potential of youth as citizens 
and leaders; 
Youth activities: Leadership development opportunities; 
Example of implementation: Brockton trained youth to be mediators and 
youth coordinators to resolve conflicts at the YO center and in their 
community. The program was funded through a grant from the Attorney 
General's office. 

YO program area: Supports for youth; 
Youth activities: Supportive services; 
Example of implementation: Cook Inlet Tribal Council created the Summer 
Bridging Institute, a program that brought youth from small villages 
who had been accepted to the University of Alaska, Anchorage to campus 
before the start of the fall semester. The program offered youth the 
chance to acclimate to urban campus life and to bond with other 
students, with the goal of increasing the likelihood they would stay in 
college. 

Youth activities: Follow up services for at least 24 months; 
Example of implementation: Houston switched from following up quarterly 
to following up monthly with youth who had been placed in employment. 
Staff found it was easier to keep track of the youth if they contacted 
them more frequently. 

Youth activities: YO program area : Adult mentoring; 
Example of implementation: YO program area : Southeast Arkansas 
assigned adult mentors to youth according to similar interests or 
career goals. Adults spent at least 2 hours per week with the youth and 
reported their activities to the program through written documentation. 

Youth activities: Comprehensive guidance and counseling; 
Example of implementation: Baltimore arranged for a community 
organization to hold weekly support groups for young fathers. A service 
specialist presented a parenting education curriculum, with group 
sessions intended to improve the involvement of fathers in the lives of 
their children. 

Source: Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and GAO analysis of documents 
from Department and grantees. 

[End of table] 

Grantees also used an array of strategies to help youth find long-term 
educational or occupational opportunities and to follow up with 
participants after they exited the program. Some grantees had staff 
specifically devoted to finding appropriate employment opportunities 
and connecting youth with these opportunities. For example, Milwaukee 
created the position of job developer, who identified potential 
employers and spoke to them directly about the youth in the program. 
Grantees also used a number of methods for helping youth enroll in post-
secondary institutions, such as conducting college tours, assisting 
with financial aid forms, and placing support staff on college 
campuses. The statutory provision authorizing the YO program required 
grantees to provide follow-up services for 2 years after the youth 
completed participation in program activities. Grantees recorded on a 
quarterly basis the employment and education status of the youth who 
had completed participation in the program, for example, if they were 
in school or working at the time of contact. Some grantees contacted 
youth more frequently. Staff in Baltimore told us they varied the 
frequency depending on the degree to which they regarded the young 
person to be at some risk. One might be contacted monthly, while 
another would be checked on nearly every day. 

Grantees Actively Recruited Youth, Including the Hard to Serve, and 
Used Incentives to Draw and Maintain Involvement: 

Grantees recruited youth, including traditionally difficult to serve 
populations, by creating connections with other youth-serving agencies. 
Milwaukee operated a juvenile justice project to help youth coming out 
of the corrections system to reintegrate into the community. Personnel 
at a local correctional facility worked with program staff to identify 
those due for release who were expecting to live within the geographic 
target area of the program. Program staff traveled to the facility to 
conduct an orientation session and then worked with the youth, 
corrections officials, and parents to develop a reintegration plan. The 
services offered to them were similar to those offered to all of the YO 
participants. 

Grantees also used a variety of innovative methods to recruit 
participants. Since many of the youth were disconnected from both 
school and work, as one grantee told us, they could be not only hard to 
serve, but hard to find. Some grantees went beyond conventional 
outreach activities of mailers and radio advertisements and conducted 
community walking campaigns using staff to saturate shopping malls and 
other areas where youth congregate. Others used youth to lead 
recruitment. In some cases, a grantee used employment as an inducement 
to link youth to other activities the program offered. For example, 
Louisiana's work program allowed participants to work more hours in 
subsidized employment the further they advanced toward their 
educational goals. We were told many of the youth lived in unstable 
economic conditions, and these needs had to be addressed before the 
youth would focus on other areas, such as education. In other cases, 
grantees used cash or non-monetary rewards to encourage participation. 
In Houston, youth could attend special events, such as a basketball 
game, if they participated in the program a minimum number of hours. 

Grantees Used Program Design to Address Major Challenges, but Found 
Start-up Time to be Short: 

Grantees were able to address a variety of challenges in setting up the 
program and delivering services to youth using local discretion, 
flexible enrollment rules, and other aspects of the program's design, 
but they and others said a longer start-up period would have been 
beneficial. Most grantees found it difficult to establish centers and 
retain participants in their programs. They felt that these challenges 
were compounded by expectations for a quick start-up, and subsequently 
they and Department officials felt more planning time would have been 
beneficial. Grantees also had difficulty establishing an information- 
reporting system, but once in place, found it was helpful for program 
management purposes. Conditions in the communities such as violence and 
lack of jobs presented a challenge to most grantees, but they took 
advantage of the local discretion built into the program to develop 
strategies to address them. Grantees also cited as an obstacle the vast 
service needs of many of the youth the program was intended to serve, 
but case management, individualized services, and flexible enrollment 
rules were useful in dealing with them. 

Grantees Felt Challenged to Set Up Program in Time Allotted, and More 
Planning Time Would Have Been Beneficial: 

The majority of grantees reported that finding or renovating centers 
was a challenge. Many grantees did not have suitable sites in their 
communities for use as centers, and some put considerable effort into 
renovating existing structures. In the extreme, the grantee in Alaska 
renovated 40 centers in remote communities not accessible by road and 
shipped equipment and material by air. In a few cases, grantees did not 
have a permanent building until after the first year of the program. In 
Boston, the program was housed in temporary facilities for a period of 
time because a permanent center could not be completed for the 
program's opening. 

Another challenge identified by most grantees was retaining 
participants, which grantees linked in part to expectations from the 
Department to start to enroll youth quickly. The Department set a goal 
to recruit 3,000 participants nationwide within the first few months of 
the program, or a little less than 100 youth per grantee. Some grantees 
said they felt rushed to meet recruitment goals and told us they 
recruited many youth who were not committed to the program. In 
addition, several directors mentioned that they felt they were asked to 
serve participants before their programming was fully developed, a 
situation that as one expert commented, was akin to asking grantees to 
"fly the plane before they were finished building it." We were told 
that, in these situations, some youth became disenchanted with the 
program and left because of the limited offerings the center presented 
early on. 

Grantees, agency officials, and experts said a longer planning period 
would have been beneficial. Grantees had an 7 month window between the 
announcement of the grant recipients and the Department's target date 
for having the programs operational. For example, two grantees with 
whom we spoke said about three additional months would have been 
necessary for them to meet the goals set out by the Department. Agency 
officials also told us that grantees were pushed to start-up too 
quickly and could have benefited from more time to plan. Agency 
officials said it would have been appropriate to give grantees more 
time to meet the Department's initial goals. 

Grantees Had Difficulties Establishing an Information Reporting System, 
but Found It Useful Once in Place: 

Most grantees reported that establishing an information reporting 
system was challenging, and grantees told us it would have been useful 
for the Department to have had a workable system in place at the outset 
of the program. The management information system (MIS) initially 
provided by the Department was fraught with problems. Department 
officials told us it took about 18 months to iron out the kinks. In 
addition, the Office of Inspector General identified inconsistencies in 
the way grantees were recording data early on.[Footnote 6] Although the 
Department eventually developed an improved system, grantees said it 
would have been better had the MIS been in place from the beginning. 
Not having a system in place created additional burden for the 
grantees. For example, Louisiana developed its own system to collect 
information until an updated system was available and then manually 
transferred 11 months of data into the new MIS. 

Once in place, grantees additionally used the information system for 
their own program management purposes such as to improve performance 
and reinforce accountability. The Hartford grantee was able to 
integrate its system with the school district, allowing case managers 
to track attendance and grades to allow better monitoring of 
participant achievements. The Hartford system also enabled program 
management to see which case managers were most successful at engaging 
youth in the activities required for the completion of their goals. 
Regarding accountability, Portland used its information system to 
monitor the performance of its contractors on a weekly basis. 

Grantees Used Their Discretion to Address Community-Based Challenges: 

Some of the major challenges also identified by grantees were problems 
external to the program, yet affected their ability to deliver 
services. Twenty-eight of the grantees reported on the survey that a 
lack of jobs in the community was a challenge. In some areas, jobs were 
on the decline because of shifts in the local economy or relocation of 
major employers. For example, the grantee in San Francisco related that 
due to the dot-com bust, youth in the program were competing with a 
skilled workforce willing to fill entry level positions that would 
otherwise be available to youth. In other areas, especially rural ones, 
there were few employers, let alone large ones. In addition, 29 of 36 
grantees reported on the survey that risk factors such as violence, 
drugs, and gangs were challenges in implementing the program. In some 
cases, these factors made it difficult for participants to receive 
services. In one urban community, we were told there were safety 
concerns with youth participating in evening activities sponsored by 
the YO because they would have to return home after dark. 

Local discretion built into the program design helped grantees respond 
to external challenges. Within the structure of the program, grantees 
were allowed some amount of latitude to develop responses to 
circumstances in their communities, such as a scarcity of jobs. For 
example, the California Indian Manpower Consortium created 
opportunities for youth to have work experiences, such as subsidizing 
summer jobs with local business including a campground and senior 
center or working with the tribe to place youth in clerical positions. 
Similarly, grantees were able to develop services to address specific 
risk factors in their communities. Imperial County offered a curriculum 
series to help address interpersonal violence among adolescents, an 
issue they had identified as particularly problematic in their area. 
The series was designed to reduce impulsive and aggressive behavior 
through empathy training, interpersonal problem solving, behavior skill 
training, and anger management. In Milwaukee, the grantee addressed 
safety concerns by renting vans to transport the youth to nighttime 
events. 

Service Needs of Participants Presented Challenges, but Tailored 
Services, Individualized Planning, and Flexible Enrollment Rules Were 
Useful in Addressing Them: 

Grantees identified as a major challenge the obstacles faced by their 
clients, such as homelessness, lack of family support, mental health 
problems, and low levels of academic attainment. Staff in Baltimore 
told us homelessness was a frequent issue faced by youth in their area 
and finding a place to sleep can preoccupy the youth and disrupt the 
learning process. YO staff and others said that participants may lack 
support in other areas of their lives, such as from their families. For 
example, one grantee told us of a participant who was awarded a full 
scholarship to college, but the parents would not sign the paperwork to 
receive the money. Some youth also faced mental health issues, which 
prevented them from moving forward in their lives. All of these 
factors, we were told, could mean a slow start for youth who enrolled 
in the program. The director of an alternative high school in Milwaukee 
told us that because of the disorder in their lives, many of these 
youth may take a year just to become comfortable in the program before 
they can even begin making any forward progress. 

Grantees found aspects of the program design such as case management, 
individualized services, and flexible enrollment rules useful in 
addressing the service challenges of participants. For example, 
grantees used assessments to help determine the academic needs of 
clients and provide each client with the appropriate individualized 
services. Philadelphia designed a program in which each participant had 
a personalized remediation plan based on the results of an evaluation 
test and interview with an education coach. This plan was intended to 
build on clients' strengths and accounted for their particular learning 
styles. After the initial assessment, participants were reevaluated at 
regular intervals to monitor their academic progress and goal 
attainment. The curriculum was designed so that youth could increase at 
least one grade level after 90 hours of instruction. In addition, both 
youth and community members told us that YO staff were key in helping 
youth stay motivated and guiding them through difficult situations. 
Grantees also found the enrollment rules useful in working toward 
program goals. The program's enrollment policy allowed most 
participants to continue to receive services even if they experienced 
periods of inactivity. Staff in Houston told us that the policy was a 
benefit to the youth because, unlike other employment programs, YO did 
not end their relationship with youth who had not been participating 
for a while. 

Grantees and Others Reported That Participants and Their Communities 
Made Progress, but the Program's Impact Is Still under Study: 

Grantees and others reported that the participants and their 
communities made advancements in education and employment; however, a 
formal assessment of the program's impact is still under study. Data 
reported by the grantees showed that a number of youth advanced their 
education while they were participating in the program, such as 
completing high school. Grantees also reported data showing a portion 
of the participants entered unsubsidized employment after enrolling in 
the program. Similarly, grantees and others believe their communities 
made advancements toward the Department's stated education and 
employment goals of the program. In addition, the majority of grantees 
reported that they made improvements in the youth service delivery 
systems in their communities. The Department funded an evaluation to 
assess the impact of the program, which was designed to shed light on 
the extent to which observed changes can be attributed to the program. 
However, the study has not yet been completed. 

Grantees Reported Data Showing Some Participants Advanced Their 
Education and Found Employment: 

Data reported by the grantees showed that a number of youth advanced 
their education while they were participating in the program. Two of 
the Department's primary goals of program were to increase the rates of 
high school completion and college enrollment for the youth. Data that 
grantees entered into the management information system (MIS) showed 
that of the approximately 91,000 youth who signed up for in the program 
nationwide, about 18,700 either completed high school or attained a GED 
after enrolling in the program. In addition, about 11,700 youth entered 
college, 37 percent of whom were reported to be out of school when they 
initially enrolled in the program. Youth with whom we spoke credited 
the program with giving them a second chance to increase their 
education and to better their employment opportunities. One Louisiana 
youth's comments typified what we heard elsewhere from participants 
during our site visits, "YO is the best thing that has happened to me. 
YO has given me a job and put a little money in my pocket." He added, 
"YO has also been instrumental in keeping me out of jail. Above all, YO 
has helped me realize that education is important." Figure 4 summarizes 
enrollment, participation, education, and employment data for youth in 
the program, as of June 2005. 

Figure 4: Number of Youth Who Signed up for, Participated in, and 
Achieved at Least One Educational or Employment Goal of the Program: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: The five educational status and long-term placement categories 
are not mutually exclusive. 

[End of figure] 

Grantees reported data showing that a portion of the youth entered 
unsubsidized employment after completing YO activities. Data from the 
MIS show that about 17,300 youth were placed in employment that was not 
subsidized by the program, 62 percent of whom were out of school when 
they initially enrolled in the program. Grantees and others told us the 
job readiness training that some youth received as part of the program 
was particularly important in helping them get jobs. Employers we spoke 
with told us they knew the youth that were sent to them by YO would be 
well trained and ready to work. A local human resources manager for a 
national chain of home improvement stores told us that he thought YO 
participants were better prepared for employment than other residents 
of the area, adding that they show up with better job skills and "soft" 
skills. 

Grantees and Others Believe Their Communities Moved toward Program 
Goals: 

Grantees and others expressed the view that their communities had made 
advancements in concert with the Department's education and employment 
goals for the program. Almost all of the grantees reported that high 
school completion, college enrollment, and youth employment rates 
improved in their communities as a result of the program. Several 
grantees also asserted that affecting the youth led to changes in the 
community. In addition, community members with whom we spoke said the 
program helped their communities make progress toward greater education 
and employment. For example, a tribal leader in California told us that 
YO motivated the youth in his tribe to stay in school. Similarly, one 
expert pointed to some of the rural grantees who had many youth enroll 
in college, which she said was especially important because of a lack 
of jobs in these areas. 

The majority of grantees reported making improvements in the youth 
service delivery systems in their communities. Some of the described 
changes were to the service infrastructure in these communities. For 
example, San Diego pointed out that it had created a multiservice youth 
center in a neighborhood where none had existed before. Grantees cited 
other improvements related to the mode of service delivery. Tucson 
reported that prior to YO, it had funded three stand-alone youth 
programs, but now it has a one-stop system with multiple entry points 
for delivering youth services. Other grantees noted that their efforts 
to foster better communication and collaboration among service 
providers had benefited the youth. As the Portland grantee commented, 
by partnering with their local employment department and community 
college system, they were able to leverage staff to provide intensive 
job search and college preparation services to youth. In other cases, 
local leaders credited the YO as a catalyst for change in their 
community. For example, a school superintendent in California told us 
that YO staff had helped to forge an agreement between the school 
district and five Indian tribes in the area to develop an education 
curriculum that would be more sensitive to the tribes' cultures. 

Department of Labor's Study of Program Impact Has Not Been Completed: 

While the Department of Labor funded an evaluation designed to assess 
the impact of the program, it has not yet been completed. This was 
planned as a 5-year, $24 million evaluation, which began in 2000. As 
part of the evaluation, the Department conducted baseline and follow-up 
surveys of the target areas, and gathered extensive descriptions of the 
36 programs and communities. The evaluation also included plans for an 
impact study that was designed to compare YO participants and 
communities with other, similar youth and communities that did not 
participate in YO. This type of comparative analysis would be necessary 
to determine if the events reported by grantees and others would have 
occurred in the absence of the program. However, the evaluation is not 
finished. Moreover, agency officials are unsure if the impact study 
that was to be part of the evaluation will be completed. Due to 
departmental allocations being lower than expected, the Department 
spent $1.9 million less than the full amount of the original contract 
on the evaluation. Agency officials told us that the impact study was 
likely to be scaled back because of the lower allocation. The 
evaluation was originally scheduled to be completed in July 2005. 
However, agency officials told us they do not expect the study to be 
finished until June 2006. 

Conclusions: 

The Youth Opportunity Grant program was designed to help at-risk youth 
and their communities by concentrating resources geographically and by 
incorporating components that experts have suggested are effective in 
assisting this population. To continue to improve the ability to serve 
these youth, researchers and practitioners must be able to learn from 
the most promising and innovative approaches in serving these youth, 
including those used in the Youth Opportunity Grant program. The 
Department of Labor has begun an evaluation of the program that 
includes many pieces of a potentially useful study. Although 
informative, these pieces will not by themselves answer the question of 
impact, in other words, whether the described events would have 
occurred in the absence of the program. In order to understand what 
effect, if any, the program had on these observed events, it is 
necessary to have a systematic comparison with other, similar 
communities that did not receive grants. The Department planned, but 
has not yet completed, such an analysis as part of the evaluation. The 
Department has an opportunity to contribute to the research on programs 
for serving at-risk youth, if the evaluation study is completed and the 
results made public. However, the Department has not taken full 
advantage of past opportunities to release information on other 
programs based on a similar model, such as the Kulick grants. Given the 
$1 billion investment in this program--including almost $24 million for 
an evaluation effort--and the need for rigorous data on these types of 
programs, the study should be completed and the results should be made 
available. Unless the Department completes the evaluation of the Youth 
Opportunity Grant program and releases the results, researchers and 
practitioners will not be able to fully realize the potential to learn 
from the program. 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

To continue to improve efforts to serve at-risk youth and in order that 
researchers can evaluate the quality of information and determine 
possible impact of the program, we recommend that the Secretary of 
Labor take the actions necessary to complete the impact analysis of the 
Youth Opportunity Grant program and release the data and all related 
research reports from the program's evaluation. 

Agency Comments: 

We provided a draft of this report to the Department of Labor for its 
review and comment. In its response, the Department agreed with our 
conclusions and recommendation and indicated that it intends to 
complete the impact analysis and publish all related reports from the 
Youth Opportunity Grant program evaluation. A copy of the Department's 
response is in appendix II. The Department also provided us with 
technical comments, which we incorporated into the report where 
appropriate. 

We will send copies of this report to the Secretary of Labor, relevant 
congressional committees, and other interested parties. We will also 
make copies available to others upon request. In addition, the report 
will be available at no charge on GAO's Web site at http://www.gao.gov. 

Please contact me at (415) 904-2272 if you or your staff have any 
questions about this report. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in 
appendix III. 

Sincerely yours, 

Signed by: 

David D. Bellis: 
Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

To accomplish our research objectives, we surveyed Youth Opportunity 
Grant Program directors on the implementation of the Youth Opportunity 
Grants. To augment information from our survey, we conducted five site 
visits of programs. We chose sites for our visits to represent 
proportionately the three grantee types (urban, rural, and Native 
American) as well as their geographic distribution. The grantees we 
visited were the District of Columbia, Houston, Milwaukee, rural 
Louisiana, and the California Indian Manpower Consortium. During our 
visits we met with program administrators, staff, and participants to 
learn their perspectives on program implementation, challenges, 
outcomes, impact, and lessons learned. Also, we interviewed local 
workforce board members, school officials, community based service 
providers, private employers, and local government officials to discuss 
their perspectives on the impact and other aspects of the program. In 
addition, we toured Youth Opportunity Centers, in-school facilities, 
and observed program activities. We briefly visited an additional two 
grantees--Baltimore and Philadelphia--in the course of pretesting the 
survey, and while at their sites, toured centers and spoke with program 
administrators, staff, and participants. We gathered additional 
information by reviewing agency documents including site assessments 
and grant applications. We also interviewed agency officials and other 
relevant experts, including researchers, representatives of advocacy 
organizations, YO coaches, and former Department of Labor officials. We 
performed our work from September 2004 to November 2005 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

We also investigated several possible sources of external data to 
quantitatively measure outcomes and impact, but determined none of them 
were feasible for our purposes. The data sets we reviewed were: Current 
Population Survey, Common Core of Data, National Longitudinal Survey of 
Youth, High School and Beyond, and American Community Survey. 

Survey of Youth Opportunity Grant Program Directors: 

To learn about the implementation of the Youth Opportunity Grants, we 
conducted a Web-based survey of all Youth Opportunity Grant Program 
Directors. We asked directors about the usefulness of program 
components, challenges they faced implementing the program and 
strategies used to deal with them, and their opinion on the program's 
impact on participants and communities. Additionally, we asked 
directors about the size and structure of their programs, the manner in 
which they delivered services, and the types of organizations with 
which their programs partnered. The survey also included a series of 
questions about how programs maintained information to help us 
determine the reliability of data in the Department of Labor's 
management information system. We pretested the survey with several 
program directors and modified the survey to take their comments into 
account. All 36 program directors completed the survey, for a response 
rate of 100 percent. We administered the survey between March 17 and 
May 31, 2005. To view selected results of the survey, go to GAO-06- 
56SP. 

Department of Labor Management Information System (MIS): 

We used electronic data collected on the program by the Department of 
Labor in a management information system (MIS) to describe the number 
of youth in the program who achieved the Department's goals for the 
program, such as high school completion, college enrollment, and long- 
term education and employment placements. We have determined the MIS 
data are sufficiently reliable for the purposes of this study through 
discussions with officials at the Department of Labor, in-depth 
interviews with MIS staff during site visits, and responses to a 
comprehensive array of survey items in which each grantee described 
their procedures for editing and auditing the data they entered into 
the MIS. We analyzed the MIS data using guidance provided to us by the 
Department. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Labor: 

U.S. Department of Labor: 
Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training: 
Washington, D.C. 20210: 

NOV 22 2005: 

Mr. David D. Bellis: 
Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Mr. Bellis: 

Thank you for providing the draft report GAO-06-53 entitled, "Youth 
Opportunity Grants: Lessons Can Be Learned from Program, but Labor 
Needs to Make Data Available." We appreciate your efforts in 
identifying innovative grantee practices and lessons learned that we 
may consider for future grant initiatives.  

We have learned many important lessons through the Youth Opportunity 
Grant (YOG) program. First, and most importantly, the YOG program 
demonstrated that money alone does not solve the problems faced by at- 
risk youth. Many local sites struggled for a number of years because of 
a lack of clear vision and solid local leadership. Some locations 
suffered from a lack of clear focus on what is most important for 
youth: educational attainment and meaningful job and career 
opportunities. Based on our experience, the most successful youth 
programs are ones that utilize a demand-driven approach whereby private 
sector funds are leveraged and invested, quality secondary and post- 
secondary programs are accessible and local leadership is outcome- 
oriented and dynamic. 

In response to the recommendation to complete the evaluation of the YOG 
program, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) always has been 
unequivocally committed to completing the analysis. Unfortunately, some 
of the initial evaluation design was flawed and focused on "perception" 
and process rather than impact, but we have done our best to refocus 
the design to get to meaningful analysis of impact and outcomes. 

Based on recent discussions between DOL and the evaluation contractor, 
we do not believe at this time that completing the analysis will 
require adding funds beyond what has already been obligated to the 
evaluation contract. DOL will release the impact data and all related 
reports from the program's evaluation, including the Kulick 
demonstration reports, when completed. 

Enclosed are DOL's technical comments on the draft report. If you would 
like additional information, please do not hesitate to call me at (202) 
693-2700. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Emily Stover DeRocco: 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

[End of section] 

GAO Contact: 

David Bellis, Director, (415) 904-2272, bellisd@gao.gov: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

David Lehrer, Assistant Director, and Anne Welch, Analyst-in-Charge, 
managed this assignment and made significant contributions to all 
aspects of the work. Dan Concepcion and Eleanor Johnson also made 
significant contributions to this report. In addition, Kevin Jackson 
assisted in all aspects of the survey of Program Directors and in 
reviewing external data sources. Jerry Sandau and Cathy Hurley assisted 
in the analysis of the MIS data and assessment of the MIS data 
reliability. Jessica Botsford provided legal support, and Susan 
Bernstein provided writing assistance. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Workforce Investment Act: Labor Actions Can Help States Improve Quality 
of Performance Outcome Data and Delivery of Youth Services. GAO-04-308. 
Washington, D.C.: February 23, 2004. 

Workforce Investment Act: One-Stop Centers Implemented Strategies to 
Strengthen Services and Partnerships, but More Research and Information 
Sharing Is Needed. GAO-03-725. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 2003: 

Workforce Investment Act: Youth Provisions Promote New Service 
Strategies, but Additional Guidance Would Enhance Program Development. 
GAO-02-413. Washington, D.C.: April 5, 2002. 

[End of section] 

(130405): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, Nathan Pond, and Mykhaylo Trub'skyy, 
Left Behind in the Labor Market: Labor Market Problems of the Nation's 
Out of School, Young Adult Populations. Center for Labor Market Studies 
(Northeastern University: November 2002). 

[2] Pub. Law. No. 105-220. 

[3] To view selected results from the survey, go to GAO-06-56SP. 

[4] For the purposes of this report, we refer to the entity that 
operated the program as a grantee. The 36 recipients of the grants were 
workforce investment boards, states, counties, cities, and other 
entities. Some recipients contracted out the operations of the program, 
while others directly offered services to youth. 

[5] As stated in the Workforce Investment Act, a local Workforce 
Investment Board is an entity designated to set policy for the 
statewide workforce system within the local area. 

[6] Office of Inspector General, Department of Labor, Workforce 
Investment Act, Youth Opportunity Program Audit, OIG Audit Report 
Number 06-03-001-03-390 (March 2003). 

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