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entitled 'Trade Adjustment Assistance: Labor Should Take Action to 
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Report to the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

April 2006: 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: 

Labor Should Take Action to Ensure Performance Data Are Complete, 
Accurate, and Accessible: 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: 

GAO-06-496: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-496, a report to Committee on Finance, U.S. 
Senate. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

In the current tight budgetary environment, program performance is 
likely to be an increasingly significant factor used to help 
policymakers assess programs and determine funding levels. Given 
concerns over the quality of performance data for the Trade Adjustment 
Assistance (TAA) program and the importance of having meaningful 
information to assess program performance, we examined (1) whether the 
TAA performance data provide a credible picture of the programís 
performance, (2) what TAA performance data the Department of Labor 
(Labor) makes available to the public and states and the usefulness of 
the data for managing the program, and (3) what Labor is doing to 
address issues with the quality of TAA data submitted by states. 

What GAO Found: 

The performance information that Labor makes available on the TAA 
program does not provide a complete and credible picture of the 
programís performance. Only half the states are including all 
participants, as required, in the performance data they submit to 
LaborĖstates were more likely to report participants who received 
training than those who received other benefits and services but not 
training. In addition, many states are not using all available data 
sources to determine participantsí employment outcomes. This may result 
in lower reported outcomes because states may be inaccurately recording 
some workers as unemployed who actually have jobs. To compile their 
performance data, some states are using manual processes or automated 
systems that lack key capabilities to help minimizes errors, but many 
states have plans to improve their systemsí capabilities. Labor reports 
data on TAA activity levels, services provided to TAA participants, and 
key performance measures. The performance data may be useful for 
providing a long-term national picture of program outcomes, but it 
represents participants who left the program up to 30 months earlier 
and, thus, is not useful for gauging the TAA programís current 
performance. Also, the performance information is not displayed using 
categories that would be informative to policymakers, such as type of 
service received and industry of dislocation. Most states find the 
performance information they receive from Labor to be at least 
moderately useful, but many want more information. Labor has taken 
steps to improve the quality of TAA performance data, but issues 
remain. In 2003, Labor began requiring states to validate their data, 
and most states reported that this increased awareness of data quality 
at the state and local level. However, the validation process does not 
address the problem of participants being excluded from the performance 
data. In fiscal year 2006, Labor instituted a set of common measures, 
and many states reported they are experiencing delays in implementing 
all required changes. States also expressed interest in receiving more 
opportunities to share lessons learned on topics relevant to TAA data 
quality. 

Figure: Number of States Including All or Most Participants in TAA 
Performance Data, by Type of Service Received: 

[See PDF for Image] 

[End of Figure] 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO is recommending actions for Labor to help improve the completeness 
and accuracy of performance data, to make the performance data more 
informative, and to increase opportunities for states to share lessons 
learned on issues relevant to TAA data quality. In its comments, Labor 
did not disagree with our findings and recommendations and said the 
report will be helpful in its continuing efforts to improve the quality 
of TAA performance data. 

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-496]. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Sigurd R. Nilsen at (202) 
512-7215 or nilsens@gao.gov. 

[End of Section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

TAA Data Do Not Provide a Complete, Credible Picture of the Program's 
Performance: 

Labor Makes Some TAA Performance Data Available, but Its Usefulness Is 
Limited: 

Labor Has Taken Steps to Improve the Quality of Performance Data, but 
Issues Remain: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Program Information in State TAA IT Systems: 

Appendix III: State TAA Administrative Allocations, Fiscal Years 2005- 
2006: 

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Labor: 

Appendix V: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Related Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: TAA National Performance Goals and Outcomes, Fiscal Years 2004 
and 2005: 

Table 2: Percentage of Participants Included in States' TAPR 
Submissions Who Received Training: 

Table 3: How TAA Performance Measures Changed under Common Measures: 

Table 4: Site Visit States and Local Areas: 

Table 5: Program Information for Other U.S. Department of Labor 
Employment and Training Administration Programs Contained in State IT 
Systems Used to Compile TAPR Submissions: 

Table 6: State TAA Training and Administrative Allocations, Fiscal 
Years 2005-2006: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Participants Who Received Training Are Most Likely to Be 
Reported in States' TAPR Submissions: 

Figure 2: Many States Are Using WRIS: 

Figure 3: Many States Are Not Using Supplemental Data: 

Figure 4: Number of States with TAA IT Systems That Currently Have or 
Will Be Adding Certain Capabilities: 

Figure 5: Period between When a TAA Participant Exits the Program and 
When Data Are Reported to Labor: 

Figure 6: Fiscal Year 2004 TAA Performance Data Represent Exiters from 
as early as Fiscal Year 2002: 

Figure 7: Many States Found Labor's Performance Information to Be 
Moderately Useful: 

Figure 8: Most States Reported That Additional Performance Information 
from Labor Would Be Useful for Program Management: 

Figure 9: States' View of How Labor's Data Validation Efforts Have 
Helped Them: 

Figure 10: Most State Expressed Interest in Having More Opportunities 
to Share Lessons Learned on Data Issues: 

Figure 11: Most States Viewed Changes Needed for Common Measures to Be 
a Burden: 

Figure 12: Coordinating Exit Dates Was Change States Were Least Likely 
to Expect to Have Completed in 2006: 

Abbreviations: 

ATAA: Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance: 

ES: Employment Service: 

HCTC: Health Coverage Tax Credit: 

IT: information technology: 

NAFTA-TAA: North American Free Trade Agreement Transitional Adjustment 
Assistance: 

OIG: Office of Inspector General: 

OMB: Office of Management and Budget: 

PART: Program Assessment Rating Tool: 

TAA: Trade Adjustment Assistance: 

TAPR: Trade Act Participant Report: 

TRA: Trade Readjustment Allowance: 

UI: Unemployment Insurance: 

VETS: Veterans Employment and Training Program: 

WIA: Workforce Investment Act: 

WRIS: Wage Record Interchange System: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

Washington, DC 20548: 

April 25, 2006: 

The Honorable Charles Grassley: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Max Baucus: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Finance United States Senate: 

More than 150,000 manufacturing workers lost their jobs in fiscal year 
2004 due to international trade. Most of these workers were eligible 
for services under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, the 
primary federal employment and training program serving trade-affected 
workers. TAA, funded at about $1 billion in fiscal year 2005, provides 
workers with a variety of services, including training and income 
support after they exhaust their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. 
The U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) oversees the program, and states 
and local areas administer services to TAA participants. Despite the 
role the TAA program plays in helping trade-affected workers transition 
to new employment, program outcomes have shown mixed results. Labor 
collects some key performance information from states and uses it to 
track program performance against three national goals in the areas of 
employment, job retention, and wages. Since 2001, the TAA program has 
exceeded the national goal for job retention in every year but one. 
However, it has failed to meet at least one of the national goals each 
year, and in fiscal year 2003, the program failed to meet all three. 
Further, the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)--a diagnostic tool 
that the Administration uses to help formulate the budget--rated the 
program ineffective, in part because it failed to meet its national 
goals. It is unclear, though, whether the outcomes reported in the 
goals accurately reflect the program's achievements. Our previous work 
and work by Labor's Inspector General have identified problems with the 
performance data states submitted to Labor--information was often 
incomplete, and many states did not validate the information they 
reported to Labor. While Labor has taken some steps to improve the 
performance data, it is not known whether the data currently collected 
on TAA performance are reliable. 

In the current tight budgetary environment, program performance is 
likely to be an increasingly significant factor used to help 
policymakers assess programs and determine funding levels. Given 
concerns over the quality of TAA data and the importance of having 
meaningful information to assess program performance, we examined (1) 
whether the TAA performance data provide a credible picture of the 
program's performance, (2) what TAA performance data Labor makes 
available to the public and states and the usefulness of the data for 
managing the program, and (3) what Labor is doing to address issues 
with the quality of TAA data submitted by states. 

To address these questions, we conducted a Web-based survey of 
workforce officials in the 46 states that were allocated TAA funds in 
fiscal year 2005, and we obtained a 100 percent response rate.[Footnote 
1] In addition, to gather in-depth information about how states manage 
their TAA performance data, we conducted site visits in California, 
Iowa, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia, where we interviewed state officials 
and visited at least one local area in each state. We selected these 
states because they represent different TAA data collection approaches 
(that is, states where data are entered into information technology 
[IT] systems at the local level and those where data are entered at the 
state level), received a relatively large share of TAA funds in fiscal 
year 2005, and are geographically dispersed. In addition, to gather 
insights into data management strategies and requirements, we 
interviewed Labor officials in headquarters and in the regional offices 
and experts on data quality. We also reviewed legislation, guidance, 
summaries of state TAA performance outcome information, participant 
data submitted by states to Labor, and other relevant reports and 
literature related to data quality. Our work was conducted between 
December 2004 and March 2006 in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. (See app. I for a detailed discussion of 
our scope and methodology.) 

Results in Brief: 

The performance information that Labor makes available on the TAA 
program does not provide a complete and credible picture of the 
program's performance. Only half the states reported that the data they 
submit to Labor for determining progress toward national performance 
goals include all TAA participants who stop receiving benefits or 
services--that is, exit the TAA program--as Labor requires. Other 
states reported that they are more likely to include in their 
performance data participants who received TAA-funded training rather 
than those who received other TAA benefits but did not receive TAA- 
funded training. Labor does not currently have a process in place, such 
as a standard monitoring tool, to ensure that states are including all 
exiting participants in their data. As a result, the performance data 
are incomplete and may be skewed. Further, not all states obtain the 
documentation they need to verify that TAA participants' exit dates, 
used to develop the performance data, are accurate. Without such 
documentation, there is no assurance that the right participants are 
included and, therefore, that the employment outcomes are reliable. 
Some states are not using all available data sources to determine TAA 
participants' employment outcomes. This may result in lower reported 
outcomes because states may be inaccurately recording some workers as 
unemployed who actually have jobs. To compile TAA data, some states 
have IT systems with limited capabilities that may hinder their ability 
to ensure that the TAA data are complete and accurate. Nine states are 
using manual rather than automated processes to compile their TAA 
performance data, increasing the data's vulnerability to data entry 
errors, and only about half of the states' TAA IT systems can perform 
edit checks to help minimize errors. Many states are planning to make 
improvements to their TAA IT systems' capabilities this year. State TAA 
officials said that resource shortages contribute to their data 
problems. 

Labor reports data on TAA petition and certification activity, program 
participation, and key performance measures, but this information may 
not be useful for gauging current program performance. This performance 
information may be helpful in providing a long-term national picture of 
program outcomes, but it does not represent a current picture of 
program performance. UI wage records--the primary data source for 
tracking TAA performance--provide a fairly consistent national view of 
TAA performance and allow for tracking outcomes over time. At the same 
time, the UI wage records suffer from time delays and, together with 
the use of longer-term outcome measures, such as employment retention, 
affect the timing of states' performance reports to Labor and, 
subsequently, the information that Labor makes publicly available. Most 
of the outcome data reported in a given program year actually reflect 
participants who left the program up to 2 years earlier. In addition, 
Labor does not consistently report TAA data by state or by services or 
benefits received--a step that would make the data more useful to 
policymakers. Most states reported that they find the TAA performance 
information they receive from Labor to be at least moderately useful, 
but many states would like additional information from Labor, such as 
how their TAA performance compares to that of other states and other 
federal employment and training programs. 

While it has limited authority to hold states accountable, Labor has 
taken steps to improve the quality of TAA data submitted by states, but 
these steps do not fully address all issues. Labor has no mechanism to 
sanction states for poor performance or poor quality data because the 
law and current regulations do not provide one. However, beginning in 
2003, Labor implemented a new data validation process for its TAA 
performance data that requires states to review a sample of 
participants' records and compare the data recorded for certain data 
elements to source files. While it is too soon to fully assess whether 
Labor's efforts have improved data quality, most states reported that 
Labor's new requirements have improved data accuracy and increased 
awareness of data quality at the state and local level. Labor has taken 
other steps to improve data quality such as providing additional 
guidance, training, and technical assistance. Yet most states reported 
that they do not currently have opportunities to share lessons learned 
with other states on various topics related to TAA data quality and 
expressed interest in having such opportunities. In fiscal year 2006, 
Labor is requiring changes in some TAA data-reporting requirements in 
order to implement a set of common measures for federally funded job 
training programs that share similar goals. Many states reported that 
the changes are burdensome, and some states are experiencing delays in 
implementing the changes. 

To help ensure that TAA participant data reported by states is 
consistent, complete, and accurate, we recommend that Labor clarify 
reporting and documentation requirements, provide guidance to regional 
offices for assessing states' data collection processes, and create 
opportunities for states to share lessons learned on data quality 
issues. Finally, to make TAA performance information more useful for 
program management, we recommend that Labor provide performance 
information that is more detailed. In its written comments on a draft 
of this report, Labor did not disagree with our findings and 
recommendations and said the report will be helpful in its continuing 
efforts to improve the quality of TAA performance data. 

Background: 

To assist workers who are laid off as a result of international trade, 
Congress passed the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and created the Trade 
Adjustment Assistance program. Historically, the main benefits 
available through the program have been extended income support and 
training. Participants are generally entitled to income support, but 
the amount of funds available for training is limited by federal 
statute. Labor certifies groups of laid-off workers as potentially 
eligible for TAA benefits and services by investigating petitions that 
are filed on the workers' behalf.[Footnote 2] Workers are eligible for 
TAA if they were laid off as a result of international trade and were 
involved in making a product or supplying component parts to or 
performing finishing work for directly affected firms. Workers served 
by the TAA program have generally been laid off from the manufacturing 
sector. 

Congress has amended the TAA program a number of times since its 
inception. For example, in 1974 Congress eased program eligibility 
requirements, and in 1988 Congress added a requirement that workers be 
in training to receive income support. In 1993 Congress created a 
separate North American Free Trade Agreement Transitional Adjustment 
Assistance (NAFTA-TAA) program specifically for workers laid off 
because of trade with Canada or Mexico.[Footnote 3] The most recent 
amendments to the TAA program were included in the TAA Reform Act of 
2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-210), which was signed into law in August 2002. 
The Reform Act consolidated the former TAA and NAFTA-TAA programs into 
a single TAA program, doubled the amount of funds available for 
training annually, expanded program eligibility to more workers, 
extended the time periods covered by the program, and added new 
benefits. 

Services Available under the TAA Program: 

Under the current TAA program, eligible participants have access to a 
wider range of benefits and services than before, including: 

Training. Participants may receive up to 130 weeks of training, 
including 104 weeks of vocational training and 26 weeks of remedial 
training (e.g., English as a second language or literacy). On-the-job 
training is also available under TAA. Participants in TAA-approved 
training must attend training full-time. 

Extended income support, or Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA). 
Participants may receive up to 104 weeks of extended income support 
benefits after they exhaust the 26 weeks of UI benefits available in 
most states. This total includes 78 weeks while participants are 
completing vocational training and an additional 26 weeks, if 
necessary, while participants are completing remedial training. The 
amount of extended income support payments in a state is set by statute 
at the state's UI benefit level.[Footnote 4] 

During their first 26 weeks of extended income support, participants 
must be enrolled in training, have completed training, or have a waiver 
from this requirement; to qualify for more than 26 weeks of extended 
income support, participants must be enrolled in training. The TAA 
statute lists six reasons why a TAA participant may receive a waiver 
from the training requirement, including that the worker possesses 
marketable skills or that the approved training program is not 
immediately available.[Footnote 5] States must review participants' 
waivers at least every 30 days and if necessary may continue to renew 
participants' waivers each month throughout the initial 26 weeks of 
extended income support. 

Job search and relocation benefits. Payments are available to help 
participants search for a job in a different geographical area and to 
relocate to a different area to take a job. Participants may receive up 
to a maximum of $1,250 to conduct a job search. The maximum relocation 
benefit includes 90 percent of the participant's relocation expenses 
plus a lump sum payment of up to $1,250. 

Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). Eligible participants may receive a 
tax credit covering 65 percent of their health insurance premiums for 
certain health insurance plans. To be eligible for the credit, trade- 
affected workers must be either receiving extended income support 
payments, or they must be eligible for extended income support but are 
still receiving UI payments, or they must be recipients of benefits 
under the wage insurance program. As a result, trade-affected workers 
who are still receiving UI rather than extended income support may 
register for the HCTC only if they are in training, have completed 
training, or have a waiver from the training requirement. 

Wage insurance. The wage insurance program--known as the Alternative 
TAA (ATAA) program--is a demonstration project designed for workers age 
50 and older who forgo training, obtain reemployment within 26 weeks, 
but take a pay cut. Provided the participant's annual earnings at his 
or her new job are $50,000 or less, the benefit reimburses 50 percent 
of the difference between the participant's pre-and post-layoff 
earnings up to a maximum of $10,000 over 2 years. 

Certification Process and Eligibility Requirements: 

The process of enrolling trade-affected workers in the TAA program 
begins when a petition for TAA assistance is filed with Labor on behalf 
of a group of laid-off workers. Petitions may be filed by entities 
including the employer experiencing the layoff, a group of at least 
three affected workers, a union, or the state or local workforce 
agency. The TAA statute lays out certain basic requirements that all 
certified petitions must meet, including that a significant proportion 
of workers employed by a company be laid off or threatened with layoff. 
In addition to meeting these basic requirements, a petition must 
demonstrate that the layoff is related to international trade. The law 
requires Labor to complete its investigation, and either certify or 
deny the petition, within 40 days after it has received it. When Labor 
has certified a petition, it notifies the relevant state, which has 
responsibility for contacting the workers covered by the petition, 
informing them of the benefits available to them, and telling them when 
and where to apply for benefits. 

Workers generally receive services through a consolidated service 
delivery structure called the one-stop system, where they can access a 
broad range of services beyond TAA, including the Workforce Investment 
Act (WIA) Dislocated Worker program, the Wagner-Peyser Employment 
Service (ES) program, and services funded by the WIA National Emergency 
Grants.[Footnote 6] Training for trade-affected workers may be funded 
by TAA or by one of the WIA funding sources. Workers often meet one on 
one with a case manager who may assess worker's skills and help decide 
what services they need. Because the TAA program has limited funds that 
can be used for case management and program administration, these case 
management services are often performed by ES or WIA Dislocated Worker 
program staff. When this occurs, participants are often co-enrolled in 
WIA or ES as well as TAA. 

TAA Funding: 

About $750 million was appropriated for income support for trade- 
affected workers for fiscal year 2005, while another $259 million was 
appropriated for training, job search and relocation allowances, and 
administrative costs.[Footnote 7] Of the $259 million, $220 million is 
set aside for training, and Labor allocates 75 percent of it to states 
according to a formula that takes into account each state's previous 
year allocations, accrued expenditures, and participant levels. Labor 
holds the remaining 25 percent of training funds in reserve, to 
distribute to states throughout the year according to need. To cover 
administrative costs associated with training under the TAA program, 
Labor allocates additional administrative funds to each state equal to 
15 percent of its training allocation.[Footnote 8] 

TAA Performance Reporting System: 

Labor is responsible for monitoring the performance of the TAA program. 
In fiscal year 1999, Labor introduced a new participant outcomes 
reporting system, the Trade Act Participant Report (TAPR), that was 
designed to collect national information on TAA program participants, 
services, and outcomes. States are required to submit TAPR reports to 
Labor each quarter, with data on individuals who exited the TAA 
program. The TAPR data submitted by states are used to calculate 
national and state outcomes on the TAA performance measures for each 
fiscal year, which include (1) the percentage of participants that 
found jobs after exiting the program (reemployment rate), (2) the 
percentage of those participants who were employed after exiting the 
program who were still employed 9 months later (retention rate), and 
(3) the earnings in their new jobs compared to prior earnings (wage 
replacement rate). 

Labor's guidance requires states to include in their TAPR submissions 
all TAA participants who exit the program, that is, stop receiving 
benefits or services. Under Labor's guidance, a participant is defined 
as any individual who receives any TAA benefit or service, including 
extended income support payments, training, or job search and 
relocation allowances. According to this definition, participants would 
include those who, for example, received only extended income support 
and a waiver that allowed them to forgo training. 

TAPR reports include data on each exiter's characteristics, services 
received, and employment outcomes. Data on characteristics, for 
example, should include the worker's date of birth, gender, ethnicity, 
educational level, and layoff date. Data on services received should 
include data on training (such as dates the participant entered and 
completed training, and the type of training received), on other TAA 
benefits received (such as extended income support, job search 
allowance, and relocation allowance), and on co-enrollment in WIA or 
other federal programs. Data on outcomes should include the date the 
worker exited the TAA or other federal program, whether the worker was 
employed in the first full quarter after exit, whether the worker was 
employed in the third full quarter after exit, and the worker's 
earnings in these quarters. Where possible, outcome data are to be 
obtained from state UI wage records. 

Labor uses the TAPR data to track TAA program outcomes against national 
goals. Unlike the WIA programs, however, TAA has no individual state 
performance goals, and states do not receive incentives or sanctions 
based on their performance levels, nor are they otherwise held 
accountable for their performance. At the national level, the TAA 
program has failed to meet at least one of its performance goals each 
year since 2001, the first year for which goals were set. Table 1 shows 
goals and outcomes for fiscal years 2004 and 2005. 

Table 1: TAA National Performance Goals and Outcomes, Fiscal Years 2004 
and 2005: 

Measure: Wage replacement; 
Fiscal year 2004: Goal: 90%; 
Fiscal year 2004: Outcome: 73%; 
Fiscal year 2005: 80%; 
Fiscal year 2005: Outcome: 76%. 

Measure: Reemployment rate; 
Fiscal year 2004: Goal: 70%; 
Fiscal year 2004: Outcome: 62%; 
Fiscal year 2005: 70%; 
Fiscal year 2005: Outcome: 70%. 

Measure: Retention rate; 
Fiscal year 2004: Goal: 88%; 
Fiscal year 2004: Outcome: 86%; 
Fiscal year 2005: 89%; 
Fiscal year 2005: Outcome: 91%. 

Source: Department of Labor. 

Note: Bold denotes TAA program goal met or exceeded. 

[End of table] 

In addition to submitting TAPR data, states also submit data to Labor 
on TAA services and expenditures each quarter through the Form 563. 
Form 563 includes counts of participants receiving TAA services, while 
TAPR includes individual-level data on former participants who have 
exited the program. States are required to submit each quarter's Form 
563 data about 1 month after the end of the quarter. Form 563 includes 
data on services such as the number of new training participants (by 
type of training--occupational, remedial, and on-the-job), the number 
of workers in training at the end of the quarter, the number of 
training waivers issued, and the number of recipients of job search and 
relocation allowances, and expenditures on extended income support. 

Common Measures: 

In response to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiative, 
Labor recently began requiring states to implement common performance 
measures for WIA programs.[Footnote 9] OMB established a set of common 
measures to be applied to most federally funded job training programs 
that share similar goals. Labor further defined the common measures for 
all of its Employment and Training Administration programs and required 
states to implement these measures beginning July 1, 2005. Because it 
operates on a fiscal year rather than a program year basis, Labor 
required the TAA program to implement the measures by October 1, 2005. 

In addition to standardizing the performance measures, the common 
measures guidance also standardizes the definition of exiters across 
all programs. An exiter is defined as any participant who has not 
received a service funded by the program or funded by a partner program 
for 90 consecutive calendar days and is not scheduled for future 
services. The exit date is defined as the last date of service. For TAA 
participants, the exit date may be the training completion date, but if 
additional services are provided after training is completed, or if the 
participant is continuing to receive TRA, he or she would not be exited 
from the program. Some services are not significant enough to delay 
exiting, however. These include receiving UI benefits, some case 
management services, and postplacement follow-up.[Footnote 10] 

Flow of Data for Collecting and Reporting TAA Data: 

The process of collecting and reporting TAA performance data involves 
all three levels of government. Participant forms and case files are 
generally collected and organized by frontline staff in local areas, 
usually at the one-stop. In some states, local staff may enter some of 
the information into an IT system that is either integrated with the 
state's IT system or able to create an electronic file to transmit to 
the state. In other states, paper case files are physically transferred 
to state officials for data entry. 

At the state level, TAA data are often maintained in more than one IT 
system. For example, benefit payment information is usually in the same 
IT system that houses Unemployment Insurance payment information. 
However, information on participant characteristics and services 
(including status of training and whether or not the individual has 
exited) resides in one or more other systems. In some states, this 
participant information remains as a paper case file until it is 
determined that the participant has exited, and it is time to include 
him or her in the TAPR submission. 

To compile the TAPR submission, state agencies administering TAA 
typically match participant records to their state's UI wage record 
system to determine whether these former participants are employed and, 
if so, the wages they are earning. In some states, staff must manually 
enter information obtained from the UI wage record system into the TAPR 
file, while other states have IT systems capable of automatically 
matching UI data with participants' records. States may also use the 
Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS) to match participant records to 
other states' UI wage records for participants who found jobs in other 
states. Some states may link participant records to other partner 
programs' IT systems to track activities across programs or to 
determine if the participant has exited all programs. Once Labor 
receives the TAPR data, officials perform edit checks and calculate 
performance levels at the national and state level. 

TAA Data Do Not Provide a Complete, Credible Picture of the Program's 
Performance: 

TAA performance data are incomplete and may be inaccurate. States 
report that they are not including all TAA participants in their TAPR 
performance data, despite Labor's requirement that all participants be 
included after they exit the program. In addition, some states may not 
have documentation to verify the accuracy of participants' exit dates 
in TAPR and are not using all available data sources to determine TAA 
participants' employment outcomes. Furthermore, 1 state in 5 is using 
manual rather than automated processes to compile TAPR data, and others 
have IT systems with limited capacity to control for errors. Having 
such IT systems could hinder states' ability to ensure that the data 
are complete and accurate. However, many states are planning to make 
improvements to their TAA IT systems' capabilities this year. Some 
state TAA officials said that resource constraints have made it 
difficult to ensure their data are complete and accurate. 

TAA Performance Data Are Incomplete and May Be Inaccurate: 

Many states are not including all exiting participants in the TAPR 
submissions that Labor uses to calculate performance outcomes for TAA 
participants, such as the reemployment and retention rates. 
Participants who received training were most likely to be included in 
states' TAPR data, but those who had training waivers and had not 
received training were least likely to be included. Only 23 of the 46 
states we surveyed reported that they are including in their TAPR 
submissions to Labor all exiting participants, regardless of the type 
of benefit or service they received. Fourteen states reported that 
participants who received waivers but did not receive training were 
unlikely to be included in the TAPR (see fig. 1), and 3 states reported 
that they do not include any participants unless they receive training. 
This finding is consistent with a review by Pennsylvania's state 
auditor that found that participants who received waivers from training 
were not included in their TAPR submissions.[Footnote 11] 

Figure 1: Participants Who Received Training Are Most Likely to Be 
Reported in States' TAPR Submissions: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: States that did not respond or that responded "uncertain" to the 
specific survey questions analyzed for the figure were not included in 
the analysis. 

[End of figure] 

Our review of the TAPR data states submitted to Labor during fiscal 
year 2005 confirms our survey results--some states appear to be 
excluding some of their participants in their TAPR data files. For 
example, 9 states only included in their TAPR submissions participants 
who received training. Another 12 states had TAPR submissions composed 
almost exclusively (97 to 99 percent) of participants who received 
training (see table 2). However, several states did include relatively 
more of the participants who had not received training. For example, 
for 6 states, under 60 percent of the participants reported in the TAPR 
had received training. We have no other reliable source of data to help 
us assess what proportion of participants nationwide actually receive 
training and, therefore, what the proportion in the TAPR should be. In 
a recent study that examined services and outcomes for five trade- 
related layoffs, however, we found that between 9 and 39 percent of 
potentially eligible TAA participants enrolled in training.[Footnote 
12] Excluding certain participants from the TAPR could skew the TAA 
performance outcomes calculated by Labor because the outcomes may be 
disproportionately based on participants who received TAA-funded 
training. 

Table 2: Percentage of Participants Included in States' TAPR 
Submissions Who Received Training: 

Number of states: 9; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received other benefits or 
services but no training: None; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received training: 100. 

Number of states: 12; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received other benefits or 
services but no training: 0.1--3; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received training: 97--
99.9. 

Number of states: 11; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received other benefits or 
services but no training: 4--20; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received training: 80--96. 

Number of states: 8; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received other benefits or 
services but no training: 21--40; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received training: 60--79. 

Number of states: 6; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received other benefits or 
services but no training: Over 40; 
Percentage of participants included in TAPR: Received training: Under 
60. 

Source: GAO analysis of TAPR data submitted to Labor during fiscal year 
2005. 

[End of table] 

Labor does not have a process in place to ensure that states are 
including in their TAPR submissions all exiting TAA participants. 
Labor's regional offices may review whether states' TAPR submissions 
are complete during their state monitoring visits. However, because 
Labor has not had a standard monitoring tool, there has been no 
assurance that the regional offices were consistently reviewing whether 
all exiting participants are reported in states' TAPR data. Labor 
officials tell us that they are currently developing a core monitoring 
guide, but it is not clear if the guide will address this issue. 

Despite the importance of accurately identifying exiters, the exit 
dates themselves may not be accurate because some states do not 
consistently obtain proper documentation to verify the dates. Accurate 
exit dates are critical to TAA performance data for two reasons. First, 
a participant's exit date determines if the individual should be 
included in the state's TAPR submission to Labor. Second, the timing of 
the date of exit determines when a participant's employment outcomes 
will be assessed. Labor's guidance requires that states have 
documentation for participants' exit dates but does not specify the 
type of information that needs to be included in the documentation. For 
example, for participants who received training, it does not specify 
that the documentation should demonstrate that training was actually 
completed. Such documentation could include certificates of training 
completion, attendance records, or reports from training providers. 

TAA officials in 4 of the 5 states we visited said they had a process 
for obtaining documentation to show that participants completed 
training, but it is not clear whether such processes are uniformly 
followed by states. Officials in 3 states said that they receive 
training certifications, either from participants or from trainers, 
that show that training was completed. In another state, a TAA official 
said that the state sends participants a follow-up survey after 
training to verify that the training was completed, but some 
participants do not return the survey. Officials in 1 of the 5 states 
we visited said they did not have a process for certifying or 
documenting that participants completed training. 

A recent review in 4 other states by Labor's Office of Inspector 
General (OIG) confirmed that states do not have effective processes for 
verifying exit dates.[Footnote 13] In its review of 150 TAA case files, 
the OIG found that there was no documentation in any of the reviewed 
files to verify that the participants had completed the program on the 
recorded date of exit. OIG reported that states often recorded an 
anticipated date of exit when participants first entered the program, 
but did not collect any further documentation to confirm that 
participants had completed the training, and if so, whether they had 
completed training on the originally recorded date. The OIG recommended 
that Labor ensure that states collect and record TAA participants' 
actual date of exit, maintain the source documentation for such exit 
dates, and make the documentation readily available for review. 
According to an OIG official, Labor had not implemented these 
recommendations as of January 2006. 

Some States Are Not Using All Available Data Sources to Determine 
Employment Outcomes for TAA Participants: 

Some states are not using all available data sources to determine TAA 
participants' employment outcomes. Labor requires states to use UI wage 
records to determine the employment outcomes of participants reported 
in the TAPR. However, each state's wage record database includes only 
wage data on workers within the state and does not have data on 
participants who found employment in another state. 

To help track employment outcomes of TAA participants across state 
lines, states can obtain their employment and earnings information 
using other methods. Labor encourages states to use WRIS, a data 
clearinghouse that makes UI wage records available to participating 
states seeking information on TAA participants who may have found 
employment outside their state.[Footnote 14] Thirty-four of the 46 
states we surveyed reported that they routinely use WRIS to obtain 
employment outcome data on former TAA participants (see fig. 2). Three 
states reported that they do not use WRIS but instead routinely use 
interstate agreements with individual states to obtain employment 
outcome data. Opting to use interstate agreements with individual 
states instead of using WRIS is likely to result in access to fewer 
states' UI wage records than states would have if they used WRIS and 
may result in lower reported outcomes. Seven states use only their own 
states' UI wage records to determine participants' employment outcomes. 
State TAA officials cited several reasons for not using WRIS, including 
that it took too long to receive the needed information and it was not 
a priority for the state. Six states that do not currently use WRIS 
said that they plan to begin using this system in the future. 

Figure 2: Many States Are Using WRIS: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Nearly half of the 46 states are not routinely using other supplemental 
information sources even though it may be the only way to collect 
outcome information for certain participants. UI wage records, which 
cover about 94 percent of workers, do not include some categories of 
workers, such as self-employed persons, most independent contractors, 
military personnel, federal government workers, and postal workers. To 
document the employment status of these workers in the TAPR, states can 
use supplemental data, such as pay stubs and follow-up surveys sent to 
participants after they leave the program. Using supplemental data is 
likely to provide a more complete picture of participant outcomes 
because it helps states avoid inaccurately recording participants as 
unemployed in the TAPR. In an earlier report on WIA performance data, 
23 of the 50 states told us they needed to use supplemental data in 
order to meet their expected performance levels for the reemployment 
measure under WIA.[Footnote 15] 

Twenty-two states reported that they rarely if ever collect 
supplemental data to obtain outcome information on TAA participants 
(see fig. 3). State TAA officials said that they did not collect 
supplemental data because: 

* states' TAA IT systems lacked the capacity to record supplemental 
data; 

* they judged data collected through UI wage records and WRIS as 
sufficient, or collecting supplemental data was not required; and: 

* they lacked sufficient resources. 

Figure 3: Many States Are Not Using Supplemental Data: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Some States' TAA IT Systems Have Limited Capacity to Help Ensure Data 
Quality: 

Some states reported IT system limitations that could hinder the 
states' ability to ensure their TAA data are complete and accurate. 

Use of manual processes for compiling data. Nine states reported that 
they compile their TAPR report manually by entering data from various 
sources into a spreadsheet or other database. For example, 1 state 
reported that its TAPR submission was compiled every quarter by culling 
data from the actual case files housed in a state official's office. Of 
the 9 states that reported compiling their TAPR manually, 4 keypunch 
their UI data on employment outcomes into their TAPR data rather than 
electronically transferring the data from the UI wage record file. 
Using manual rather than automated processes increases the opportunity 
for errors to be introduced into the data through data entry. Six 
states responding to our survey expressed concern that errors in data 
entry may be one of the main causes of incomplete or inaccurate TAA 
data. 

One state's process for manually compiling the TAPR illustrates 
opportunities to introduce errors into the data. In this state, staff 
at the state level enter data on TAA participants' training contracts 
into a contract database. To compile the TAPR, they identify 
participants in the contract database whose training was scheduled to 
be completed during the quarter covered by the TAPR, and they enter 
data on those participants into a new spreadsheet. To identify 
employment outcomes for the TAPR, the staff look up the exiting TAA 
participants on printouts from the state's UI wage record system and 
manually enter data on the participants' employment status and wages 
into the spreadsheet. The data from the spreadsheet are then converted 
into the TAPR reporting format and sent to Labor. 

Limited IT system capabilities. Many states' IT systems for compiling 
TAA data do not have certain IT system capabilities, such as performing 
edit checks, that help a state report complete and accurate data to 
Labor. Only 15 of the 46 states we surveyed had TAA IT systems with 
each of three such capabilities: 

* Performing edit checks to prevent data errors: Edit checks aid in 
identifying invalid data, such as an entry in a date field that is not 
a date. 

* Identifying dates TAA participants completed WIA-funded services: The 
ability to identify when TAA participants complete WIA-funded services 
can help ensure that TAA participants are not counted in the TAPR 
report while they are still receiving services under WIA. If 
participants are still receiving services, then it is too soon to 
assess their employment outcomes in the TAPR report. 

* Allowing staff to query the system to assess data reliability and 
completeness: Queries allow staff to pull certain information out of 
the system to answer questions, and without this capability, staff may 
not be able to properly assess data quality and diagnose data problems. 
For example, in one local area we visited, a TAA specialist who is 
responsible for reporting on numerous TAA participants described having 
great difficulty determining if training completion dates had been 
entered for participants as appropriate because the specialist could 
not query the system to get a list of participants and their training 
status. 

More than half of the states told us they had plans to make at least 
one of these system improvements during the next year. For example, 17 
states reported plans to improve their TAA IT systems' capability to 
perform edit checks (see fig. 4). 

Figure 4: Number of States with TAA IT Systems That Currently Have or 
Will Be Adding Certain Capabilities: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Some states with electronic systems may have the capability to track 
TAA participants across other programs serving them, but several do 
not. Out of the 37 states that told us they had electronic systems to 
compile their TAPR data, 29 states said this same system captures 
program information for WIA programs, and similarly, 29 said the system 
captures information for Employment Services. Thirteen states said that 
these capabilities extended to all six programs and benefits that we 
examined, which includes, in addition to WIA and ES, Trade Readjustment 
Allowance, National Emergency Grants, Veterans Employment and Training 
Program, and UI. See appendix II for a complete listing of states' 
systems linkages. 

In addition, several states commented on our survey that they have 
planned enhancements to their TAA IT systems that may help coordinate 
across programs and increase the likelihood of capturing more outcomes: 

* Improving coordination of data across programs: Six states reported 
planning changes, such as developing a single case management system 
for several programs that would allow more coordination of data across 
programs. 

* Transitioning from manual to electronic processes: Two states that 
have been using manual processes reported plans to develop electronic 
interfaces to capture needed data for the TAPR. 

* Adding capacity to record supplemental data: Two states reported that 
their IT system changes will enable them to begin recording 
supplemental data for use in determining TAA participants' employment 
outcomes. 

Some States Told Us Limited Resources Contributed to TAA Performance 
Data Problems: 

Some states reported that limited TAA administrative funds hindered 
their ability to ensure the quality of the TAA performance data they 
collect and maintain. To cover their TAA program's administrative 
costs, states receive an allocation each year equal to 15 percent of 
their TAA training allocation. In fiscal year 2006, 9 states received 
less than $100,000 in TAA administrative funds, and another 10 states 
received between $100,000 and $300,000. These funds are used to cover 
all the administrative activities of the program, such as reviewing 
waivers and training plans, processing applications for job search or 
relocation allowances, and any associated data collection and 
reporting. Some states also use these funds for direct case management 
services to participants because they are the only TAA funds available 
to provide these services. However, we recently reported that state 
officials told us the TAA administrative funds were often insufficient 
to meet the case management needs of the program and they relied on 
other programs to provide those services.[Footnote 16] (For a complete 
listing of each state's TAA training and administrative funds, see app. 
III.) 

State and local TAA officials said that resource shortages contribute 
to difficulties in identifying exit dates, using supplemental data 
sources, and entering data in a timely manner. For example, one state 
official commented on our survey that TAA case managers often do not 
have enough time to follow up with participants to learn about their 
status after they have been sent to training. Another state official 
said that insufficient case management can delay the identification of 
participants exiting the program. Officials in 2 other states told us 
that supplemental data were too time-consuming and burdensome to 
collect, given the program's current funding levels. Officials said 
that resource limitations also presented challenges in entering the 
data in a timely manner. An official in one local area we visited 
reported a tremendous backlog in entering TAA participant data into the 
IT system because there were just two staff to handle approximately 
1,000 TAA cases. Similarly, in another local area, the office manager 
told us that TAA staff were spread too thinly, a condition that 
adversely affected the collection and entry of TAA data. 

Labor Makes Some TAA Performance Data Available, but Its Usefulness Is 
Limited: 

Labor reports data on TAA petition and certification activity, program 
participation, and key performance measures, but this information may 
not be useful for gauging current program performance. The information 
may be helpful in providing a long-term national picture of program 
outcomes, but it represents past, rather than current, performance. UI 
wage records--the primary data source for tracking TAA performance-- 
provide a fairly consistent national view of TAA performance and allow 
for tracking outcomes over time. At the same time, the UI wage records 
suffer from time delays and, together with the use of longer-term 
outcome measures, affect the timing of states' performance reports to 
Labor and, subsequently, the information that Labor makes publicly 
available. Most of the outcome data reported in a given program year 
actually reflect participants who left the program up to 2 years 
earlier. In addition, Labor does not consistently report TAA data by 
state or industry or by services or benefits received--a step that 
would make the data more useful to policymakers. States responding to 
our survey reported that they would like additional information from 
Labor, such as how their TAA performance compares to the performance of 
other states and other federal employment and training programs. 

Publicly Available TAA Data Do Not Provide a Clear Picture of Current 
Program Performance: 

Labor makes some TAA statistics available through postings on its Web 
site and through published reports, but they do not provide useful 
information on current performance.[Footnote 17] Labor provides some 
TAA activity and participant data by fiscal year including: 

* number of petitions received, certifications issued, and denials by 
state; 

* distribution of certifications by industry; 

* number of new participants receiving extended income support payments 
or training; and: 

* summary statistics on former TAA participants (such as race, 
education level, and benefits and services received). 

In addition to reporting on TAA activity and participant data, Labor 
also reports on three key TAA performance measures. The TAPR data 
submitted by states are used to calculate national and state outcomes 
on the TAA performance measures--wage replacement, reemployment, and 
retention--for each fiscal year. In 2005, Labor made state-by-state TAA 
outcome information publicly available for the first time. According to 
Labor officials, making this information public represents an effort to 
emphasize performance, and they intend to post state-by-state outcome 
information on the Web site for all future fiscal years. Labor's 
regional offices directly provide states with information on their TAA 
performance relative to the program's national goals. Some regional 
offices also provide states with reports showing the performance of all 
states in the region, according to officials we interviewed. 

However, the information Labor makes publicly available may not provide 
a clear picture of current TAA performance because, in addition to 
being incomplete and perhaps inaccurate, the data represent past 
performance and are not consistently reported by type of service, 
state, or industry. 

Data represent past performance. Because TAA performance is measured 
using UI wage records and long-term performance measures such as 
employment retention, the most up-to-date TAA performance data 
currently available may represent performance from several years in the 
past. 

Use of wage records: Using UI wage records to measure outcomes provides 
a common yardstick for making long-term comparisons across states 
because they contain wage and employment information on most workers. 
At the same time, these files suffer delays between the time an 
individual gets a job and when this information appears in wage 
records. State procedures for collecting and compiling wage information 
from employers can be slow and time-consuming. Data are collected from 
employers only once every quarter, and employers in most states have 30 
days after the quarter ends to report the data to the state. For 
example, the wage report for the last calendar quarter of the year 
(ending on December 31) is due to the state on January 31. We 
previously reported that for the majority of states, the delay between 
the time an individual gets a job and the time this information appears 
in wage records is up to 4 months.[Footnote 18] 

Design of measures: In addition to using a job placement measure, Labor 
also uses two longer-term measures to gauge TAA performance--an 
earnings measure and a job retention measure. These measures may be 
useful for assessing how well the program is meeting its long-range 
goals to increase the employment, retention, and earnings of 
participants. However, the use of these measures requires states to 
wait from one to three quarters after participants exit the TAA program 
before measuring the outcomes. For example, although states record 
whether participants entered employment in the first quarter after 
exit, two more quarters must elapse before employment retention is 
measured. Participants who exit the TAA program have their outcomes 
assessed in the first, second, and third quarters after exit. However, 
data to measure all outcomes are not available until the fifth quarter 
after exit, and the outcomes are not submitted to Labor until midway 
through the sixth quarter. Figure 5 illustrates the time it takes 
before a TAA participant would be included in performance outcome 
calculations. 

Figure 5: Period between When a TAA Participant Exits the Program and 
When Data Are Reported to Labor: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: The outcome measures shown in this figure are those used prior to 
implementation of common measures in fiscal year 2006. Under common 
measures, retention is measured in both the second and third quarters 
after exit. 

[End of figure] 

Labor posts TAA performance data on its Web site on an annual basis, 
and because of the time required to collect outcome data on exiters, 
the performance data that Labor makes available each year include 
workers who exited the program up to 30 months earlier. For example, 
states were required to submit performance data to Labor on individuals 
who exited the program in the July-to-September quarter of 2002 by 
February 15, 2004. However, these data were not publicly released until 
early 2005, when they were included in the annual data report covering 
those who exited the program between July 2002 and June 2003 (see fig. 
6). Furthermore, individuals who exited the TAA program in July 2002 
and who received training could have entered the program 2 years 
earlier, or July 2000--4Ĺ years before their outcome data were included 
in the annual reporting of outcomes. 

Figure 6: Fiscal Year 2004 TAA Performance Data Represent Exiters from 
as early as Fiscal Year 2002: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Categories used to display outcome data are not sufficiently 
informative. The categories Labor uses to report program outcomes are 
unlikely to provide policymakers a broad understanding of different 
aspects of the program's performance. Labor combines all participants 
in the publicly available outcome information, regardless of the types 
of services and benefits they received. As a result, there is no 
information available to the public on how the outcomes of participants 
who received TAA-funded training differ from those of participants who 
received other benefits or services, such as job search assistance or 
extended income support. In addition, Labor does not consistently 
report TAA participant and activity data by state or by industry. This 
makes it difficult for policymakers to accurately assess program 
activities and performance and determine future needs. 

Examining data by different categories may also allow Labor to 
recognize and address problems related to performance and data quality. 
We and other experts have found that reporting performance information 
in smaller, meaningful categories can help identify and resolve 
problems. For example, comparing the performance of states on different 
TAA measures may draw attention to low-performing states. Furthermore, 
careful analysis of disaggregated data could uncover data quality 
issues. For example, if Labor analyzed each state's data by the 
different benefits and services TAA participants received, then it may 
be able to identify those states that are excluding some exiting 
participants in their TAPR submissions by looking at which states 
reported few or no participants in certain categories. 

Ongoing study will assess program impact. Labor has funded a long-term 
study to assess the impact of TAA program services such as training on 
participants' employment and earnings that will provide policymakers a 
broader understanding of the program's effectiveness. The goal of the 
study is to determine not only the outcomes achieved by TAA 
participants, but also the impact of TAA program services--that is, 
whether participants had better outcomes as a result of the program 
than they would have if they had not received program services. Labor 
last completed an evaluation of the TAA program in 1993, but 
methodological issues resulted in inconclusive findings from that 
study. According to Labor officials, the methodology used by the new 
study is an improvement over the methodology used by the 1993 study and 
should provide more conclusive findings. The new study will compare the 
outcomes for a treatment group (TAA participants in 25 states) and a 
comparison group (UI claimants in the 25 states who are similar to the 
TAA participants in a number of observable characteristics). It will 
examine, for example, the workers' job search methods, their training 
outcomes, and their employment history before and after being laid off. 
This methodology will likely allow an assessment of the impact of the 
TAA program, rather than just outcomes. Data collection began in 2005 
and will continue until 2008, and a final report is scheduled to be 
issued by the end of 2008. 

Most States Find TAA Performance Data Useful, but Many Would Like 
Additional Information: 

While approximately one-third of the states found TAA performance 
information they currently receive from Labor to be greatly useful, 
some would like Labor to provide them with additional information to 
help manage their program. Nearly half of the 46 states we surveyed 
told us that they find the performance information they receive from 
Labor to be moderately useful (see fig. 7), and 8 states reported that 
Labor's TAA performance information is of little or no use for program 
management. 

Figure 7: Many States Found Labor's Performance Information to Be 
Moderately Useful: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: One state responded "uncertain" and was not included in this 
figure. 

[End of figure] 

Nearly half of the states we surveyed told us that they routinely 
develop information on their own performance beyond what they submit to 
Labor. For example, an official in 1 state reported that it calculates 
its own outcomes before receiving them from Labor in order to make 
managers and executives aware of the state's performance, and it uses 
this information to engage state and local TAA staff in making program 
adjustments. In addition, approximately one-third of the states 
routinely develop information on their local areas' performance. Labor 
does not provide analysis of local area performance to states because 
it does not collect this type of information in the TAPR. 

While many states provide the performance information of their own 
state and that of other states to their local area TAA staff, few 
states provide information on their local areas' performance to local 
TAA staff. Only 27 of the 46 states in our survey reported that they 
share information from Labor with local area staff on how their state's 
performance compares to national TAA performance goals. In addition, 
only 7 of the 16 states that generate additional performance 
information for local areas reported that they share this information 
with local TAA staff. One expert we spoke with told us that regularly 
sharing performance information with local program staff enables them 
to understand how the data they collect are being used and the 
importance of complete and accurate data for producing reliable 
performance information. Our recent report on performance measurement 
also noted that frequent and routine communication of performance 
information helps program staff and stakeholders use such information 
to accomplish program goals as they pursue day-to-day 
activities.[Footnote 19] These practices could lead to better program 
management and produce more reliable performance data to assess TAA 
performance in the future. 

States said that they would like to receive additional performance 
information from Labor to help manage their TAA program. Thirty-four 
states would like more information than they currently receive on their 
own state's performance, and 39 states reported they would like 
information comparing their states' TAA performance to their WIA 
Dislocated Worker performance (see fig. 8).[Footnote 20] According to 
one state official we spoke with, receiving additional TAA performance 
information that is displayed by type of service and by state would 
enable officials to respond more effectively to performance problems 
and to learn what strategies states with similar TAA populations are 
using to achieve different performance outcomes. 

Figure 8: Most States Reported That Additional Performance Information 
from Labor Would Be Useful for Program Management: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Labor Has Taken Steps to Improve the Quality of Performance Data, but 
Issues Remain: 

While it has limited authority to hold states accountable, Labor has 
taken steps to improve the quality of TAA data states submit, but these 
steps do not fully address all issues. Labor has no mechanism to 
sanction states for poor performance or poor-quality data because the 
law and current regulations do not provide one. However, Labor has 
begun an initiative that requires states to review a sample of their 
data for accuracy. It is too soon to fully assess whether Labor's 
efforts have improved data quality, but most states reported on our 
survey that Labor's new requirements have increased awareness of data 
quality at the state and local levels. States also report that they 
would like more opportunities to share lessons learned about issues 
related to data quality. Labor is requiring changes in some TAA 
performance measures to align them with measures for other federally 
funded job training programs. Many states reported that the changes are 
burdensome, and some states are experiencing delays in implementing the 
changes. 

Data Validation Is Having Positive Effects but Does Not Address All 
Concerns: 

To address data quality concerns, Labor developed a process for states 
to use to validate the TAPR data they submitted to Labor. Starting with 
data submitted in fiscal year 2003, Labor required states to review a 
sample of participants' records and compare what was reported for 
certain data elements to data in source files. State staff review the 
source files and record whether each data element is supported by 
source documentation and, therefore, passed data validation. If the 
source files show a data element was incorrect or was not supported 
with documentation, the data element fails. States use Labor's software 
to calculate error rates, and they submit the results to Labor. 

While it is too soon to assess whether Labor's data validation efforts 
have improved data quality, many states said that the efforts are 
having a positive effect. Thirty-five states reported that efforts have 
improved the accuracy of the data. Thirty-seven of the 46 states told 
us they have helped increase the awareness of data quality at the state 
level, and 25 states told us they have improved awareness at the local 
level (see fig. 9). 

Figure 9: States' View of How Labor's Data Validation Efforts Have 
Helped Them: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Until recently, Labor has not had a standard process for ensuring that 
states performed data validation correctly. Labor officials tell us, 
however, that beginning in 2006, regional offices are conducting data 
validation compliance reviews of a subsample of validated records to 
ensure that the records were accurately validated and the files 
contained all required source documents. 

While states report that Labor's data validation requirements are 
having some positive effects, Labor's data validation efforts do not 
address two key problems. First, guidance for data validation defined 
for the first time the type of source documents needed to validate TAPR 
data elements, including exit dates. However, the guidance does not 
specify that the source documents for training completion dates should 
show that participants actually completed training. Second, data 
validation does not provide for assessing whether TAPR submissions are 
complete. Because the data validation process only covers participant 
records included in states' TAPR submissions for the year, it does not 
look beyond those records to determine whether all exiting participants 
were included. 

Labor Has Taken Several Other Steps to Help Improve TAA Data, but 
States Want More Opportunities to Share Lessons Learned: 

In addition to implementing data validation, Labor has taken various 
actions to better instruct states and to provide tools for improving 
the data they submit to Labor. 

Technical assistance and training: In 2005 and 2006, Labor brought 
together state TAA staff for training conferences on the new data 
requirements for implementing common measures. According to Labor 
officials, Labor's regional offices periodically hold roundtables with 
states to discuss issues that sometimes include data quality. Labor 
provides technical assistance, as needed, to states through telephone 
calls and e-mails. According to Labor officials, Labor is planning to 
start holding quarterly conference calls with states about TAA issues, 
including data quality. 

Guidance on data reporting: Labor issued guidance and instructions for 
TAA data reporting, such as instructions defining how "date of exit" is 
to be determined under common measures. In May 2005, Labor issued a 
guidance letter to states addressing several issues with data quality, 
such as the use of WRIS and supplemental data to determine employment 
outcomes. In general, states reported that the guidance and training 
they had received from Labor provided a clear understanding of certain 
data requirements, such as the requirements for data validation and for 
using UI wage records. States were somewhat less likely to say that 
Labor had provided a clear understanding of the documentation needed 
for the date of exit and how supplemental data could be used to 
document TAA employment outcomes. 

Monitoring: Labor's regional offices conduct monitoring visits to 
review states' TAA programs. In the past, Labor did not have a standard 
protocol for these monitoring visits, and the monitoring did not always 
cover the quality of the TAA data being submitted by states. However, 
as of March 2006, Labor was developing a standard monitoring guide for 
its regional staff. 

Pilot project on federal employment data: Labor collaborated with the 
Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Postal Service, and the 
Department of Defense to create a pilot data exchange system to provide 
states access to wage record information on federal and military 
employment. The system that began operating in November 2003 can help 
states obtain more complete employment outcome data on participants who 
exited job training programs because it provides information on federal 
employment that is not available in state UI wage records. Many states 
are using the system to help determine employment outcomes for job 
training programs, such as those funded under the Workforce Investment 
Act. However, only 3 of the 46 states we surveyed reported that they 
were routinely using this system to obtain employment outcomes for the 
TAA program. 

Despite Labor's efforts to improve data quality, most states would like 
more help. Most states reported that they do not currently have 
opportunities to share lessons learned with other states on topics 
related to TAA data quality, such as how to use supplemental data, and 
they expressed interest in having such opportunities. For example, 29 
states told us they do not currently have opportunities to share 
lessons learned on data validation, and 44 states told us more 
opportunities to do so would be helpful (see fig. 10). 

Figure 10: Most State Expressed Interest in Having More Opportunities 
to Share Lessons Learned on Data Issues: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Labor's Common Measures May Address Some Concerns, but States Are Still 
Struggling to Implement Changes: 

In response to an OMB initiative, Labor made changes to some of the TAA 
performance measures and to TAA reporting requirements in order to 
implement common measures (see table 3). OMB established a set of 
common performance measures to be applied to most federally funded job 
training programs that share similar goals. Labor further defined the 
common measures for all of its Employment and Training Administration 
programs and required states to start reporting TAA data under the 
revised requirements in fiscal year 2006. 

Table 3: How TAA Performance Measures Changed under Common Measures: 

Past measure: Wage replacement: earnings in the second and third 
quarters after exit divided by earnings in the second and third 
quarters prior to dislocation; 
Common measure: Average earnings: total earnings in the second and 
third quarters after exit divided by the number of exiting 
participants. 

Past measure: Reemployment rate: percentage of program exiters employed 
in first quarter after exit; 
Common measure: Entered employment rate: same as the past reemployment 
rate measure. 

Past measure: Retention rate: percentage of exiters employed in the 
first quarter after exit that are still employed in third quarter after 
exit; 
Common measure: Retention rate: percentage of exiters employed in the 
first quarter after exit that are still employed in both the second and 
third quarters after exit. 

Source: Department of Labor guidance. 

[End of table] 

Moving to common measures may increase the comparability of outcome 
information across programs and make it easier for states and local 
areas to collect and report performance information across the full 
range of programs that provide services in a one-stop system. Prior to 
common measures, many federal job training programs had performance 
measures that tracked similar outcomes but had variation in the terms 
used and the way the measures were calculated. For example, the 
programs used different time periods to assess whether participants got 
jobs. Under common measures, the time period used to assess employment 
outcomes is uniform across all covered programs. 

Implementation of common measures involved some changes in the data 
states collect for the TAPR: 

Standardized exit definitions: Labor's guidance on common measures 
provides for a clearer understanding of when TAA participants should be 
exited from the program than did earlier TAA guidance. Under Labor's 
guidance, states must wait 90 days after participants receive their 
last service or benefit--from TAA, WIA, or other related programs--to 
record them as exiters. Prior to this change, states could exit 
participants without waiting 90 days. Most states reported that the 
guidance and training they received from Labor provided a clear 
understanding of the definition of exit under common measures, but 7 
states disagreed. 

Coordination of exit dates: Under common measures, states are 
encouraged to establish a common exit date for each participant who is 
co-enrolled in more than one program. For example, if a participant 
receives services under TAA and under WIA, then the two programs should 
use the same exit date for the participant. Coordinating exit dates 
improves data quality by avoiding the problem of counting a participant 
as unemployed in the program's performance measures when, in fact, the 
participant is still receiving services in another program and is not 
ready to be counted in the performance measures. 

Changes in IT systems: A number of data fields were added or changed in 
the TAPR as part of the new common measures policy, requiring states to 
add or change data fields in their IT systems and to instruct staff on 
changes in data to be collected on participants and employment 
outcomes. Most states reported that the guidance and training they 
received from Labor provided a clear understanding of the changes 
needed in the TAPR to implement common measures; however, 7 states 
disagreed. 

Although moving to common measures may ultimately make it easier for 
states to collect and report performance information across programs, 
most states reported that making changes to implement common measures 
had been a burden in terms of time and cost (see fig. 11), and often 
viewed coordinating exit dates as burdensome. States were nearly evenly 
divided in their views, however, on whether they had been given 
sufficient time by Labor to complete the changes. Nineteen states said 
they had not been given sufficient time, while 18 states said they had. 
Twenty-six states reported that they will have provided guidance to 
staff or changed data elements in their IT systems by the time the 
first quarterly TAPR is due in fiscal year 2006 (see fig. 12). Other 
states reported that they would have these changes completed sometime 
later in 2006, while some states said they could not estimate when they 
will complete the changes. Coordinating exit dates was the change that 
states considered the most burdensome. Seventeen states were unable to 
estimate when they would be able to coordinate exit dates across 
programs. 

Figure 11: Most States Viewed Changes Needed for Common Measures to Be 
a Burden: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Figure 12: Coordinating Exit Dates Was Change States Were Least Likely 
to Expect to Have Completed in 2006: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

In a previous study, we cautioned that rushed implementation of 
reporting changes may not allow states and local areas enough time to 
fully meet the requirements and could negatively affect the data 
quality of the information reported.[Footnote 21] 

Conclusions: 

Since the passage of the TAA Reform Act of 2002, the TAA program has 
evolved to become one of the most important means to help the workers 
affected by our nation's trade policies rejoin our nation's workforce. 
The program has seen substantial increases in the population it serves 
and in the funds available to serve them. Unfortunately, efforts to 
monitor the program's performance have not kept pace with the program's 
development. Four years after the passage of the reforms, we still do 
not know whether the program is achieving what lawmakers intended. 

The TAA program has suffered a history of problems with its performance 
data that have undermined the data's credibility and limited their 
usefulness. And while we see that Labor has taken some steps aimed at 
improving the performance data, the data remain suspect. They fail to 
capture outcomes for some of the program's participants, and many 
participants are not included in the final outcomes at all. These 
failures may have contributed to the program's poor performance in 
achieving its national goals. Labor lacks the authority to hold states 
accountable for their outcomes or for the quality of their data, and as 
a result, some states may not see the value of investing more effort to 
ensure their data are complete and accurate. In truth, officials tell 
us the funding to support their efforts is small, and it fluctuates 
from year to year, making such an investment difficult to sustain. But 
the success of the program is being judged by the outcomes the program 
achieves and whether or not it meets its goals. The current budgetary 
environment makes it risky not to take all necessary steps to ensure 
that the outcomes are an accurate and credible reflection of the 
program's performance. 

Labor has taken a major step toward improving the quality of its 
performance data through its new data validation requirements. States 
report that these requirements have significantly raised the awareness 
of data quality at the state and local levels-an essential component in 
any effort to improve the accuracy of the data. But these efforts do 
not fully address all issues. No steps have been taken to ensure that 
all participants are included in the TAA performance data or that exit 
dates are adequately documented. Monitoring can help address data 
issues, but Labor is just now developing a standard monitoring guide 
that would help ensure that key problems are identified during 
monitoring visits. Until these steps are complete, the data can not be 
verified and may remain incomplete. Providing opportunities for states 
to share lessons learned may make states more aware of effective 
approaches for ensuring data quality, and several states expressed an 
interest in more such opportunities. 

Labor has recently improved the availability of TAA performance 
information by posting the information on its Web site and by making 
some state-by-state performance data available. However, the 
performance data are not as informative as they could be because they 
aggregate all participants and do not show the outcomes of participants 
based on the types of services they received. As a result, policymakers 
lack the information they need to understand program participation and 
performance and to assess future needs. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

While Labor has taken steps to share information with states and to 
improve data quality, more work is needed. 

To help ensure that TAA participant data reported by states are 
consistent, complete, and accurate, Labor should: 

* clarify through guidance and other communications with states: 

* that all participants who exit the program should be included in the 
TAPR and: 

* the documentation needed to verify the training completion date; 

* ensure that the core monitoring guide currently under development for 
regional office site visits includes guidance for assessing whether 
states' data collection processes for performance reporting capture all 
participants; and: 

* provide states with opportunities to share lessons learned with other 
states on issues that may affect data quality. 

To make TAA performance information more useful for program management, 
Labor should provide this information by the type of services received 
by TAA participants. 

Agency Comments: 

We provided a draft of this report to Labor for review and comment. In 
its comments, Labor did not disagree with our findings and 
recommendations and said the report will be helpful in its continuing 
efforts to improve the quality of TAA performance data. Labor noted 
that the issues raised in the report about administrative costs and the 
burden of new reporting requirements are compounded by having a 
workforce investment system that is duplicative in its service delivery 
design, resulting in separate record-keeping and reporting systems. 
Labor also identified a number of actions that it is taking to ensure 
that performance accountability is an expectation of the program. A 
copy of Labor's response is in appendix IV. 

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce the 
contents of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of 
this report until 30 days from the date of this report. At that time, 
we will send copies of this report to the Secretary of Labor, relevant 
congressional committees, and others who are interested. Copies will 
also be made available to others upon request. The report is also 
available on GAO's home page at [Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or members of your staff have any questions about this report, 
please contact me at (202) 512-7215 or nilsens@gao.gov. Contact points 
for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be 
found on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major 
contributions to this report are listed in appendix V. 

Signed by: 

Sigurd R. Nilsen: 
Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

We examined (1) whether the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) 
performance data provide a credible picture of the program's 
performance, (2) what TAA performance data Labor makes available to the 
public and states and the usefulness of the data for managing the 
program, and (3) what Labor is doing to address issues with the quality 
of TAA data submitted by states. 

To learn more about the factors that affect TAA data quality and to 
learn what states are doing to ensure data quality, we conducted a Web- 
based survey of state TAA officials and conducted site visits in five 
states, where we interviewed state officials and visited local areas or 
one-stop centers. We also collected information on the quality of TAA 
data through interviews with Department of Labor officials in 
headquarters and all six regional offices, nationally recognized 
experts, and reviewed relevant literature. Our work was conducted 
between December 2004 and March 2006 in accordance with generally 
accepted government auditing standards. 

To determine the factors that affect the quality of TAA performance 
data, we conducted a Web-based survey of workforce officials in the 46 
states[Footnote 22] that were allocated TAA funds in fiscal year 2005, 
and we obtained a 100 percent response rate. These officials were 
identified using Labor's list of state TAA officials. We e-mailed the 
contacts, and they confirmed that they were the appropriate contact for 
our survey or identified and referred us to another person at the state 
level. Survey topics included (1) the current status of TAA data 
collection and reporting systems, (2) implementation of the U.S. 
Department of Labor's data validation requirements, (3) state and local 
efforts to ensure the quality of TAA data, and (4) the implementation 
of common measures. The survey was conducted using a self-administered 
electronic questionnaire posted on the Web. We contacted respondents 
via e-mail announcing the survey, and sent follow-up e-mails to 
encourage responses. The survey data were collected between November 
2005 and January 2006. We received completed surveys from all 46 states 
that were allocated TAA funding in fiscal year 2005 (a 100 percent 
response rate). We did not include Washington, D.C., and U.S. 
territories in our survey. 

Web-Based Survey: 

We worked to develop the questionnaire with social science survey 
specialists. Because this was not a sample survey, there is no sampling 
error. However, the practical difficulties of conducting any survey may 
introduce errors, commonly referred to as nonsampling errors. For 
example, differences in how a particular question is interpreted or in 
the sources of information that are available to respondents can 
introduce unwanted variability into the survey results. We took steps 
in the development of the questionnaire, the data collection, and data 
analysis to minimize these nonsampling errors. For example, prior to 
administering the survey, we pretested the content and format of the 
questionnaire with four states to determine whether (1) the survey 
questions were clear, (2) the terms used were precise, (3) respondents 
were able to provide the information we were seeking, and (4) the 
questions were unbiased. We made changes to the content and format of 
the final questionnaire based on pretest results. We also performed 
computer analyses to identify inconsistencies in responses and other 
indications of error. In addition, a second independent analyst 
verified that the computer programs used to analyze the data were 
written correctly. 

Site Visits: 

We visited five states--California, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia-- 
and traveled to local areas or one-stop centers in each of these 
states. We selected these states because they represent different TAA 
data collection approaches (that is, states where data are entered into 
information technology [IT] systems at the local level and those where 
data are entered at the state level), received a relatively large share 
of TAA funds in fiscal year 2005, and are geographically dispersed. 
From within each state, we judgmentally selected local areas to visit 
(see table 4). In each state, we interviewed state TAA officials about 
their collection and use of TAA data, IT systems used to compile TAA 
performance data, and efforts to ensure the data are complete and 
accurate. Similarly, we interviewed local area officials about their 
collection and use of TAA data. 

Information that we gathered on our site visits represents only the 
conditions present in the states and local areas at the time of our 
site visits, from January 2005 through October 2005. We cannot comment 
on any changes that may have occurred after our fieldwork was 
completed. Furthermore, we cannot generalize the findings from our site 
visits beyond the states and local areas we visited. 

Table 4: Site Visit States and Local Areas: 

State: California; 
Local area: Alameda County. 
Local area: Orange County. 

State: Iowa; 
Local area: Newton. 
Local area: Burlington. 

State: Ohio; 
Local area: Franklin County. 

State: Texas; 
Local area: San Antonio. 
Local area: Dallas. 

State: Virginia; 
Local area: Harrisonburg. 
Local area: Danville. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Program Information in State TAA IT Systems: 

In our survey, states were asked whether the IT system they use to 
compile data for the Trade Act Participant Report (TAPR) currently 
captures program information for certain other Labor programs or 
benefits. 

Table 5: Program Information for Other U.S. Department of Labor 
Employment and Training Administration Programs Contained in State IT 
Systems Used to Compile TAPR Submissions: 

State: Alabama; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Alaska; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: Arizona; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: California; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Colorado; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Florida; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Georgia; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Idaho; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Illinois; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: Indiana; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Iowa; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Kansas; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Kentucky; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Maine; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Maryland; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: Massachusetts; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Michigan; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: Minnesota; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: Mississippi; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Missouri; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Montana; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: North Carolina; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: New Hampshire; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: New Jersey; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: New York; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Oklahoma; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Oregon; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: South Carolina; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): [Empty]; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: South Dakota; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: Tennessee; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Texas; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Utah; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Vermont; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Virginia; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): [Empty]; 
Employment Services (ES): [Empty]; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): [Empty]; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): [Empty]; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Washington; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: [Empty]. 

State: West Virginia; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

State: Wisconsin; 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): X; 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA): X; 
Employment Services (ES): X; 
National Emergency Grant (NEG): X; 
Veterans Employment and Training Program (VETS): X; 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program: X. 

Source: GAO survey of state TAA officials. 

Note: Nine states that reported compiling their TAPR manually were 
excluded from the table: Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Nebraska, 
Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: State TAA Administrative Allocations, Fiscal Years 2005- 
2006: 

The TAA Reform Act authorizes up to $220 million per year for training 
under the TAA Program. Labor allocates 75 percent of the training funds 
to states according to a formula that takes into account each state's 
previous year allocations, accrued expenditures, and participant 
levels. Labor holds the remaining 25 percent of training funds in 
reserve to distribute to states throughout the year according to need. 
To cover administrative costs associated with training under the TAA 
program, Labor allocates to each state additional administrative funds 
equal to 15 percent of its training allocation. Table 6 shows Labor's 
initial 75 percent allocation for training and associated 
administrative expenses. States also receive an additional 15 percent 
of any reserve (25 percent) funding and job search/relocation 
allowances for program administration. 

Table 6: State TAA Training and Administrative Allocations, Fiscal 
Years 2005-2006: 

States: Alabama; 
2005 allocation: Training: $2,468,374; 
2005 allocation: Administration: $370,256; 
2006 allocation: Training: $2,642,640; 
2006 allocation: Administration: $396,396. 

States: Alaska; 
2005 allocation: Training: 398,625; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 59,794; 
2006 allocation: Training: 429,982; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 64,497. 

States: Arizona; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,358,372; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 353,756; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,440,988; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 366,148. 

States: Arkansas; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,059,660; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 308,949; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,750,711; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 262,607. 

States: California; 
2005 allocation: Training: 6,180,645; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 927,097; 
2006 allocation: Training: 6,642,537; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 996,380. 

States: Colorado; 
2005 allocation: Training: 1,678,693; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 251,804; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,426,889; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 214,033. 

States: Connecticut; 
2005 allocation: Training: 1,765,584; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 264,838; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,500,746; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 225,112. 

States: Delaware; 
2005 allocation: Training: 0; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 0; 
2006 allocation: Training: 0; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 0. 

States: District of Columbia; 
2005 allocation: Training: 0; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 0; 
2006 allocation: Training: 0; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 0. 

States: Florida; 
2005 allocation: Training: 3,941,816; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 591,272; 
2006 allocation: Training: 3,350,544; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 502,582. 

States: Georgia; 
2005 allocation: Training: 854,284; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 128,143; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,559,104; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 233,866. 

States: Hawaii; 
2005 allocation: Training: 0; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 0; 
2006 allocation: Training: 0; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 0. 

States: Idaho; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,332,696; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 349,904; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,390,380; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 358,557. 

States: Illinois; 
2005 allocation: Training: 4,294,247; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 644,137; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,696,350; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 704,452. 

States: Indiana; 
2005 allocation: Training: 4,432,026; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 664,804; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,780,198; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 717,030. 

States: Iowa; 
2005 allocation: Training: 3,336,400; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 500,460; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,835,940; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 425,391. 

States: Kansas; 
2005 allocation: Training: 3,265,572; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 489,836; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,775,736; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 416,360. 

States: Kentucky; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,998,984; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 449,848; 
2006 allocation: Training: 3,705,162; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 555,774. 

States: Louisiana; 
2005 allocation: Training: 594,658; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 89,199; 
2006 allocation: Training: 612,573; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 91,886. 

States: Maine; 
2005 allocation: Training: 3,674,863; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 551,229; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,021,621; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 603,243. 

States: Maryland; 
2005 allocation: Training: 482,983; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 72,447; 
2006 allocation: Training: 525,184; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 78,778. 

States: Massachusetts; 
2005 allocation: Training: 5,473,152; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 820,973; 
2006 allocation: Training: 5,600,876; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 840,131. 

States: Michigan; 
2005 allocation: Training: 5,559,171; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 833,876; 
2006 allocation: Training: 5,774,380; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 866,157. 

States: Minnesota; 
2005 allocation: Training: 3,824,119; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 573,618; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,005,739; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 600,861. 

States: Mississippi; 
2005 allocation: Training: 1,909,216; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 286,382; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,076,016; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 311,402. 

States: Missouri; 
2005 allocation: Training: 4,993,894; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 749,084; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,244,810; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 636,721. 

States: Montana; 
2005 allocation: Training: 1,054,844; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 158,227; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,109,440; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 166,416. 

States: Nebraska; 
2005 allocation: Training: 469,538; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 70,431; 
2006 allocation: Training: 480,298; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 72,045. 

States: Nevada; 
2005 allocation: Training: 298,265; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 44,740; 
2006 allocation: Training: 253,525; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 38,029. 

States: New Hampshire; 
2005 allocation: Training: 600,301; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 90,045; 
2006 allocation: Training: 510,256; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 76,538. 

States: New Jersey; 
2005 allocation: Training: 1,545,011; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 231,752; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,698,502; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 254,775. 

States: New Mexico; 
2005 allocation: Training: 444,554; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 66,683; 
2006 allocation: Training: 377,871; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 56,681. 

States: New York; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,496,152; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 374,423; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,642,798; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 396,420. 

States: North Carolina; 
2005 allocation: Training: 8,174,834; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 1,226,225; 
2006 allocation: Training: 9,918,421; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 1,487,763. 

States: North Dakota; 
2005 allocation: Training: 0; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 0; 
2006 allocation: Training: 0; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 0. 

States: Ohio; 
2005 allocation: Training: 4,226,657; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 633,998; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,579,676; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 686,951. 

States: Oklahoma; 
2005 allocation: Training: 1,440,538; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 216,081; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,523,960; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 228,594. 

States: Oregon; 
2005 allocation: Training: 5,116,592; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 767,489; 
2006 allocation: Training: 5,242,514; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 786,377. 

States: Pennsylvania; 
2005 allocation: Training: 17,538,533; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 2,630,779; 
2006 allocation: Training: 14,907,751; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 2,236,165. 

States: Rhode Island; 
2005 allocation: Training: 690,084; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 103,513; 
2006 allocation: Training: 734,856; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 110,228. 

States: South Carolina; 
2005 allocation: Training: 5,137,159; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 770,574; 
2006 allocation: Training: 4,366,585; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 654,988. 

States: South Dakota; 
2005 allocation: Training: 341,148; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 51,172; 
2006 allocation: Training: 371,610; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 55,741. 

States: Tennessee; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,464,473; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 369,671; 
2006 allocation: Training: 2,681,734; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 402,260. 

States: Texas; 
2005 allocation: Training: 10,638,355; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 1,595,753; 
2006 allocation: Training: 11,149,519; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 1,672,428. 

States: Utah; 
2005 allocation: Training: 2,134,549; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 320,182; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,814,367; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 272,155. 

States: Vermont; 
2005 allocation: Training: 287,696; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 43,154; 
2006 allocation: Training: 296,965; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 44,545. 

States: Virginia; 
2005 allocation: Training: 5,222,843; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 783,426; 
2006 allocation: Training: 5,712,451; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 856,868. 

States: Washington; 
2005 allocation: Training: 13,920,774; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 2,088,116; 
2006 allocation: Training: 14,357,300; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 2,153,595. 

States: West Virginia; 
2005 allocation: Training: 770,639; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 115,596; 
2006 allocation: Training: 1,038,332; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 155,750. 

States: Wisconsin; 
2005 allocation: Training: 11,108,427; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 1,666,264; 
2006 allocation: Training: 9,442,163; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 1,416,324. 

States: Wyoming; 
2005 allocation: Training: 0; 
2005 allocation: Administration: 0; 
2006 allocation: Training: 0; 
2006 allocation: Administration: 0. 

States: Total; 
2005 allocation: Training: $165,000,000; 
2005 allocation: Administration: $24,750,000; 
2006 allocation: Training: $165,000,000; 
2006 allocation: Administration: $24,750,000. 

Source: Department of Labor. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Labor: 

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

Mr. Sigurd R. Nilsen: 
Director: 
Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Mr. Nilsen: 

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the draft Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled, "Trade Adjustment 
Assistance: Labor Should Take Action to Ensure Performance Data Are 
Complete, Accurate, and Accessible" (GAO-06-496). The information in 
the report will assist the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in continuing 
our efforts to improve the data quality of the Trade Adjustment 
Assistance (TAA) program. We offer the information in this response to 
outline the actions that have been taken to ensure that performance 
accountability is in place and is an expectation of the program. 

It is important to note that, as discussed in previous responses to 
other recent GAO reports, this report is yet another acknowledgement of 
the problems created by having a workforce investment system that is 
duplicative in its service delivery design, resulting in separate 
recordkeeping and reporting systems. This occurs even though "partner 
One-Stop Career Center programs" may serve the same individual seeking 
access to related services, e.g., Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Trade 
Adjustment Assistance (TAA), and unemployment compensation. In the case 
of TAA-certified workers, those seeking assistance will likely receive 
it from at least three One-Stop partner programs. The issues raised by 
states related to burden and administrative costs are compounded by the 
separate systems and the inability of such systems to efficiently 
interact. 

Historically, since the enactment of the TAA program, its focus has 
been directed at certifying groups of workers whose layoffs were the 
result of foreign trade, and providing training and income support to 
help them achieve their career goals. Over the past several years it 
has become apparent that this program must be integrated into the 
larger workforce investment system. This would increase accountability 
to taxpayers regarding outcomes, and ensure that workers receive 
benefits to which they are entitled. 

While we have taken actions over the past few years to implement 
reporting and performance systems for the TAA program, and we believe 
progress is being made, we have additional work planned. It is 
important to note that until 2001, performance information for the TAA 
program was not even collected. With that said, please find below the 
actions we have taken regarding this issue: 

1. TAA does not contain statutory language requiring the collection of 
data or performance goals; rather, the focus of the Trade Act was on 
providing benefits-income support and training-for workers impacted by 
international trade. However, under the authority of the Government 
Performance and Results Act (GPRA), DOL instituted a reporting system 
for states to record and report training and outcomes on participants 
receiving benefits under TAA (we had no data until 2001), including the 
implementation of the Trade Act Participant Report (TAPR) and 
establishment of national performance goals. 

2. Under the TAPR, we implemented national quarterly wage records as 
the data source for capturing participant outcomes. As a result, 
several states have integrated WIA and TAA systems, including 
reporting, tracking and recordkeeping. We are promoting these models as 
part of peer-to-peer technical assistance. 

3. ETA issued Training and Guidance Letter No. 3-03, "Data Validation 
Policy for Employment and Training Programs," Changes 1 and 3, in 
August 2004 and July 2005, respectively, which implemented the data 
validation system for the TAPR. 

4. A portion of the Secretary of Labor's national reserve funds has 
been used over the past several years to fund National Emergency Grant 
dual enrollment projects designed to provide comprehensive services to 
workers by integrating the two programs, including requiring the same 
performance goals and recordkeeping for TAA and WIA dislocated worker 
programs. 

5. The Dislocated Worker Forums initiated in December 2003 articulated 
new DOL policies that emphasized the importance of integration of 
services for dislocated workers funded under various programs, as well 
as quality data and performance reporting: 

6. The TAA program will be covered under the common measures being 
implemented by DOL this year. Trade program officials were included in 
a recent series of training sessions on reporting under the common 
measures, including sessions devoted exclusively to the TAPR and co- 
enrollment issues as well as data validation. This allowed us to 
address several issues: 1) some states are not reporting TAA 
participants who have received services other than training, 2) when 
TAA participants are counted, and 2) what constitutes a service. 

7. In conjunction with the move to common measures, the TAA program 
implemented a significant revision of the TAPR, beginning in the first 
quarter of Fiscal Year 2006. New instructions, additional edit-checks, 
and significant technical assistance were provided to states to improve 
the quality of TAA reporting. 

8. The Department is in the process of developing a monitoring guide 
solely focused on the Trade Program as an addendum to the ETA Core 
Monitoring Guide. The monitoring guide will be field-tested this year. 
This will be the first time such a guide has been developed for the TAA 
program. 

9. We agree that the use of wage records provides for more of a 
historical perspective on program performance and does not reflect 
recent changes, management reforms or improved performance on a real- 
time basis. 

Thank you again for the information provided in the report. If you 
would like additional information, please don't hesitate to call me at 
(202) 693-2700. 

Signed by: 

Emily Stover DeRocco: 

[End of section] 

Appendix V: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Sigurd R. Nilsen, Director (202) 512-7215: 

Acknowledgments: 

Dianne Blank, Assistant Director: 

Kathy Peyman, Analyst-in-Charge: 

In addition, the following staff made major contributions to this 
report: Vidhya Ananthakrishnan, Melinda Cordero, Laura Heald, Adam 
Roye, and Leslie Sarapu served as team members; Amanda Miller and 
Carolyn Boyce advised on design and methodology issues; Rachael 
Valliere advised on report preparation; Jessica Botsford advised on 
legal issues; Lise Levie verified our findings. 

[End of section] 

GAO Related Products: 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Most Workers in Five Layoffs Received 
Services, but Better Outreach Needed on New Benefits. GAO-06-43. 
Washington, D.C.: January 31, 2006. 

Workforce Investment Act: Labor and States Have Taken Actions to 
Improve Data Quality, but Additional Steps Are Needed. GAO-06-82. 
Washington, D.C.: November 14, 2005. 

Workforce Investment Act: Substantial Funds Are Used for Training, but 
Little Is Known Nationally about Training Outcomes. GAO-05-650. 
Washington, D.C.: June 29, 2005. 

Unemployment Insurance: Better Data Needed to Assess Reemployment 
Services to Claimants. GAO-05-413. Washington, D.C.: June 24, 2005. 

Workforce Investment Act: Labor Should Consider Alternative Approaches 
to Implement New Performance and Reporting Requirements. GAO-05-539. 
Washington, D.C.: May 27, 2005. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Reforms Have Accelerated Training 
Enrollment, but Implementation Challenges Remain. GAO-04-1012. 
Washington, D.C.: September 22, 2004. 

Workforce Investment Act: States and Local Areas Have Developed 
Strategies to Assess Performance, but Labor Could Do More to Help. GAO- 
04-657. Washington, D.C.: June 1, 2004. 

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. Washington, D.C.: April 16, 2004. 

Workforce Investment Act: Improvements Needed in Performance Measures 
to Provide a More Accurate Picture of WIA's Effectiveness. GAO-02-275. 
Washington, D.C.: February 1, 2002. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Experiences of Six Trade-Impacted 
Communities. GAO-01-838. Washington, D.C.: August 24, 2001. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Trends, Outcomes, and Management Issues in 
Dislocated Worker Programs. GAO-01-59. Washington, D.C.: October 13, 
2000. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Delaware, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming were not included in 
our survey because they were not allocated TAA funds in fiscal year 
2005. 

[2] Not all workers covered by an approved TAA petition are 
individually eligible for TAA benefits and services. Individual 
eligibility also depends on factors including the timing and duration 
of a worker's layoff. In this report, when referring to workers 
eligible for the TAA program, we generally mean workers who have been 
certified as potentially eligible for the program. 

[3] For more information on the earlier TAA programs see GAO, Trade 
Adjustment Assistance: Trends, Outcomes, and Management Issues in 
Dislocated Worker Programs, GAO-01-59 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 13, 
2000); GAO, Trade Adjustment Assistance: Experiences of Six Trade- 
Impacted Communities, GAO-01-838 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 24, 2001). 

[4] Extended income support payments may be reduced based on other 
income and training allowances. 

[5] The four other reasons listed in the TAA statute are (1) worker 
will be recalled by former employer, (2) worker is within 2 years of 
retirement, (3) worker is unable to participate in training because of 
health problems, and (4) approved training is either not available or 
not available at a reasonable cost, or no training funds are available. 

[6] State officials generally have responsibility for approving 
training and determining eligibility for extended income support, while 
local one-stop centers are the main point of intake and actual delivery 
of TAA services and benefits. 

[7] Unlike other federally funded employment and training programs that 
operate on a program year basis, the TAA program operates on a federal 
fiscal year basis, that is, fiscal year 2004 ran from October 1, 2003, 
to September 30, 2004. 

[8] To cover the cost of administration, states also receive an 
additional 15 percent of any additional funding they receive from the 
reserved training funds or the job search/relocation allowances. 

[9] See GAO, Workforce Investment Act: Labor Should Consider 
Alternative Approaches to Implement New Performance and Reporting 
Requirements, GAO-05-539 (Washington, D.C.: May 27, 2005). 

[10] Labor distinguishes between UI benefits and TRA benefits in 
determining exit because TRA benefits are tied to continuous 
participation in skills training or having a waiver of that 
requirement. 

[11] Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Office of the Budget and 
Comptroller Operations, Single Audit Report for Fiscal Year Ended June 
30, 2003 (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Aug. 31, 2005). 

[12] GAO, Trade Adjustment Assistance: Most Workers in Five Layoffs 
Received Services, but Better Outreach Needed on New Benefits, GAO-06-
43 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 31, 2006). For this study, potentially 
eligible participants are defined as all workers covered under the 
certification, whether or not they enrolled in the TAA program. 

[13] Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor, GPRA Data 
Validation Review: Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, (Department of 
Labor Office of Audit Report Number 22-05-007-03-330, Sept. 15, 2005). 

[14] According to an official involved in the operation of WRIS, all 
states except Hawaii currently provide UI wage data to WRIS. 

[15] GAO, Workforce Investment Act: States and Local Areas Have 
Developed Strategies to Assess Performance, but Labor Could Do More to 
Help, GAO-04-657 (Washington, D.C.: June 1, 2004). 

[16] See GAO-06-43. 

[17] Labor's Web site for TAA statistics can be found at 
http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/taa_stats.cfm. 

[18] GAO-04-657. 

[19] See GAO, Managing for Results: Enhancing Agency Use of Performance 
Information for Management Decision Making, GAO-05-927 (Washington, 
D.C.: Sept. 9, 2005), and GAO, Program Evaluation: An Evaluation 
Culture and Collaborative Partnerships Help Build Agency Capacity, GAO-
03-454 (Washington, D.C.: May 2, 2003). 

[20] The WIA Dislocated Worker program serves dislocated workers in 
general and is not reserved for those affected by international trade. 
States and local areas are required to monitor the outcomes of WIA 
Dislocated Worker program participants on measures including job 
placement, job retention, and earnings change. 

[21] GAO-05-539. 

[22] Delaware, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming were not included in 
our survey because they were not allocated TAA funds in fiscal year 
2005. 

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