Veterans' Employment and Training Service:

Greater Flexibility and Accountability Needed to Better Serve Veterans

GAO-02-192T: Published: Oct 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2001.

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The Department of Labor's (DOL) Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) and Local Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER) program allow states to hire staff members to serve veterans exclusively. The two programs are mandatory partners in the new one-stop center system created in 1998 by the Workforce Investment Act, which requires that services provided by numerous employment and training programs be made available through one-stop centers. The act also gives states the flexibility to design services tailored to local workforce needs. Although the DVOP and LVER programs must operate within the one-stop system, the act does not govern the programs--and the law that governs them does not provide the same flexibility that the act does. Because Congress sees employment service for veterans as a national responsibility, it established the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) to ensure that veterans, particularly disabled veterans and Vietnam-era veterans, receive priority employment and training opportunities. To make better use of DVOP and LVER staff services, VETS needs the legislative authority to grant each state more flexibility to design how this staff will fit into the one-stop center system. VETS also needs to be able to hold states accountable for achieving agreed upon goals. Veterans receive priority employment service at one-stop centers as required under the law, but the effectiveness of the services, as indicated by the resulting employment, cannot be determined because VETS does not require states to collect sufficient data to measure outcomes. VETS does not adequately oversee the DVOP and LVER program grants because it does not have a comprehensive system in place to manage state performance in serving veterans. VETS has not adequately adapted the DVOP and LVER programs to the new one-stop environment and determined how best to fit them into the one-stop system.

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