Workforce Investment Act:
Employers Are Aware of, Using, and Satisfied with One-Stop Services, but More Data Could Help Labor Better Address Employers' Needs
GAO-05-259: Published: Feb 18, 2005. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2005.
The economy of the United States is fueled by 8 million private sector businesses that employ 106 million of the nation's 137 million workers. Employers are seeking better ways to meet their workforce needs as they compete in the global economy. This report examines (1) the extent to which employers, including small businesses, are aware of and using the one-stop system; (2) the degree to which employers who use one-stop services report satisfaction and what factors cause employers not to use them; and (3) what Labor has done to support employer awareness and use of the workforce system and how Labor measures its success in meeting the needs of employers.
While about half of all employers are aware of their local one-stops, awareness increases with employer size, with about half of small, two-thirds of medium, and three-quarters of large employers knowing about their local one-stops. Similarly, of all employers aware of the one-stops, about three-quarters of large employers are likely to use one-stop services, while approximately one-half of medium and one-quarter of small employers are likely to do so. Employers of all sizes primarily use one-stop services to help fill job vacancies. Overall, about three-quarters of employers who use one-stop services are satisfied with the services they receive. These employers are most satisfied with one-stop efforts to provide timely services and respond to their needs. In addition, most employers who have used one-stop services would likely use them again, and about one-third of employers who are aware of one-stop services, but have not used them, would consider using them in the future. Among employers who are aware of one-stop services, very few decline to use them because of concerns about the quality of services. Instead, many of these employers choose not to use one-stops because they rely on other resources to hire and train workers or do not have enough information about the services one-stops offer. Labor has initiatives to support employer awareness and use of the one-stop system but does not know the extent to which employers use the system. Labor has developed partnerships with businesses and industry to provide employers easier access to the resources of the one-stop system. To measure how the one-stop system is meeting the needs of employers, Labor requires states to collect information on employer satisfaction with the one-stop system, but not on employer use of the system. Labor's employer satisfaction measure provides a high-level indicator of whether employers are satisfied with the one-stop services they receive; it does not, however, provide enough information on the services employers use to help Labor manage its resources.
Recommendation for Executive Action
Status: Closed - Not Implemented
Comments: The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) had proposed an individual record of employers served by the workforce system be included in its ETA Management Information and Longitudinal Evaluation (EMILE) reporting system. ETA revised its proposed system, called the Workforce Investment Streamlined Performance Reporting System (WISPR), and planned implementation for July 2009. However, Labor reported that WISPR was suspended because of the challenges imposed on the workforce system by the economic downturn, and the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the need to inform new Departmental leadership, and budgetary constraints associated with projected costs of information technology infrastructure. Further, ETA is reassessing its approach to performance reporting in light of the amendments to the Trade Act of 1974 enacted by the Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act of 2009 and the impending reauthorization of WIA.
Recommendation: To ensure that Labor has a better understanding of the degree to which the publicly funded workforce system meets employers' needs, the Secretary of Labor should require states to collect and report on employer use of the one-stop system in addition to continuing to collect general employer satisfaction information.
Agency Affected: Department of Labor