Veterans' Employment and Training:

Services Provided by Labor Department Programs

HEHS-98-7: Published: Oct 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the use of two grant funds, the Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) and the Local Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER), administered by the Department of Labor Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), focusing on: (1) national funding trends for DVOP and LVER staff and how funds are allocated to the states; (2) how state performance is measured; (3) position requirements for DVOP and LVER staff and characteristics of DVOP and LVER staff; and (4) how DVOP and LVER staff spend their time and integrate their services with other veterans' employment service programs, such as the Vocational Rehabilitation and Counseling Program (VR&C) and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for separating service members.

GAO noted that: (1) over a 10-year period, the appropriations for VETS, when adjusted for inflation, have declined by 11 percent; (2) since 1990, appropriations for the DVOP and LVER grants have not supported the number of positions authorized by the statutory funding formulas; (3) states receive their DVOP and LVER grant funding from VETS through multiyear grants, and funding is estimated by figuring the amount required to support the number of statutorily determined staff positions; (4) in allocating DVOP positions to states, the statutory formula provides one DVOP specialist for each 6,900 veterans in a state who are either Vietnam-era, post-Vietnam era, or disabled veterans; (5) the statutory LVER funding provides for a total of 1,600 full-time LVER staff, and allocation is primarily based on the number of LVER staff as of January 1, 1987, in each state; (6) when appropriations are not sufficient to support the number of positions authorized, VETS reduces each state's allocation proportionately; (7) VETS' performance measures for states' DVOP and LVER staffing grants focus more on process than results and require states to provide a higher level of service to veterans than nonveterans rather than establish goals for absolute levels of performance; (8) VETS is working to develop new performance measures under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 that will put greater emphasis on results, in addition to comparing services provided to veterans and nonveterans; (9) VETS is uncertain whether it will establish absolute levels for its performance measures; (10) federal law prescribes eligibility requirements for appointing LVER staff and DVOP specialists based on veteran status; (11) 95 percent of DVOP specialists and 62 percent of LVER staff were disabled veterans; (12) beyond veteran status, DVOP and LVER staff qualifications, including educational requirements, differ according to each state's civil service system requirement; (13) the law prescribes various duties for DVOP and LVER staff to provide veterans with job search plans and referrals and job training opportunities; (14) the duties both DVOP and LVER staff spent the most time on were job search and referral and intake and assessment; and (15) DVOP and LVER staff reported that they would like to spend more time performing job search and referral as well as employer outreach and individual case management.

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