Questionable Need for Some Department of Labor Training Programs

HRD-78-4: Published: Apr 10, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 1978.


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Under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of 1973, the Department of Labor funds programs to provide job training and employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged, unemployed, and underemployed persons. The Apprenticeship Outreach Program (AOP) was designed to recruit, counsel, tutor, and refer primarily minority youths to apprenticeship positions in construction trades. The National On-the-Job training (OJT) program's primary objective is to provide training to unemployed, underemployed, and economically disadvantaged persons for jobs in skilled occupational shortage areas, many of which are construction related.

Conditions which existed when the Department of Labor began the apprenticeship program have substantially changed. Employment opportunities in the construction industry have declined, causing a change in placement emphasis to general jobs. This policy shift underlined the question of the continued need for AOP. The results of several construction related OJT projects during 1975 and 1976 demonstrated placement and operational problems. In many cases, program participants were not receiving adequate training, nor were they aware of any OJT to be obtained. Subcontractors have been using program funds instead of their own funds to support their regular apprenticeship systems. Some national contractors have used about one-third of the funds to pay for headquarters and regional administrative operations. Insufficient oversight and evaluation by the Department of Labor contributed to the problems of these programs.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should eliminate the AOP in favor of less costly alternatives. If the program is continued, performance criteria should be established that: (1) include minimum requirements on the service level necessary to merit a placement claim; (2) include minimum requirements for job suitability and job length necessary to warrant placement credit; and (3) eliminate placement credit for referral to other programs and jobs with a large minority representation. The Secretary should reevaluate the need for the OJT program and terminate contracts that are not achieving program objectives. He should: (1) concentrate funding in trades having skilled worker shortages and low minority representatives; (2) require that adequate job training be provided; (3) implement guidelines which prohibit OJT funds from subsidizing apprenticeship programs; and (4) reduce program administration costs.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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