Moving Participants From Public Service Employment Programs into Unsubsidized Jobs Needs More Attention

HRD-79-101: Published: Oct 12, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 1979.

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The public service employment (PSE) programs, funded by the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of 1973, are the largest federally financed employment and training programs. They are administered at the federal level by the Department of Labor and at the local level by state or local governments, which are the prime sponsors. Each prime sponsor is assigned a Labor staff member, called the federal representative, whose responsibilities include monitoring the sponsor's CETA programs and providing technical assistance to the sponsor. About $12 billion was spent for public service employment programs during fiscal years 1975 through 1978. A review was made of five prime sponsors' programs to move PSE participants into unsubsidized jobs. These sponsors, located in Connecticut, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington, spent about $116 million during fiscal year 1978.

During fiscal year 1978, about 575,000 persons left the PSE programs. Statistics reported to Labor show that about 35 percent of them were classified as having unsubsidized jobs when they left the programs. The review showed that CETA programs have had limited success in moving participants from public service employment jobs into unsubsidized employment. Many persons stay in the programs for a long time. The 1978 amendments to the act provide a better framework for moving participants into unsubsidized jobs, but more improvements are needed. Labor needs to take a stronger and more active oversight role to ensure that state and local governments effectively carry out transition efforts.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should ensure that all prime sponsors plan and carry out systematic approaches to move public service job holders into unsubsidized jobs. The Secretary should take the following actions: (1) revise instructions for completing grant applications to require prime sponsors to address important aspects of transition that are not now covered; (2) approve only grant applications that adequately describe effective transition systems; (3) ensure that employability plans are developed for participants; (4) ensure that prime sponsors have developed placement methods and services that adequately consider private sector job opportunities as well as opportunities in the public sector; (5) issue guidance on methods for determining when participants should be moved into unsubsidized employment; (6) establish an effective monitoring effort aimed at ensuring that prime sponsors fully implement both the transition provisions set forth in their grant applications and other transition requirements established by Labor; and (7) assess the adequacy of prime sponsors' systems for collecting transition performance data, and take corrective action necessary to ensure that public service employment programs can be managed and evaluated on the basis of reliable and consistent information.

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