Equal Opportunity:

Need To Ensure Nondiscrimination in CETA Programs

HRD-80-75: Published: Jun 17, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 1980.


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The Department of Labor has not been able to determine whether Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) programs equitably serve all segments of the population. The act requires that prime sponsors, State and local governments operating CETA programs, provide CETA services free of discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, or political affiliation or belief.

GAO found that 11 prime sponsors visited generally did not adequately serve women, the handicapped, elderly persons, and some minorities, especially in on-the-job training and public service employment. Neither the Labor Department nor the prime sponsors have collected adequate data to determine whether CETA is equitably serving all segments of the population. Labor has developed a new reporting system, but the system is still inadequate. Both Labor and the prime sponsors lack the staff to sufficiently monitor equal opportunity activities. The type of jobs funded directly affected the participation of women or the handicapped. Prime sponsors generally funded positions that were traditionally filled by males. Many jobs funded under the public service employment program were in the professional or laborer categories, thus few women or the handicapped participated. The underrepresentation of employees from certain minorities in the prime sponsors' management may have contributed to the limited participation of enrollees from these minorities in the programs. Although Labor requires the prime sponsors' management to be representative of the population of the area, there is no compulsory reporting system . Labor has taken some steps, such as implementing a new equal opportunity reporting system and issuing new CETA regulations, to improve the enforcement of nondiscrimination requirements; however, there are still equal opportunity problems that need to be corrected.

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 direct the Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration to: (1) establish an improved reporting system by which prime sponsors periodically provide to Labor the race, sex, etc., characteristics of eligible applicants for CETA services, participants in programs, such as on-the-job training, and sponsors' staffs by position. (2) reemphasize that Labor's field representatives should include equal opportunity monitoring in their onsite reviews; (3) require prime sponsors to develop a more effective monitoring system of subgrantees' and contractors' equal opportunity programs by increasing their onsite monitoring and conducting special reviews when problems are noted; (4) reemphasize that prime sponsors should consider the race, sex, etc. characteristics of the unemployed population when designing and developing their on-the-job training and public service employment programs to allow all segments the opportunity to improve their skills; (5) encourage prime sponsors to fill available management positions with women, minorities, older workers, and the handicapped, if these segments are underrepresented in the sponsor's management staff; and (6) take action to comply with the Department of Justice's title VI regulations.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

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

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