VA Can Provide More Employment Assistance to Veterans Who Complete Its Vocational Rehabilitation Program

HRD-84-39: Published: May 23, 1984. Publicly Released: May 23, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Federal programs providing employment and training services to veterans and identified areas warranting additional work.

GAO found that, in the eight regions reviewed, 208 veterans completed vocational rehabilitation training in a 3-month period in 1982. In another study period, VA reported that about 49 percent of the veterans were employed and 23 percent were unemployed. Of those employed, 74 percent were working in fields related to their training. While all eight offices provided indirect employment services, seven did not provide required direct placement services to those who encountered difficulties. In some cases, the regional offices did not prepare required individualized employment assistance plans (IEAP's). Fifty-five percent of those with IEAP's were employed, whereas 38 percent without IEAP's were employed. In addition, GAO found that regional offices had not adequately performed required preemployment followup which hindered the regions' ability to identify veterans who needed further assistance. VA central office onsite reviews of regional program operations at two of the regional offices did not address employment assistance and followup services. GAO noted that deficiencies in the VA management information system still exist. Factors that have contributed to the limited provision of employment services include: (1) low priority for employment services at some regional offices; (2) inadequate staff resources and training; (3) lack of comprehensive onsite reviews; and (4) lack of sufficient and reliable data to identify potential employment problems. GAO concluded that the VA regions should improve the extent to which they provide employment assistance and followup services.

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