The Job Training Partnership Act:

An Analysis of Support Cost Limits and Participant Characteristics

HRD-86-16: Published: Nov 6, 1985. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the impact of the Job Training Partnership Act's (JTPA) participant support cost limitations on the quality of training to determine: (1) the differences in the characteristics of participants; (2) how many service delivery areas requested and received waivers on support cost limitations; (3) the number of service delivery areas providing needs-based payments and the type of support services offered; and (4) the differences in the type and length of training provided.

Under both the JTPA and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) that it replaced, program participants are provided with support services to enable them to participate in training which the states administer through service delivery areas. However, where CETA required cash payments to participants, under JTPA, administrators can opt to provide needs-based payments. Service delivery areas can obtain waivers to exceed the 30-percent limitation under certain conditions. GAO found that: (1) although some changes occurred in the type of individual served, it appears that the limitation on support costs was not the primary factor; (2) the act serves a higher percentage of better educated than before; (3) participants generally receive less financial support and more vocational training; (4) service delivery areas generally received the waivers on the limitations they requested although few requested them; and (5) most of the participants spent less than the minimum allowed for support. Of the service delivery areas, 95 percent provided some type of assistance to participants, most commonly transportation and child care. GAO found that some service area officials believed that JTPA participants were less economically disadvantaged, but that some training programs were shorter than they should have been and others could not be offered due to the limitations. GAO believes that any changes that occurred may have been due to area program implementation rather than to the legislatively imposed limitation.

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