Job Training Partnership Act:

Racial and Gender Disparities in Services

HRD-91-148: Published: Sep 20, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent and possible causes of disparities in the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program, focusing on: (1) the extent to which disparities occur in the services provided to women and minorities; (2) factors within local project operations that contribute to such disparities; and (3) efforts by states and the Department of Labor (DOL) to monitor the services provided to various demographic groups.

GAO found: (1) in 20 percent of the service delivery areas (SDA) analyzed, white participants were more likely than minorities to receive classroom training, in 13 percent of SDA, white participants were more likely to receive on-the-job training, and in 18 percent of SDA, minorities were more likely to receive only job search assistance; (2) such disparities affected black participants more than Hispanic participants or other ethnic groups; (3) women received classroom training more often than men, and in some SDA, women were less likely to get training for jobs with higher placement wages; (4) the factors that appear to contribute to disparities include self-selection by participants, financial incentives in performance-based contracts, the lack of an independent and comprehensive participant assessment process, the lack of support services for some women and minorities, and the discriminatory actions of some employers and the acquiescence of some staff; (5) state and DOL monitoring activities are inadequate to identify and address disparities in the services provided to minorities and women; and (6) DOL has identified several disparities, but has not determined whether any civil rights violations have occurred.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Amendments to JTPA (P.L. 102-387), enacted in 1992, adopted this recommendation.

    Matter: To provide clear authority and to ensure that DOL exercises that authority, Congress should amend JPTA to require that participants be independently assessed and receive career counseling before they are referred to providers for specific services.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Amendments to JTPA (P.L. 102-387), enacted in 1992, did not adopt this recommendation, and it is unlikely that Congress will take further action on this recommendation in the foreseeable future.

    Matter: To provide clear authority and to ensure that DOL exercises that authority, Congress should amend JTPA to require DOL to encourage SDA to use incentives for contractors to provide training that involves higher costs and risks, such as training for women in nontraditional jobs.

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Labor has issued regulations that will require the collection of data on individual participants that will provide a basis for identifying service disparities.

    Matter: To provide clear authority and to ensure that DOL exercises that authority, Congress should amend JTPA to require that adequate data be collected by DOL to enable it to identify service disparities.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Amendments to JTPA (P.L. 102-387), enacted in 1992, did not adopt this recommendation, and it is unlikely that Congress will take further action on the recommendation in the foreseeable future.

    Matter: To provide clear authority and to ensure DOL exercises that authority, Congress should amend JTPA to require that DOL promptly investigate disparities that might represent violations of civil rights, make violation or nonviolation findings promptly, and take immediate steps to enforce appropriate civil rights laws when violations are found.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Labor implemented JTPA-specific regulations on January 15, 1993, that provide clarification, codification, and consolidation of responsibilities and procedures applicable to the enforcement of the non-discrimination and equal opportunities provisions of JTPA.

    Recommendation: DOL should ensure that states, SDA, and JTPA contractors understand that it is a violation of federal law for federal funds to be used in a discriminatory manner.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

 

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