Federal Job Training:

A Comparison of Public and Private Sector Performance

IPE-83-5: Published: May 9, 1983. Publicly Released: May 9, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO compared the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) Private Sector Initiative Program (PSIP), instituted in 1978, with the traditional approach to employment and training programs. GAO particularly examined the functioning of the Private Industry Councils (PIC's) under CETA.

GAO found that business representatives comprised 60 percent of the PIC membership, with top-level managers holding one-third of the positions. The average PIC consisted of a greater proportion of personnel from large manufacturing firms than from any other business category. On the whole, the PIC's which GAO visited experienced close to a 50-percent turnover rate in 2 to 3 years of operation. One-fifth of the business member companies were CETA training subcontractors. PIC's marketed CETA to the private sector and assessed the training needs of local businesses, but were less involved in monitoring or administrating the programs. GAO found that the PSIP placed a larger proportion of participants in historically more successful training modes than the traditional programs, which may have contributed to those participants' entering employment at a higher rate. However, the PSIP also served a less disadvantaged clientele than the CETA title IIB program which may have contributed to the higher success rate. Title IIB did outperform PSIP with regard to other positive outcomes. Whenever the positive outcomes were considered as a whole, the performance difference was negligible. Because the GAO findings were based on short-term statistics, they may not indicate long-term increases in earnings. In addition, GAO found that the entered-employment rate may be a poor measure for the evaluation of programs serving participants who are in school.

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