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Report to Congressional Requesters:

United States General Accounting Office:

GAO:

April 2004:

NATIONAL EMERGENCY GRANTS:

Labor Is Instituting Changes to Improve Award Process, but Further 
Actions Are Required to Expedite Grant Awards and Improve Data:

GAO-04-496:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-04-496, a report to Congressional Requesters 

Why GAO Did This Study:

The Department of Labor (Labor) awards national emergency grants to 
states and local areas to provide employment and training assistance to 
workers whose jobs were lost because of major economic dislocations or 
disrupted by major disasters. Most grants awarded are regular grants to 
assist workers affected by plant closings or mass layoffs. However, 
questions have been raised about whether grant funds are getting to 
states and local areas quickly enough. GAO was asked to assess the 
effectiveness of the process for awarding national emergency grants, 
whether Labor is planning changes that will improve the grant award 
process, and what is known about how grant funds are used. 

What GAO Found:

Labor does not award most national emergency grants in a timely manner, 
and as a result, services to workers have been delayed, interrupted, or 
denied. Laborís goal is to make award decisions within 30 calendar days 
of receiving an application. However, nearly 90 percent of regular 
grants took longer than 30 days to award. On average, Labor took 92 
days to award regular grants. For grants disbursed in more than one 
payment, Labor took on average 83 days to award the additional 
increments. Twenty-five of 38 states responding to our survey reported 
that because of delays in receiving regular grant funds, local areas 
had to delay or deny services to workers.

Labor is taking some steps, such as implementing an electronic system 
to better manage its award process and incorporating its 30-day goal in 
new guidelines, that may improve the timeliness of grant awards. 
However, some weaknesses still remain in Laborís planned changes that 
could prevent Labor from accurately assessing how long it takes to make 
grant awards and incremental payments. For example, Labor plans to stop 
counting the days elapsed if it finds major problems with an 
application and Laborís proposed guidelines do not establish a 
timeliness goal for incremental payments.

Little is known on a national level about how national emergency grant 
funds are used because of weaknesses in two primary data sources. 
Because of the lack of clear guidance, states report inconsistent data 
in progress reports and some states have not reported data on national 
emergency grants to a national database covering Workforce Investment 
Act (WIA) programs. To address these problems, Labor is implementing a 
standardized electronic form for grantees to submit progress reports, 
issued guidance requiring states to submit data on national emergency 
grant participants to the national WIA database, and checked statesí 
latest submissions to identify if data were missing. However, Laborís 
guidance still is not sufficiently clear to ensure that states will 
report data in progress reports consistently and Labor does not have 
specific plans to continue checking statesí data submissions to ensure 
that data are complete.

Percentage of Regular Grants Awarded during Program Years 2000-2002 
within Specified Time Frames: 

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

What GAO Recommends:

We are recommending that Labor set goals for awarding grants and 
incremental payments that include the entire award process, and track
how long it takes for all steps of the process. Finally, Labor should
clarify guidance to states on submitting national emergency grant data 
in progress reports and ensure that grantees submit data to the 
national participant database.

In its comments, Labor disagreed with our conclusions and methodology. 
We conducted a complete review of Laborís grant award process for a 
3-year period, surveyed states, and assessed current and proposed 
policies to reach our conclusions. While Labor is making changes to the 
grant award process, we identified additional actions needed.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-04-496.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Sigurd Nilsen at (202) 
512-7215 or nilsens@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Contents:

Letter:

Results in Brief:

Background:

Delays in Grant Awards Hampered Services to Dislocated Workers:

Labor Has Taken Steps to Improve the Grant Award Process, but 
Additional Actions are Needed:

Little Is Known about How Grant Funds Are Used because of Weaknesses in 
Data Collection:

Conclusions:

Recommendations for Executive Action:

Agency Comments:

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

Appendix II: Summary of Funds Awarded for Regular, Disaster, and Dual 
Enrollment Grants for Program Years 2000-2002:

Appendix III: Average Number of Days Regular Grants Were Awarded by 
State:

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Labor:

Appendix V: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

Staff Acknowledgments:

Related GAO Products:

Tables:

Table 1: Average Time to Award Grants by Quarter in Which Application 
Was Received during Program Years 2000-2002:

Table 2: Information Contained in Progress Reports from 13 States:

Table 3: Comparison of State's PY2001 WIASRD National Emergency Grant 
Participant Records with Grants Received in PY2000:

Table 4: Number of National Emergency Grants Awarded and Used in GAO 
Analysis:

Table 5: Listing of 39 States Surveyed That Were Awarded a Regular 
National Emergency Grant during Program Years 2000 through 2002:

Figures:

Figure 1: Funding Reserved from the Dislocated Worker Allotment for the 
Secretary of Labor:

Figure 2: Distribution of National Emergency Grant Funds for Regular, 
Disaster, and Dual Enrollment Grants from July 1, 2000, to June 30, 
2003:

Figure 3: Percentage of Grants Awarded and Funds Awarded for Program 
Years 2000-2002 by Type of Grant:

Figure 4: Difference between How GAO and Labor Track the Grant Award 
Process:

Figure 5: Percentage of Regular Grants Awarded during Program Years 
2000-2002 within Specified Time Frames:

Figure 6: Percentage of Regular Grant Applications and Awards by 
Quarter during Program Years 2000-2002:

Figure 7: Percentage of Regular Grant Applications and Awards by Month 
during Program Years 2000-2002:

Figure 8: Percentage of Regular Grant Incremental Payments Awarded 
within Specified Time Frames:

Figure 9: Average Number of Days to Award Regular Grants to States with 
at Least Five Grants during Program Years 2000-2002:

Figure 10: New Process for Awarding National Emergency Grants and 
Number of Days Allowed in Each Step:

Abbreviations:

JTPA: Job Training Partnership Act: 
OIG: Department of Labor Office of Inspector General: 
WIA: Workforce Investment Act 
WIASRD: Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record Data:

United States General Accounting Office:

Washington, DC 20548:

April 30, 2004:

The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Patty Murray: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training: 
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: 
United States Senate:

Between 2000 and 2002, almost 60,000 mass layoffs of 50 or more workers 
occurred resulting in nearly 7 million workers losing their jobs. The 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 authorizes the Department of 
Labor (Labor) to award national emergency grants to states and local 
areas to provide employment and training assistance to workers whose 
jobs were lost because of major economic dislocations, such as plant 
closures, or by major disasters, such as floods and hurricanes. 
Grantees, typically the state or local agency responsible for 
administering WIA, apply for national emergency grants when their 
dislocated worker formula funds are insufficient to assist the affected 
workers. Between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003, Labor awarded about 
$600 million in national emergency grants. The majority of these funds 
were used for grants to provide assistance, called regular grants, to 
workers who lost their jobs because of layoffs or plant closures. 
National emergency grants can be funded in whole or in increments. For 
grants that are funded incrementally, grantees are required to submit 
supplemental information to request additional payments. Although 
national emergency grants are intended to be a timely response to 
unexpected events, questions arose during congressional hearings in 
April 2003 about whether national emergency grant funds were getting to 
states and local areas quickly enough to help workers when they needed 
them the most.

In November 2003, we reported that services to dislocated workers were 
being affected because of delays in Labor's awarding of national 
emergency grants.[Footnote 1] We also found that Labor was initiating 
actions to improve the grant award process. Because of your continued 
interest in Labor's process for awarding national emergency grants, you 
asked us to determine (1) the effectiveness of the overall process for 
awarding national emergency grant funds, (2) whether the changes being 
implemented by Labor will improve the grant award process, and (3) what 
is known about how grant funds are being used. To respond to these 
questions, we interviewed Labor officials at both headquarters and 
regional offices, reviewed Labor files for all grants awarded during 
program years 2000 through 2002, and surveyed officials in the 39 
states that had received at least one regular national emergency grant 
during that period.[Footnote 2] We received responses from 38 states. 
We also reviewed Labor's two data sources that contain information on 
use of national emergency grants. We conducted our work from March 2003 
to March 2004 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards (see app. I for a detailed discussion of our scope and 
methodology).

Results in Brief:

Labor's grant process is not as effective as it could be because most 
grants are not awarded in a timely manner, and as a result, services to 
workers have been delayed, interrupted, or denied. Labor's goal is to 
make award decisions about national emergency grants within 30 calendar 
days of receiving a complete application. However, nearly 90 percent of 
the regular grants took longer than 30 days to award. On average, Labor 
took 92 days, from the receipt of the application, to send award 
letters for regular grants. The amount of time it took for grant awards 
was also tied to the time of year: Labor awarded 60 percent of the 
regular grants during the last 3 months of their program year, and most 
of these were made in the final month. In addition, for regular grants 
disbursed in more than one payment, it took an average of 83 days from 
the time additional funds were requested to the time the incremental 
payment was made. Because of the lag in grant awards, some problems 
arose in providing services. Twenty-five of the 38 states responding to 
our survey reported that local areas had to deny or delay services to 
laid-off workers because of delays in receiving funds. For example, 
delays in receiving funds caused a local area in Nevada to cancel 
training for over 300 workers, and a local area in Massachusetts to 
place workers on waiting lists for 3 to 4 months before receiving 
training.

Labor is taking steps that may improve the timeliness with which grants 
are awarded, but additional actions are needed to better manage the 
grant award process. Labor plans to implement an electronic system by 
July 1, 2004, that will enable states to apply for grants online and 
will automatically check applications for missing or inconsistent 
information. The electronic system is also designed to help Labor 
manage its grant award process by automatically assigning applications 
to staff for review and tracking the date they complete their review. 
In addition, in guidance issued in January 2004, Labor clarified its 
application requirements. Finally, Labor plans to issue guidelines that 
document a goal of making award decisions within 30 business days. 
However, some weaknesses still remain in Labor's planned changes that 
could prevent Labor from accurately assessing how long it takes to make 
grant awards and incremental payments. In assessing its progress toward 
meeting its timeliness goal, Labor plans to stop counting the days 
elapsed toward its 30-day goal if it finds problems with an 
application. In addition, Labor's timeliness goal only includes the 
days up to an award decision, leaving the agency unable to determine if 
delays occur in steps of the process leading up to issuance of the 
award letter. Furthermore, the proposed guidelines do not specify a 
goal for how long Labor should take to make incremental payments.

Little is known on a national level about how national emergency grant 
funds are used because of weaknesses in two primary data sources, and 
although Labor is taking some steps to improve the data collected, 
these steps may not go far enough to ensure the data's reliability. 
Largely because of a lack of clear guidance, data in national emergency 
grant progress reports that states are required to submit to Labor are 
inconsistent, and data in a national participant database covering 
Workforce Investment Act programs are incomplete and unverified. Labor 
has not issued guidance under the Workforce Investment Act on 
submitting national emergency grant progress reports, and as a result, 
not all states reported the same data elements. For example, five 
states from which we received sample reports included the number of 
participants enrolled in intensive services, such as case management, 
while eight did not. Regarding Labor's national participant database, 
the guidance has not been clear about whether states are required to 
submit data on national emergency grants, and Labor has not ensured the 
completeness and accuracy of data that are submitted. To address these 
weaknesses, Labor is making several improvements to the data sources. 
To improve the consistency of progress reports, Labor is planning to 
implement by July 1, 2004, a standardized electronic form on which 
states will be required to submit their reports. However, Labor has not 
issued detailed guidance to ensure that states will interpret data 
elements, such as the number of participants who have entered 
employment, consistently. To improve the national participant database, 
Labor is planning to implement a data validation program to ensure the 
accuracy of state-reported data on national emergency grant 
participants, has issued guidance to clarify the requirement that 
national emergency grant data must be submitted, and checked states' 
latest submissions to identify whether their data on national emergency 
grants were complete. However, Labor does not currently have specific 
plans to continue checking states' submissions to ensure completeness 
of the data.

In order to better manage the national emergency grant award process, 
we are recommending that Labor set goals for awarding grants, as well 
as for providing incremental payments, that include the entire process 
from when a grant application is received to the time that the grant 
award is issued. In addition, we are recommending that Labor 
continuously track how long it takes for all components of the grant 
award process. Finally, to ensure that reported information on national 
emergency grants is reliable, we are recommending that Labor clarify 
guidance to states on submitting national emergency grant data in 
progress reports and ensure that grantees submit data to the national 
participant database. In its comments, Labor took issue with the 
report's methodology, said it believes that the report makes assertions 
not supported by empirical evidence, and disagreed with our 
conclusions. Labor also listed reforms that are under way or have been 
implemented, including business process mapping, an electronic 
application tool, policy guidance, regional forums, and technical 
assistance to states. We disagree with Labor's characterization. Our 
analysis looked at the complete application process from a grantee's 
perspective. We reviewed files for every regular grant that was awarded 
between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003, for which complete information 
was available and compared the date that Labor received the application 
to the date Labor issued an award letter to the grantee. In addition, 
our conclusions about the weaknesses in the improvements being 
undertaken in the grant award process are based upon Labor's proposed 
guidelines and discussions with Labor officials. Finally, our report 
acknowledges the efforts listed by Labor in its comments.

Background:

WIA specifies separate funding streams for each of the act's main 
client groups--adults, youths, and dislocated workers. A dislocated 
worker is an individual who (1) has been terminated or laid off, or who 
has received a notice of termination or layoff, from employment; is 
eligible for or has exhausted entitlement to unemployment insurance; or 
who is not eligible for unemployment insurance but has been employed 
for a sufficient duration to demonstrate attachment to the workforce 
and who is unlikely to return to his or her previous industry or 
occupation; (2) has been terminated or laid off, or who has received a 
notice of termination or layoff, from employment as a result of any 
permanent plant closure of, or substantial layoff at, a plant, 
facility, or enterprise; (3) was self-employed but is unemployed as a 
result of general economic conditions in the community in which the 
individual resides or because of natural disasters; or (4) is a 
displaced homemaker.[Footnote 3]

Under WIA, dislocated workers can receive three levels of service--
core, intensive, and training. Core services include job search and 
placement assistance, the provision of labor market information, and 
preliminary assessment of skills and needs. These services are 
available to anyone seeking such assistance, whether or not that person 
is a dislocated worker. Intensive services are provided to dislocated 
workers needing additional services to find a job. Intensive services 
include comprehensive assessments, development of an individual 
employment plan, case management, and short-term prevocational 
services.[Footnote 4] Dislocated workers can also receive training 
services, including occupational skills training, on-the-job training, 
skill upgrading, and entrepreneurial training.

The Secretary of Labor retains 20 percent of dislocated worker funds in 
a national reserve account to be used for national emergency grants, 
demonstrations, and technical assistance and allots the remaining funds 
to each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico 
according to a specific formula. In a previous report, GAO identified 
several issues with the formula to allocate dislocated worker funds 
that limit its ability to allocate funds to states according to their 
need.[Footnote 5] For example, one problem we identified is that the 
formula allocates funds based on factors, such as the number of long-
term unemployed in each state, that are not clearly aligned with the 
program's target population. During program years 2000-2002, Labor was 
allotted about $4.7 billion for dislocated worker activities. For 
program year 2003, approximately $1.4 billion was allotted for 
dislocated worker activities, of which about $272 million was reserved 
by the Secretary of Labor. Of the amount reserved by the Secretary in 
any program year, not more than 10 percent can be used for 
demonstrations and pilot projects relating to the employment and 
training needs of dislocated workers. Such projects can include those 
that promote self-employment, promote job creation, and avert 
dislocations. In addition, not more than 5 percent can be used for 
technical assistance to states that do not meet performance measures 
established for dislocated worker activities. At least 85 percent of 
the Secretary's 20 percent funds must be used for national emergency 
grants (see fig.1).

Figure 1: Funding Reserved from the Dislocated Worker Allotment for the 
Secretary of Labor:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

National emergency grant funds are used for several different types of 
grants, including:

* Regular grants. These provide employment and training assistance to 
workers who lost their jobs because of layoffs and plant closings.

* Disaster grants. These provide temporary employment to workers 
affected by natural disasters and other catastrophic events.

* Dual enrollment grants. These provide supplemental assistance to 
workers who have been certified by Labor to receive services under the 
Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act of 2002. Workers eligible under 
dual enrollment grants are typically workers who have lost their jobs 
because of increased imports from, or shifts in production to, foreign 
countries.

Grantees apply for national emergency grants when their dislocated 
worker formula funds are insufficient to meet the needs of affected 
workers. Entities that are eligible to receive regular national 
emergency grants are:

* the designated state WIA program agency,

* a local workforce investment area agency,

* a consortium of local workforce investment boards for adjoining 
areas, and:

* a designated organization receiving funds through the Native American 
program provision of WIA.

For regular national emergency grants covering more than one state, 
eligible grantees are limited to a consortium of local workforce 
investment boards for adjoining local areas or a consortium of states. 
For disaster and dual enrollment grants, eligible grantees are limited 
to states. For national emergency grants awarded from program years 
2000 to 2002, 241 grants were awarded to states and 6 grants were 
awarded to local areas.

National emergency grants are discretionary awards by the Secretary of 
Labor that are intended to temporarily expand service capacity at the 
state and local levels by providing time-limited funding assistance in 
response to major layoffs. National emergency grant funds may be used 
to provide core, intensive, and training services.[Footnote 6] For 
disaster-related projects, funds may be used for temporary employment 
assistance on projects that provide food, clothing, and shelter, as 
well as on projects that perform demolition, cleaning, repair, 
renovation, and reconstruction. According to Labor, projects funded by 
national emergency grants must be designed to achieve performance 
outcomes that support the performance goal commitments by the Secretary 
under the Government Performance and Results Act. Labor will provide 
target performance levels for national emergency grant projects through 
separate policy guidance. Beginning July 1, 2004, national emergency 
grant projects will be subject to the common measures for employment 
and training programs, including entered employment, job retention, and 
earnings increase. Participants in temporary disaster projects are 
expected to receive necessary assistance to return to the workforce.

Between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003 (covering program years 2000, 
2001, and 2002), Labor distributed about $600 million from the 
dislocated worker reserved funds for national emergency grants to 46 
states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Federated States of 
Micronesia (see fig. 2).[Footnote 7] California, Massachusetts, Ohio, 
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin 
received the largest amount of grant funds, at least $20 million each.

Figure 2: Distribution of National Emergency Grant Funds for Regular, 
Disaster, and Dual Enrollment Grants from July 1, 2000, to June 30, 
2003:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Appendix II lists the amount of funds Labor distributed to each state 
for regular, disaster, and dual enrollment national emergency grants 
between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003. Nearly two-thirds of the 247 
grants awarded and about 60 percent of the funds awarded were for 
regular grants (see fig. 3). According to Labor officials, no grant 
applications received between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003 are still 
pending.

Figure 3: Percentage of Grants Awarded and Funds Awarded for Program 
Years 2000-2002 by Type of Grant:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

In any program year, the Secretary can only award national emergency 
grants from funds available for that program year. That is, funds 
reserved for national emergency grants in program year 2002 must be 
awarded by June 30, 2003--the last day of program year 2002.

The current system for submission and review of grant applications is 
manual and paper-based. States and local areas submit an application 
via mail or fax. Each national emergency grant application generally 
contains information on key aspects of the proposed project, such as 
amount of funds requested, planned number of participants, planned 
starting and end dates, planned expenditures by type of program 
activity, and expected performance outcomes, including how many 
participants they believe will become employed and what they believe 
their new wages will be. Labor officials review the application and 
draft a decision memorandum that contains their recommendation as to 
whether the grant should be awarded and, if so, at what amount. The 
decision memorandum is forwarded to the Secretary, who makes the final 
award decision. After the Secretary's award decision, Labor notifies 
the appropriate congressional office and issues the award letter to the 
grantee. National emergency grant awards can be disbursed in a single 
payment or in increments. In most cases, the initial increment will be 
for six months to enable a project to achieve full enrollment. For 
grants disbursed in more than one payment, grantees are required to 
submit supplemental information along with their requests for future 
incremental payments. This information generally includes the actual 
number of participants, performance outcomes, and expenditures.

Grantees provide information to Labor on their use of grant funds 
through periodic progress reports.[Footnote 8] Grantees submit periodic 
progress reports on their use of national emergency grant funds to 
Labor regional offices that monitor and oversee the grants. Grantees 
are required to submit the reports on a quarterly basis for regular and 
dual enrollment grants and on a biweekly basis for disaster grants. 
Progress reports generally contain information on the number of 
participants who registered for the program and received various 
services. They also contain the number of participants who entered 
employment, which Labor uses to assess grantees' performance.

States are required annually to submit to a national database, called 
the Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record Data (WIASRD), 
information on WIA participants who have left the program, including 
those who have left national emergency grant--funded programs. The 
WIASRD contains information on the types of services that each WIA 
participant receives, such as intensive or training services. For 
participants that received training, the WIASRD also contains 
information on the types of training activities they participated in, 
such as on-the-job training, adult education or basic literacy 
activities, or occupational skills training.

Delays in Grant Awards Hampered Services to Dislocated Workers:

Labor's grant process is not as effective as it could be because most 
grants are not awarded in a timely manner, and as a result, services to 
workers in some states have been delayed, interrupted, or denied. 
During program years 2000-2002, Labor's goal was to approve national 
emergency grants within 30 calendar days of receiving a complete 
application. On average, 92 days elapsed between the date Labor 
received a regular national emergency grant application and the date 
the award letter was signed. Labor was more likely to award grants 
toward the end of the program year, with nearly 40 percent of the grant 
awards made in the final month. Twenty-five states of the 38 states 
responding to our survey reported that as a result of delays in 
receiving grant funds, services to dislocated workers were delayed, 
interrupted, or denied.

Labor's Counting toward Timeliness Goal Does Not Reflect the Full Grant 
Award Process:

The way Labor measures its progress toward meeting its timeliness goal 
does not reflect the full process for awarding national emergency 
grants. During program years 2000-2002, Labor's goal was to approve 
national emergency grants within 30 calendar days of receiving a 
"complete" application. Labor contends that states, in their haste, 
often submit applications that require additional work and that the 
request for funds cannot be processed until shortcomings are addressed. 
As a result, states may turn in their applications several times before 
Labor starts counting the days elapsed toward meeting its timeliness 
goal. Labor ends its counting once the Secretary approves the grant, 
although additional time is required to notify the appropriate 
congressional office and issue the award letter. For our analysis, we 
began counting on the first day Labor received a state's application 
and continued even if states had to make revisions for the application 
to be considered complete by Labor. We did not stop counting until 
award letters were sent. Our counting more accurately reflects the 
grantee's perspective: It begins at the first request for funds and 
ends at the point that funds can be obligated. Figure 4 compares the 
points at which Labor starts and stops counting the days elapsed toward 
meeting its 30-day goal and the points at which GAO started and stopped 
counting the days in our analysis.

Figure 4: Difference between How GAO and Labor Track the Grant Award 
Process:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Most Grant Awards Took Longer than 30 Days:

We found that, on average, Labor took 92 days from the time an 
application was received to send a grant award letter. Nearly 90 
percent of the regular grants awarded from July 1, 2000, to June 30, 
2003 took more than 30 days to award. [Footnote 9] Approximately 11 
percent of the regular grants awarded during program years 2000-2002 
took 30 or fewer days to award, whereas nearly half took more than 90 
days (see fig. 5).

Figure 5: Percentage of Regular Grants Awarded during Program Years 
2000-2002 within Specified Time Frames:

[See PDF for image]

Note: Although 159 regular grants were awarded between July 1, 2000, 
and June 30, 2003, this information is based upon our review and 
analysis of 141 grants for which complete information was available.

[End of figure]

Labor took less time to award disaster and dual enrollment grants than 
it did to award regular grants. Dual enrollment grants, which represent 
about a third of the funds awarded during program years 2000-2002, took 
an average of 20 days to award, and disaster grants, which represent 
less than 10 percent of the funds awarded, took an average of 48 
days.[Footnote 10]

Grant Applications Submitted Early in the Program Year Took Longer to 
Award, and Most Grants Were Awarded Later in the Year:

The amount of time Labor took to award regular grants appeared to be 
related to the quarter in which the application was received. For 
example, regular grant applications received in the first quarter of a 
program year took longer to award than applications received in the 
second, third, and fourth quarters (see table 1).

Table 1: Average Time to Award Grants by Quarter in Which Application 
Was Received during Program Years 2000-2002:

Quarter application was received: First; 
Average number of days to award grant: 111.

Quarter application was received: Second; 
Average number of days to award grant: 109.

Quarter application was received: Third; 
Average number of days to award grant: 100.

Quarter application was received: Fourth; 
Average number of days to award grant: 58.

Source: GAO analysis of Labor grant awards during program years 2000 
through 2002.

[End of table]

Labor awards most of the regular grants later in the year. Nearly 60 
percent of all regular grants were awarded in the fourth quarter of the 
program year, representing nearly two-thirds of the regular grant funds 
awarded. This trend exists despite the fact that about the same 
proportion of applications are received in the second, third, and 
fourth quarters of the program year: Over 30 percent of the 
applications were submitted during the second quarter of the program 
year, and about 27 percent were submitted in the third and fourth 
quarters (see fig. 6).

Figure 6: Percentage of Regular Grant Applications and Awards by 
Quarter during Program Years 2000-2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Although applications were received at a steady rate throughout the 
last three quarters of the program year, about 40 percent of the 
regular grants were awarded in June, the final month of the program 
year, representing about one-half of the regular grant funds awarded. 
Moreover, the percentage of applications submitted by month during the 
program year did not significantly increase as the year went on, with 
October (the fourth month of the program year), being the month when 
the largest percentage of applications was submitted (see fig. 7).

Figure 7: Percentage of Regular Grant Applications and Awards by Month 
during Program Years 2000-2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

June was the most prevalent month for awarding other types of grants as 
well. About 42 percent of the disaster grants and 90 percent of the 
dual enrollment grants were awarded in the last month of the program 
year. Award dates were more closely linked to application dates for 
dual enrollment grants because, according to Labor officials, grantees 
apply for these grants near the end of the program year, when Trade Act 
funds become exhausted. The vast majority (92 percent) of the dual 
enrollment applications were submitted in the last two months of the 
program year.

Incremental Payments Also Took Longer than 30 Days to Award:

Approximately 80 percent of the incremental payments made during 
program years 2000-2002 took longer than 30 days for Labor to award 
(see fig. 8).[Footnote 11] On average, Labor took 83 days to award 
incremental payments, which is 9 days quicker than the average number 
of days Labor took to make initial regular grant awards. Labor 
officials attributed delays to grantees submitting incomplete requests 
that require additional work. On the other hand, some state officials 
said that they were unclear about the requirements for requesting an 
incremental payment because of lack of guidelines on how to submit a 
request. During program years 2000-2002, Labor awarded 43 incremental 
payments totaling about $84 million. According to Labor, grantees 
should expect that all grant awards will be funded incrementally.

Figure 8: Percentage of Regular Grant Incremental Payments Awarded 
within Specified Time Frames:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Delays Hindered States' Abilities to Serve Workers:

Thirty-three of the 38 states that responded to our survey said that 
the amount of time it took to receive regular grant funds was a major 
problem. Eight of these states were awarded five or more regular grants 
during program years 2000-2002, and Labor averaged between 51 and 103 
days to award grants to these states (see fig. 9).

Figure 9: Average Number of Days to Award Regular Grants to States with 
at Least Five Grants during Program Years 2000-2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Twenty-five states said that because of the delays in receiving grant 
funds, local areas had to delay or deny services to dislocated workers. 
In most of these states, the delays affected local areas' ability to 
place dislocated workers in training. Twenty of these states reported 
that local areas had to delay or cancel training for dislocated workers 
because, while waiting for national emergency grant funds, they did not 
have funds available to enroll workers in training. For example, 
Massachusetts officials noted that workers in one local area were 
placed on waiting lists for 3 to 4 months before they received 
training. Similarly, Nevada officials reported that a local area 
cancelled training for more than 300 workers because of a delay in 
receiving grant funds. Six states also reported that local areas could 
not provide intensive services, such as case management, to workers 
because of delays in receiving grant funds. For example, Kentucky 
reported that while waiting to receive national emergency grant funds, 
local areas could only provide workers with core services and could not 
provide workers with job training, career counseling, case management, 
or supportive services, such as assistance with transportation and 
child care.[Footnote 12]

Labor Has Taken Steps to Improve the Grant Award Process, but 
Additional Actions are Needed:

Labor has taken steps that may improve the process for awarding 
national emergency grants, but additional actions are needed to better 
manage the grant award process. Labor is moving from a paper-based 
system for reviewing grant applications to an electronic system that 
will enable states or local areas to apply for grants on-line. Labor 
has also documented its goal to make an award decision within 30 
business days of receiving a complete application.[Footnote 13] 
However, some weaknesses still remain in Labor's planned changes that 
could prevent Labor from accurately assessing how long it takes to make 
grant awards and incremental payments.

Labor's Actions Are a Step in the Right Direction:

Labor has made a number of changes intended to improve the efficiency 
of the application process by helping applicants submit applications 
that are as close to being complete as possible. Labor has clarified 
its application requirements in guidance issued on January 26, 
2004.[Footnote 14] In addition, Labor has conducted training for states 
on providing an integrated service response for dislocated workers, 
including training on the requirements for receiving national emergency 
grants. Labor also plans to provide technical assistance and work with 
states on an individual basis to help them fully integrate services 
available to dislocated workers through the one-stop service delivery 
system. Furthermore, Labor plans to implement a new electronic system 
by July 1, 2004, that would allow applicants to submit applications 
electronically. The new system will automatically check applications 
for missing or inconsistent information, such as blanks that should be 
filled in or numbers that do not add up correctly. If any problems are 
found, the system notifies applicants. Only when the system no longer 
finds problems with the application will it allow the application to go 
forward. In doing so, the system ensures that each required field 
contains information and that information in different fields is 
consistent, but it cannot check the quality of the information 
submitted.

The electronic system will also replace Labor's paper-based system for 
managing the application review process. The electronic system will 
count how many days have elapsed since the application was submitted 
and track the progress of various steps of the review. Specifically, 
the system:

* automatically assigns applications to staff for review within a day 
of submission,

* reassigns an application to another staff person if the staff 
originally assigned is not available,

* gives each staff a deadline for completing his or her part of the 
review,

* tracks the date that staff complete their responsibilities,

* automatically transfers information from the application into the 
decision memorandum, and:

* enables managers to check on the progress of the review, including 
how long specific parts of the review are taking.

As part of a reengineering project, Labor contracted with IBM to review 
Labor's grant award process. IBM reviewed Labor's current grant award 
process as well as the new electronic system to determine whether any 
further improvements would be needed.[Footnote 15] In addition, IBM is 
planning to conduct further review of other areas such as staffing 
levels, skills, and workflow patterns.

Finally, Labor is planning to issue guidelines that document its 
timeliness goal. As stated in the proposed guidelines, the goal will be 
to make a grant award decision within 30 business days of receiving a 
complete application. These guidelines had not been issued as of April 
6, 2004.

Additional Actions Needed to Better Manage Grant Award Process:

Some weaknesses still remain in Labor's planned changes that could 
prevent Labor from accurately assessing how long it takes to make grant 
awards and incremental payments. First, the way Labor has defined its 
30--day goal allows the agency to stop counting the number of days 
elapsed if it finds problems with the grant application.[Footnote 16] 
For example, if Labor finds a major problem, such as with a planned 
expenditure for a program activity, it will stop the electronic 
system's counting of days elapsed and ask the state or local area to 
revise the application. After the state or local area submits a revised 
application, Labor will start the counting at day one (see fig. 10). 
However, if Labor finds a minor problem with the application, such as 
insufficient justification in the narrative explanation for the 
proposed number of dislocated workers to be enrolled, it will stop the 
counting and, once the state or local area submits a revised 
application, will restart the counting from the day it left off. 
Because of Labor's ability to stop its counting of days elapsed, its 
tracking system may not accurately reflect the number of days it takes 
Labor to award grants nor allow Labor to identify how long particular 
steps in the process contribute to the amount of time it takes to award 
grants.

Figure 10: New Process for Awarding National Emergency Grants and 
Number of Days Allowed in Each Step:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

A second problem is that Labor's timeliness goal still only includes 
the days up to the Secretary's award decision, leaving the agency 
unable to identify delays that occur after the award decision. Labor's 
proposed guidelines specify a goal to approve or disapprove 
applications within 30 business days from receipt of a complete and 
responsive application. As stated, the goal would not include the steps 
between the Secretary's approval and the issuance of the award letter, 
such as the notification of congressional offices of the award, the 
preparation of the award letter, and the preparation for the 
disbursement of funds. With some grants awarded in program years 2000 
to 2002, 20 or more calendar days passed between the date the Secretary 
approved the grant by signing the decision memorandum and the date 
Labor issued the award letter to the grantee.[Footnote 17] For example, 
for a grant awarded to Missouri, 34 days passed between the date the 
Secretary signed the decision memorandum and the date the award letter 
was sent. Such delays can interfere with a state or local area's 
ability to take steps necessary to begin to provide services such as 
entering into contracts with training providers or hiring staff.

A third weakness is that Labor's proposed guidelines do not establish a 
timeliness goal for awarding incremental payments, despite stating that 
most grants will be awarded incrementally. Labor has stated that the 
amount of time to approve incremental payments should be no longer than 
the time required to review the original application--30 business 
days.[Footnote 18] However, this goal has not been formally documented 
in the proposed guidelines. In addition, the electronic system does not 
allow grantees to apply for incremental payments on-line, and it will 
not track the progress of the review of requests for incremental 
payments. Labor plans to use a manual process to track its progress 
toward meeting its 30-day goal for incremental payments.

Little Is Known about How Grant Funds Are Used because of Weaknesses in 
Data Collection:

Little is known on a national level about how national emergency grant 
funds are used because of weaknesses in two data sources, and although 
Labor is taking steps to improve the data collected, these steps may 
not go far enough to ensure the data's reliability. Data in progress 
reports submitted by grantees to Labor could not be analyzed on a 
national level because the reports' data elements vary from grantee to 
grantee and the information is not available electronically. 
Furthermore, the reliability of information contained in Labor's 
national database on participants served by WIA funds, including 
national emergency grants, cannot be ensured because the data are 
incomplete and unverified. Labor's steps to address some of these 
issues may not go far enough to rectify data problems. For progress 
reports, Labor has not issued detailed guidance to ensure that data 
elements are defined consistently. In addition, although Labor has 
checked states' most recent submissions to the national participant 
database to identify whether data are missing, Labor does not have 
specific plans to check states' future submissions to ensure that data 
are complete.

Data Collected Is Inconsistent and Unreliable:

Neither of the two primary data sources on the national emergency grant 
program--progress reports and WIASRD--can be used to provide accurate 
national-level information on the use of national emergency grant 
funds.[Footnote 19] Largely because of a lack of clear guidance, 
grantees are not submitting reliable information to both data sources.

Data in progress reports cannot be summarized to provide a national 
picture of how grant funds are used because not all states reported the 
same data. Labor has not issued guidance under WIA on the submission of 
national emergency grant progress reports, and as a result, the data 
submitted in reports vary from grantee to grantee. For example, while 
most of the 13 states that we obtained sample reports from provided 
information on the number of people enrolled in training, only about 
half reported the number enrolled in core and intensive services, and 
just one reported expenditures by type of service (see table 2).

Table 2: Information Contained in Progress Reports from 13 States:

Date element: Enrollments in core services; 
Number of states that provided information[A]: 7; 
Number of states that did not provide information: 6.

Date element: Enrollments in intensive services; 
Number of states that provided information[A]: 5; 
Number of states that did not provide information: 8.

Date element: Enrollments in training services; 
Number of states that provided information[A]: 11; 
Number of states that did not provide information: 2.

Date element: Expenditures by types of services; 
Number of states that provided information[A]: 1; 
Number of states that did not provide information: 12.

Date element: Entered employment; 
Number of states that provided information[A]: 12; 
Number of states that did not provide information: 1. 

Source: GAO analysis of progress reports provided by Labor regional 
offices.

[A] This includes states that provided information in some but not all 
cases.

[End of table]

In addition, grantees may interpret the data elements in different 
ways. For example, according to Labor regional officials, states vary 
in how they define "entered employment." Some states use the WIA 
definition, which calculates entered employment using quarterly 
unemployment insurance wage reports that may not be available until 
several months after the person has started a job. Other states use the 
definition under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program that 
WIA replaced, which calculates the number using information gathered by 
the caseworker at the time the person is placed in employment. A 
grantee that uses the WIA definition may appear to place workers in 
employment less effectively than a grantee that uses the JTPA 
definition because the grantee using the WIA definition must wait 
several months before reporting that a participant entered 
employment.[Footnote 20] Furthermore, the data in progress reports are 
not electronically available or stored in a central location because 
Labor does not have an electronic system through which grantees can 
submit the reports. Instead, grantees submit the reports to the 
appropriate regional office by e--mail or as paper documents, making 
analysis of the data cumbersome.

Labor's guidance is not as clear as it could be about whether states 
are required to submit to WIASRD data on participants served with 
national emergency grant funds. One part of the WIASRD reporting 
instructions says that states are required to provide data for 
participants who exited WIA Title I-B services, which are services 
offered by the adult, dislocated worker, and youth formula funds 
programs.[Footnote 21] A Labor official and a manager of the WIASRD 
database stated that this part of the guidance could be interpreted by 
states to mean that they are not required to submit data to WIASRD for 
other programs, such as national emergency grants. In addition, some 
Labor officials we spoke with believed that states were not required to 
submit WIASRD data on all national emergency grant participants.

Either because the data were not submitted or were submitted 
incorrectly, WIASRD does not contain data for all states that received 
national emergency grants. The program year 2001 WIASRD contained no 
data for five states that collectively received 16 grants in program 
year 2000, constituting 23 percent of the grants awarded in that year 
(see table 3). In addition, it contained few data for Rhode Island, 
although a Rhode Island official said that 210 participants exited 
national emergency grant programs in program year 2001.

Table 3: Comparison of State's PY2001 WIASRD National Emergency Grant 
Participant Records with Grants Received in PY2000:

State: Alabama; 
Number of national emergency grant participant records in program year 
2001 WIASRD (7/1/01--6/30/02): 0; 
Number of national emergency grants awarded in program year 2000 
(7/1/00--6/30/01)[A]: 1.

State: New Jersey; 
Number of national emergency grant participant records in program year 
2001 WIASRD (7/1/01--6/30/02): 0; 
Number of national emergency grants awarded in program year 2000 
(7/1/00--6/30/ 01)[A]: 4.

State: Ohio; 
Number of national emergency grant participant records in program year 
2001 WIASRD (7/1/01--6/30/02): 0; 
Number of national emergency grants awarded in program year 2000 
(7/1/00--6/30/01)[A]: 6.

State: Rhode Island; 
Number of national emergency grant participant records in program year 
2001 WIASRD (7/1/01--6/30/02): 7; 
Number of national emergency grants awarded in program year 2000 
(7/1/00--6/30/ 01)[A]: 4.

State: Virginia; 
Number of national emergency grant participant records in program year 
2001 WIASRD (7/1/01--6/30/02): 0; 
Number of national emergency grants awarded in program year 2000 
(7/1/00--6/30/01)[A]: 1.

State: Wisconsin; 
Number of national emergency grant participant records in program year 
2001 WIASRD (7/1/01--6/30/02): 0; 
Number of national emergency grants awarded in program year 2000 
(7/1/00--6/30/ 01)[A]: 4. 

Source: GAO analysis of the program year 2001 WIASRD and list of 
program year 2000 grants provided by Labor.

[A] Includes incremental payments received from 7/1/00 to 6/30/01.

[End of table]

However, even if the data submitted to WIASRD on national emergency 
grants were complete, questions about their accuracy would persist. In 
its review of state-reported WIA performance data, Labor's Office of 
Inspector General (OIG) concluded that little assurance exists that the 
data are accurate or verifiable because of inadequate oversight of data 
collection and management at the federal, state, and local 
levels.[Footnote 22] A recent GAO report confirmed the OIG's 
findings.[Footnote 23]

Labor Is Taking Actions to Improve Data:

Labor has developed a standard reporting form and electronic system for 
national emergency grant progress reports and plans to implement these 
changes in July 2004. Labor's proposed guidelines require grantees to 
use a particular reporting form to submit information on a quarterly 
basis on the number of participants receiving intensive services, 
training, and other services, as well as expenditures on these various 
services, the number of participants who exited the program, and the 
number of participants who entered employment. A standard reporting 
form is likely to increase the consistency of grantee-reported data by 
ensuring that grantees submit information on the same data elements. 
However, Labor has not yet issued guidance informing grantees how to 
define data elements such as the number of participants who have 
entered employment. Without common definitions, grantees may submit 
inconsistent data based on their different interpretations of data 
elements. In addition, Labor's electronic system for managing the grant 
application process will enable grantees to submit their progress 
reports electronically. The system will compile the data into an 
electronic dataset, facilitating analysis of the data.

Labor is also taking steps to improve the completeness and accuracy of 
WIASRD data on national emergency grant participants. In guidance 
issued on November 13, 2003, for the submission of program year 2002 
data, Labor specified that states are required to include participants 
who exited from national emergency grant programs.[Footnote 24] 
According to Labor officials, the agency also plans to clarify the 
WIASRD reporting requirements for national emergency grants in new 
guidance on performance measures to be issued by July 2004. In 
addition, for the program year 2002 WIASRD, Labor checked states' 
submissions to identify whether data had been submitted for all grants 
awarded. For states whose submissions were missing data, Labor 
requested that they send in a revised submission that included data on 
national emergency grants. However, managers of the WIASRD database 
said that some states were not able to send in data on national 
emergency grant participants, and as a result, the program year 2002 
WIASRD will not have complete data. Although Labor does not have 
specific, written plans to check states' future WIASRD submissions to 
identify missing data, a Labor official believes the agency will 
continue to do so. Labor is also planning to implement a data 
validation program to ensure the accuracy of state-reported data on 
national emergency grant participants. According to Labor officials, 
this program is in the early planning stages and no date has been set 
for its implementation.

Conclusions:

With nearly 7 million workers losing their jobs in the few years since 
the turn of the century, increasing importance has been placed on 
programs intended to help dislocated workers. When major layoffs and 
disasters occur, states and local areas need to respond quickly to 
ensure that workers facing unemployment receive the services they need 
to re-enter the workforce at a comparable wage. Unfortunately, their 
dislocated worker formula funds are often insufficient to adequately 
meet the needs of the large number of workers losing their jobs. In 
previous work, we found that the formula used to allocate dislocated 
worker funds does not always result in states receiving the amount of 
funds they need. Accordingly, states and local areas turn to Labor for 
additional funds, such as those reserved by Labor for national 
emergency grants.

Timely awarding of national emergency grants is imperative for states 
and local areas to provide services when they are most needed. 
Therefore, it is important that Labor consider the length of time it 
takes to complete the full process for awarding grants. Although Labor 
is making changes to the award process, some concerns remain. Labor 
does not have a timeliness goal for the full award process or for 
incremental payments. In addition, the proposed guidelines do not 
require the continuous counting of days from the time the application 
is received until the grant is awarded--Labor can stop the clock if 
officials feel the application is incomplete. As a result, Labor may 
appear to meet its timeliness goal even though, from a grantee's 
perspective, the grant funds were received months after the application 
was filed.

Neither of the two primary data sources on the national emergency 
grants provides reliable national-level information on how these funds 
are used. Reliable information on how national emergency grant funds 
are used is essential for Labor to effectively manage the program and 
report on a national level how grant funds are being used.

Recommendations for Executive Action:

In order for Labor to better manage the grant award process and to 
accurately assess how long it takes to make grant awards and 
incremental payments, we recommend that the Secretary of Labor take 
additional actions. In particular, Labor should:

* set timeliness goals for the full process--from the receipt of the 
application until the award letter is sent--for initial grant awards 
and incremental payments; and:

* continuously track the number of days that have passed beginning when 
applications are first submitted until the award letter is sent, 
including days grantees spend revising their applications.

In addition, to ensure that information relating to national emergency 
grants is accurate and complete we recommend that Labor:

* develop specific reporting guidance on progress reports to ensure 
that grantees define data elements consistently;

* ensure that all states submit WIASRD data on participants exiting 
from services provided with national emergency grants (for grantees 
that are not states, ensure that they submit WIASRD data on national 
emergency grants to states for submission to Labor).

Agency Comments:

We provided a draft of this report to officials at Labor for their 
review and comment. In its comments, Labor took issue with the report's 
methodology, said it believes that the report makes assertions not 
supported by empirical evidence, and disagreed with our conclusions. 
Labor stated that timeliness of national emergency grants has been a 
concern dating back to JTPA and that the current administration set a 
goal of 30 working days to provide states with an answer to a complete 
application. Labor also contends that the weaknesses in the 
improvements being undertaken in the grant award process that we cite 
in the report are subjective and inaccurate. Finally, Labor listed 
reforms that are under way or have been implemented, including business 
process mapping, an electronic application tool, policy guidance, 
regional forums, and technical assistance to states.

We disagree with Labor's characterization of the report's methodology 
and conclusions. As stated in the report, our analysis looked at the 
complete application process from a grantee's perspective. We reviewed 
files for every regular grant that was awarded between July 1, 2000, 
and June 30, 2003, for which complete information was available and 
compared the date that Labor received the application with the date 
Labor issued an award letter to the grantee. States and local areas 
apply for national emergency grants when a major layoff occurs, and it 
is imperative that grantees receive funds in a timely manner to provide 
assistance when it is most needed. Accordingly, we believe that the 
date the application is received is an appropriate starting point for 
the grant award process. If applications are incomplete, then this 
issue should be addressed and the application moved forward in a timely 
manner. We recognize a shared responsibility to ensure that grant 
applications are complete and accurate, and as pointed out in our 
report, Labor has taken steps to assist grantees in submitting 
applications that are as close to being complete as possible. We also 
believe that the ending date should be when the grantee is notified of 
the award rather than at an interim departmental approval point. As we 
reported, the final steps after Labor has stopped the clock on the 
award process have taken an additional 20 or more days in some cases. 
Delays in grant awards have had effects on the ability of local areas 
to provide services to workers who have lost their jobs, as reported by 
25 states that responded to our survey on national emergency grants. 
For Labor to have set a goal for the award process is commendable, but 
the emphasis needs to be on awarding national emergency grants as 
quickly as possible to allow local areas to meet the needs of 
dislocated workers.

We also disagree that the stated weaknesses in the improvements being 
undertaken in the grant award process are subjective and inaccurate. 
Rather these weaknesses are based upon Labor's proposed guidelines and 
discussions with Labor officials. First, Labor's proposed guidelines 
state that Labor is committed to making a decision to approve or 
disapprove an application within 30 working days of receiving a 
complete application. As pointed out in our report, there are steps 
that follow this decision that have taken another 20 days in some 
cases, and Labor's counting of days elapsed may not always be 
continuous. We believe the 30-day goal should include the entire 
process. Second, the proposed guidelines do not relate the 30-day goal 
to incremental payments, and Labor officials confirmed that incremental 
payments are not yet included in the new electronic system. Third, 
while the proposed guidelines provide a form for progress reports, 
Labor officials acknowledged that data element definitions have not yet 
been developed. Finally, while a Labor official speculated that 
checking the completeness of states' submissions to the WIASRD database 
would continue, no such plans have been documented. We believe that to 
better manage the national emergency grant award process, these 
additional actions should be implemented.

In regard to the reforms cited by Labor in its comments, our report 
identified all of these efforts except for the proposed technical 
assistance. We have added a statement to the report to indicate that 
Labor plans to provide technical assistance and work with states on an 
individual basis to help them fully integrate services available to 
dislocated workers through the one-stop service delivery system. 
Labor's comments are in appendix IV.

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its 
contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 
14 days from its issue date. At that time, we will send copies of this 
report to relevant congressional committees and other interested 
parties and will make copies available to others upon request. In 
addition, the report will be available at no charge on GAO's Web site 
at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-7215. Other major contributors to this report 
are listed in appendix V.

Signed by: 

Sigurd R. Nilsen: 
Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues:

[End of section]

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

We were asked to determine (1) the effectiveness of the overall process 
for awarding national emergency grant funds, (2) whether Labor's 
proposed changes will improve the grant award process, and (3) what is 
known about how grant funds are being used. To respond to these issues, 
we interviewed Labor officials at both headquarters and regional 
offices, reviewed Labor files for all grants awarded during program 
years 2000 through 2002, and surveyed officials in the 39 states that 
had received at least one regular national emergency grant during that 
period. We also reviewed Labor's two data sources that contain 
information on the use of national emergency grants. We conducted our 
work from March 2003 to March 2004 in accordance with generally 
accepted government auditing standards.

File Review:

We obtained from Labor a listing of all national emergency grants 
awarded between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003. We then reviewed files 
maintained by Labor to identify when the original application was 
submitted and received and the date the award letter was signed. For 
those grants funded incrementally, we also identified when the 
incremental funding request was submitted and received and the date the 
incremental award letter was sent. We limited our analysis to those 
grants funded with the Secretary's reserve from the dislocated worker 
funds under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). For some grants, 
documentation on when the application was received was not in the files 
(see table 4).

Table 4: Number of National Emergency Grants Awarded and Used in GAO 
Analysis:

Type of grant: Regular grants; 
Number of grants awarded between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003: 159; 
Number of files containing complete information used in our analysis: 
141.

Type of grant: Disaster grants; 
Number of grants awarded between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003: 19; 
Number of files containing complete information used in our analysis: 
11.

Type of grant: Dual enrollment grants; 
Number of grants awarded between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003: 69; 
Number of files containing complete information used in our analysis: 
49.

Source: GAO analysis of national emergency grants awarded between July 
1, 2000, and June 30, 2003.

[End of table]

Using information contained in the files, for each grant we calculated 
the number of calendar days between the date Labor received the 
original grant application and the date of the grant award letter.

For 16 grants for which 150 or more calendar days elapsed between the 
date the original grant application was received and the date the award 
letter was sent, we conducted a detailed review of the grant files to 
determine how long various steps of the review process took. We 
identified dates that applicants submitted additional information, 
dates that Labor received the additional information, dates of the 
decision memorandum, dates that the Secretary signed the decision 
memorandum, and dates that various Labor staff approved the award 
letter. We then calculated the number of calendar days that elapsed 
between each of these dates.

Survey of States That Received Regular Grants:

To obtain information on states' experiences with the process for 
receiving national emergency grants, we conducted an e-mail survey of 
officials in 39 states that received at least one regular grant in 
program years 2000 to 2002 (see table 5).

Figure 11: 39 States Surveyed That Were Awarded a Regular 
National Emergency Grant during Program Years 2000 through 2002:

[See PDF for image]

Source: GAO analysis of national emergency grants awarded between July 
1, 2000 and June 30, 2003.

[End of table]

We received responses from 38 states (a 97 percent response 
rate).[Footnote 25] We limited the survey to regular grants because 
they constituted about 60 percent of the grants awarded, representing 
about 64 percent of the funds, in that time period. Although Labor also 
awarded four regular grants to local areas in program years 2000 to 
2002, we limited our survey to state officials because the number of 
local grantees was too small to be meaningful.

We identified the states that received regular grants from a list that 
Labor provided of grants awarded in program years 2000 to 2002 and the 
state in which they were awarded.[Footnote 26]

In developing our survey, we conducted pretests with three states. We 
contacted respondents to clarify information when needed. We analyzed 
the survey data by calculating descriptive statistics, as well as 
performing content analysis of the responses to open-ended survey 
questions.

Assessment of Data Quality:

To determine whether progress reports might be a viable source of data 
to determine how national emergency grant funds are used at the 
national level, we obtained progress reports from 1 to 3 states from 
each of the Labor regional offices. We analyzed the reports to 
determine how consistent the data elements were from state to state.

To determine whether the Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record 
Data (WIASRD) might be a viable source of data to determine how 
national emergency grant funds are used at the national level, we 
reviewed guidance issued by Labor and reports issued by Labor's Office 
of Inspector General (OIG), state agencies, and Labor contractors. We 
also interviewed the OIG official responsible for an audit of WIA's 
performance data and the officials from Social Policy Research 
Associates, the Labor contractor responsible for compiling the WIASRD. 
In addition, we performed electronic tests of the program year 2001 
WIASRD data, including conducting frequencies and cross-tabulations, 
comparing results with published reports and identifying missing or 
incorrect values.

To determine the completeness of data on national emergency grants in 
the WIASRD, we compared states' data in the program year 2001 WIASRD 
against a list of states that had received one or more regular, dual 
enrollment, or disaster grants at least one year prior to the end of 
the reporting period for the 2001 WIASRD or by June 30, 2001. This 
analysis assumes that some participants in a grant program begun in 
program year 2000 would have exited during program year 2001. For 
states for which the 2001 WIASRD did not contain data on grant 
participants although they had received grants in program year 2000, we 
contacted the states to confirm that participants served with grants 
had exited in program year 2001.

We determined that the WIASRD data elements pertinent to this report 
were not sufficiently reliable for our purposes. We have discussed the 
data reliability issues throughout the body of the report.

Interviews with Labor Officials:

To obtain information on the process for awarding national emergency 
grants, we conducted interviews with Labor officials in the Office of 
National Response and Office of Grants and Contracts Management. We 
also interviewed officials in ETA's Office of Technology to obtain 
information on the electronic system for managing the grant process. To 
obtain information on reporting requirements and monitoring and 
oversight practices for the national emergency grant program, we 
interviewed officials in the Office of Field Operations. We also 
interviewed officials in all six Labor regions who are responsible for 
monitoring and oversight of national emergency grants. In Region 1, we 
interviewed both the Boston office and the New York office.

To obtain information on Labor's data validation initiative for 
national emergency grants, we interviewed an official in ETA's 
Performance and Results Office and a contractor developing the 
technical components of the initiative. We also attended a training 
session on the WIA data validation initiative held in Labor's San 
Francisco office for states and local areas in Region 6.

[End of section]

Appendix II: Summary of Funds Awarded for Regular, Disaster, and Dual 
Enrollment Grants for Program Years 2000-2002:

State: Alabama; 
Regular: $1,391,359; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: $8,935,689; 
Total: $10,327,048.

State: Arizona; 
Regular: 1,271,931; 
Disaster: $2,291,674; 
Dual enrollment: 456,286; 
Total: 4,019,891.

State: Arkansas; 
Regular: 8,745,980; 
Disaster: 1,176,000; 
Dual enrollment: 1,257,566; 
Total: 11,179,546.

State: California; 
Regular: 38,631,721; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 8,576,548; 
Total: 47,208,269.

State: Colorado; 
Regular: 6,411,981; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 797,952; 
Total: 7,209,933.

State: Connecticut; 
Regular: 5,139,856; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 799,621; 
Total: 5,939,477.

State: District of Columbia; 
Regular: 876,573; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 876,573.

State: Federated States of Micronesia; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 1,150,000; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 1,150,000.

State: Florida; 
Regular: 11,064,618; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 6,353,858; 
Total: 17,418,476.

State: Georgia; 
Regular: 3,446,880; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 3,446,880.

State: Guam; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 13,300,000; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 13,300,000.

State: Idaho; 
Regular: 4,445,674; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 1,800,000; 
Total: 6,245,674.

State: Illinois; 
Regular: 9,012,466; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 7,238,985; 
Total: 16,251,451.

State: Indiana; 
Regular: 5,474,686; 
Disaster: 550,456; 
Dual enrollment: 1,249,999; 
Total: 7,275,141.

State: Iowa; 
Regular: 9,540,435; 
Disaster: 818,561; 
Dual enrollment: 5,617,404; 
Total: 15,976,400.

State: Kansas; 
Regular: 3,267,080; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 3,145,175; 
Total: 6,412,255.

State: Kentucky; 
Regular: 8,084,658; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 2,851,146; 
Total: 10,935,804.

State: Louisiana; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 4,780,000; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 4,780,000.

State: Maine; 
Regular: 16,396,287; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 1,717,471; 
Total: 18,113,758.

State: Maryland; 
Regular: 7,884,071; 
Disaster: 1,000,000; 
Dual enrollment: 267,245; 
Total: 9,151,316.

State: Massachusetts; 
Regular: 28,871,460; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 2,764,133; 
Total: 31,635,593.

State: Michigan; 
Regular: 1,427,657; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 8,436,000; 
Total: 9,863,657.

State: Minnesota; 
Regular: 13,486,750; 
Disaster: 1,825,000; 
Dual enrollment: 4,679,140; 
Total: 19,990,890.

State: Mississippi; 
Regular: 1,644,366; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 1,644,366.

State: Missouri; 
Regular: 8,693,208; 
Disaster: 2,876,946; 
Dual enrollment: 3,863,989; 
Total: 15,434,143.

State: Montana; 
Regular: 9,638,868; 
Disaster: 4,314,800; 
Dual enrollment: 614,322; 
Total: 14,567,990.

State: Nebraska; 
Regular: 2,168,931; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 1,357,528; 
Total: 3,526,459.

State: Nevada; 
Regular: 5,800,000; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 5,800,000.

State: New Hampshire; 
Regular: 5,474,859; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: ; 
Total: 5,474,859.

State: New Jersey; 
Regular: 3,570,627; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 6,387,037; 
Total: 9,957,664.

State: New Mexico; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 560,842; 
Total: 560,842.

State: New York; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 1,561,851; 
Total: 1,561,851.

State: North Carolina; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 19,373,963; 
Total: 19,373,963.

State: North Dakota; 
Regular: 378,793; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 99,000; 
Total: 477,793.

State: Ohio; 
Regular: 15,200,826; 
Disaster: 1,500,000; 
Dual enrollment: 10,338,929; 
Total: 27,039,755.

State: Oklahoma; 
Regular: 2,907,969; 
Disaster: 1,000,000; 
Dual enrollment: 2,876,964; 
Total: 6,784,933.

State: Oregon; 
Regular: 18,151,492; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 8,665,146; 
Total: 26,816,638.

State: Pennsylvania; 
Regular: 20,319,216; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 49,071,363; 
Total: 69,390,579.

State: Rhode Island; 
Regular: 1,027,470; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 2,068,236; 
Total: 3,095,706.

State: South Carolina; 
Regular: 1,895,619; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 1,519,039; 
Total: 3,414,658.

State: South Dakota; 
Regular: 2,308,571; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 123,694; 
Total: 2,432,265.

State: Tennessee; 
Regular: 4,827,774; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 888,873; 
Total: 5,716,647.

State: Texas; 
Regular: 23,776,743; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 3,011,738; 
Total: 26,788,481.

State: Utah; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 740,230; 
Total: 740,230.

State: Vermont; 
Regular: 750,000; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 635,877; 
Total: 1,385,877.

State: Virginia; 
Regular: 22,350,000; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 3,303,031; 
Total: 25,653,031.

State: Washington; 
Regular: 11,768,668; 
Disaster: 0; 
Dual enrollment: 13,661,486; 
Total: 25,430,154.

State: West Virginia; 
Regular: 0; 
Disaster: 12,499,990; 
Dual enrollment: 0; 
Total: 12,499,990.

State: Wisconsin; 
Regular: 6,591,086; 
Disaster: 250,000; 
Dual enrollment: 13,322,451; 
Total: 20,163,537.

State: Total; 
Regular: $354,117,209; 
Disaster: $49,333,427; 
Dual enrollment: $210,989,807; 
Total: $614,440,443.

[End of table]

Source: GAO analysis of regular, disaster, and dual enrollment grant 
funds awarded between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003.

The amounts shown include national emergency grant funds awarded during 
program years 2000-2002. This includes all initial grant awards and 
incremental payments made during this time, including incremental 
payments made for grants initially awarded prior to July 1, 2000. For 
example, Arizona and North Dakota each received an incremental payment 
for a regular grant awarded under JTPA.

Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, and Wyoming did not receive any regular, 
disaster, or dual enrollment national emergency grants during program 
years 2000-2002.

[End of section]

Appendix III: Average Number of Days Regular Grants Were Awarded by 
State:

State: Alabama; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 2; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 120.

State: Arkansas; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 23.

State: California; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 206.

State: Colorado; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 62.

State: Connecticut; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 6; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 102.

State: District of Columbia; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 131.

State: Florida; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 63.

State: Georgia; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 4; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 137.

State: Idaho; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 4; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 70.

State: Illinois; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 39.

State: Indiana; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 2; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 92.

State: Iowa; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 16; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 103.

State: Kansas; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 63.

State: Kentucky; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 126.

State: Maine; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 13; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 91.

State: Maryland; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 2; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 77.

State: Massachusetts; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 9; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 87.

State: Michigan; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 85.

State: Minnesota; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 103.

State: Missouri; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 12; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 99.

State: Montana; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 5; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 51.

State: Nebraska; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 2; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 40.

State: Nevada; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 79.

State: New Hampshire; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 78.

State: New Jersey; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 174.

State: Ohio; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 4; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 40.

Number of regular grants[A]: Oklahoma: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 123.

State: Oregon; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 6; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 96.

State: Pennsylvania; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 4; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 109.

State: Rhode Island; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 32.

State: South Carolina; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 122.

State: South Dakota; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 82.

State: Tennessee; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 2; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 116.

State: Texas; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 3; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 122.

State: Virginia; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 2; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 106.

State: Vermont; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 1; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 90.

State: Wisconsin; 
Number of regular grants[A]: 5; 
Average number of days from receipt of application to award: 77. 

Source: GAO analysis of regular grant funds awarded between July 1, 
2000, and June 30, 2003.

[A] This represents the number of regular grants for which complete 
information was available. There were a total of 14 regular grants for 
which we did not have complete information.

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Labor:

U.S. Department of Labor:

Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training 
Washington, D.C. 20210:

MAR 6 2004: 

Mr. Sigurd R. Nilsen:

Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues:

United States General Accounting Office 
441 G Street, NW:

Washington, D.C. 20548:

Dear Mr. Nilsen:

This is in response to the draft report regarding National Emergency 
Grants (NEGs) provided to the Department of Labor (DOL) for comment. 
While we appreciate the opportunity to formally comment on the report, 
we are disappointed and object to the methodology of the report and its 
conclusions. In fact, throughout the period when the GAO was collecting 
data and information and the subsequent development of its report, DOL 
has voiced these concerns. We believe this document contains statements 
and conclusions not supported by the facts. Because we believe that the 
final report is an incomplete product and does not capture or discuss 
the true nature of the issues, we are not responding point-by-point to 
the report directly.

The timeliness of the availability of NEG funds to supplement 
assistance for dislocated workers has been a concern that reaches back 
to the days of the Job Training Partnership Act. Because the Bush 
Administration believes that NEGs are an important and flexible 
response to worker dislocations, we imposed our own goal of 30 working 
days to provide states with an answer to a complete application.

Current DOL management believes strongly that the 30 working day 
deadline should be met; therefore, the following reforms are underway 
or have been implemented:

* Business Process Mapping. We hired IBM as a contractor to assist us 
with completing a full and complete mapping of our business processes 
from the time a state submits a complete application until the time 
that the Grant Officer signs the grant award documents. During each of 
these steps, timeframes have been assigned so that an application is 
answered within the self-imposed timeframe of 30 working days.

NEG E-Application Tool and Guidelines. One of the problems in being 
able to effectively evaluate a NEG application often is the incomplete 
information we receive from states. In order to mitigate this, we have 
developed a NEG e-application tool that is in prototype status. The e-
application tool will not accept an incomplete application. In 
addition, new NEG guidelines have recently been developed that describe 
the types of NEG applications and the information that needs to be 
contained in applications in order to be considered for an award. The 
guidelines also articulate policies governing NEG program design and 
expected outcomes. The e-application tool and NEG guidelines will be 
fully implemented on July 1.

* NEG Policy Guidance. As a companion piece to the NEG guidelines, we 
have issued a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) to the 
workforce investment system that articulates priorities and 
requirements for NEG funding and policy decisions, including formula 
funding expenditure requirements. TEGL 16-03 was published January 26, 
2004, and was also distributed at a series of regional forums conducted 
for senior state workforce investment officials. A copy is enclosed.

Regional Forums. ETA hosted six regional forums/training sessions that 
focused on policies, priorities and expectations. The sessions were 
held between December 8 and March 10. The training sessions encompassed 
changes and expectations for NEGs, the Trade Adjustment Assistance 
(TAA) program and rapid response, and provisions governing the Health 
Coverage Tax Credit in collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service.

* Additional Training. The regional sessions will be followed with 
individualized training to specific states. ETA program teams will work 
with states on an individual basis to cover the "How To's" of these 
various programs to fully integrate services available for all 
dislocated workers through the One-Stop service delivery system. A 
series of technical assistance materials are being developed as well. 
Training and technical assistance for state and local workforce 
investment board staff will be on-going through the remainder of PY 
2003 and throughout PY 2004.

In addition, as articulated in the NEG policy TEGL, ETA has improved 
its procedures to deal with incomplete applications. Rather than 
working informally with applicants to resolve any issues (which often 
resulted in significant delays in processing times), incomplete 
applications are being formally returned to the applicant with a 
request for specific information. Once a complete application is 
received, the "processing clock" begins. This will speed up the 
decision process because applicants will resolve outstanding issues 
prior to funding determinations.

In conclusion, we are extremely disappointed that GAO chose to make 
assertions that are not supported by empirical evidence. We view the 
stated "weaknesses" in the improvements being undertaken as subjective 
and inaccurate. Further, we found the research flawed because it did 
not factor in the dynamics of complete/ incomplete applications, but 
rather put state/applicant responsibilities for providing needed 
information on the Department rather than the grantee. This does not 
diminish the Department's responsibility to clearly articulate 
requirements and expectations; however, we have set a new standard of 
leadership in the administration of the National Emergency Grant 
program.

We believe it would be beneficial for GAO and the Department if we had 
an opportunity to meet and discuss the changes underway to improve the 
overall processing of NEG applications.

Sincerely,

Emily Stover DeRocco: 
Enclosure:

[End of section]

Appendix V: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

Joan Mahagan (617) 788-0521 Wayne Sylvia (617) 788-0524:

Staff Acknowledgments:

Yunsian Tai made significant contributions to this report in all 
aspects of the work. In addition, Angela Anderson collected financial 
and program oversight information from Labor headquarters and regional 
offices; John Smale, Stuart Kaufman, and William Bates assisted in 
designing and analyzing the national survey; Barbara Johnson and Paula 
Bonin assisted in data reliability assessments; Jessica Botsford and 
Richard Burkard provided legal support; and Corinna Nicolaou provided 
writing assistance.

[End of section]

Related GAO Products:

Workforce Investment Act: Labor Actions Can Help States Improve Quality 
of Performance Outcome Data and Delivery of Youth Services. GAO-04-308. 
Washington, D.C.: February 23, 2004.

Workforce Training: Almost Half of States Fund Employment Placement and 
Training through Employer Taxes and Most Coordinate with Federally 
Funded Programs. GAO-04-282. Washington, D.C.: February 13, 2004.

National Emergency Grants: Services to Dislocated Workers Hampered by 
Delays in Grant Awards, but Labor Is Initiating Actions to Improve 
Grant Award Process. GAO-04-222. Washington, D.C.: November 14, 2003.

Workforce Investment Act: Potential Effects of Alternative Formulas on 
State Allocations. GAO-03-1043. Washington, D.C.: August 28, 2003.

Workforce Investment Act: One-Stop Centers Implemented Strategies to 
Strengthen Services and Partnerships, but More Research and Information 
Sharing is Needed. GAO-03-725. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 2003.

Workforce Investment Act: Exemplary One-Stops Devised Strategies to 
Strengthen Services, but Challenges Remain for Reauthorization. GAO-03-
884T. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 2003.

Workforce Investment Act: Issues Related to Allocation Formulas for 
Youth, Adults, and Dislocated Workers. GAO-03-636. Washington, D.C.: 
April 25, 2003.

Multiple Employment and Training Programs: Funding and Performance 
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Workforce Training: Employed Worker Programs Focus on Business Needs, 
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GAO-03-353. Washington, D.C.: February 14, 2003.

Older Workers: Employment Assistance Focuses on Subsidized Jobs and Job 
Search, but Revised Performance Measures Could Improve Access to Other 
Services. GAO-03-350. Washington, D.C.: January 24, 2003.

Workforce Investment Act: States' Spending Is on Track, but Better 
Guidance Would Improve Financial Reporting. GAO-03-239. Washington, 
D.C.: November 22, 2002.

Workforce Investment Act: Interim Report on Status of Spending and 
States' Available Funds. GAO-02-1074. Washington, D.C.: September 5, 
2002.

Workforce Investment Act: Better Guidance and Revised Funding Formula 
Would Enhance Dislocated Worker Program. GAO-02-274. Washington, D.C.: 
February 11, 2002.

FOOTNOTES

[1] U.S. General Accounting Office, National Emergency Grants: Services 
to Dislocated Workers Hampered by Delays in Grant Awards, but Labor Is 
Initiating Actions to Improve Grant Award Process, GAO-04-222 
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 14, 2003).

[2] A program year begins on July 1 of a year and ends on June 30 of the 
following year. A program year is designated by the year in which it 
begins. Thus, program year 2002 began on July 1, 2002, and ended on 
June 30, 2003.

[3] A displaced homemaker is an individual who has been providing 
unpaid services to family members in the home and who (1) has been 
dependent on the income of another family member but is no longer 
supported by that income and (2) is unemployed or underemployed and is 
experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.

[4] Short-term prevocational services prepare individuals for 
employment or training and include development of learning skills, 
communication skills, interviewing skills, punctuality, personal 
maintenance, and professional conduct.

[5] U.S. General Accounting Office, Workforce Investment Act: Issues 
Related to Allocation Formulas for Youth, Adults, and Dislocated 
Workers, GAO-03-636 (Washington, D.C., April 25, 2003).

[6] National emergency grant funds may not be used to pay for any costs 
of core services that have already been budgeted under available 
formula funds.

[7] In program year 2002, Labor also awarded about $3 million to 24 
states to provide funding support for system-building costs associated 
with the provision of the new health care coverage benefits for 
eligible individuals and related tax credits and about $14 million to 4 
states to provide insurance payments to eligible dislocated workers as 
authorized by the Trade Reform Act of 2002. Both of these types of 
awards are funded through a separate appropriation.

[8] National emergency grant progress reports are a separate reporting 
requirement from WIA quarterly reports that states submit for their 
adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs. States are not required 
to report data on national emergency grants in the WIA quarterly or 
annual reports. 

[9] Throughout the report, we define grant award as the date the award 
letter was sent and at which time grantees can begin obligating funds.

[10] Although 19 disaster grants and 68 dual enrollment grants were 
awarded between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2003, this information is 
based upon our review and analysis of 11 disaster grants and 49 dual 
enrollment grants for which complete information was available.

[11] Although 44 regular grant incremental payments were made between 
July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003, this information is based upon our 
review and analysis of 36 payments for which complete information was 
available.

[12] The three grants awarded to Kentucky grantees took 71, 122, and 
181 days from when the grant applications were received to when the 
award letter was signed.

[13] Labor will no longer include weekends and holidays when counting 
toward its 30-day goal. 

[14] U.S. Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter 
No. 16-03 (Washington, D.C., 2004).

[15] U.S. Department of Labor, National Emergency Grants Program: NEG 
Review Process Reengineering Project: Phase I Report, Final Report 
(March 9, 2004).

[16] The proposed guidelines also state that Labor will restart the 
counting if a state submits a revised application that Labor has not 
requested.

[17] This information is based upon the review and analysis of 16 
grants for which 150 or more calendar days elapsed between the date the 
original grant application was received and the date the award letter 
was sent.

[18] Awarding of incremental payments does not require the approval of 
the Secretary of Labor.

[19] Some information on use of national emergency grant funds is 
available in a study conducted by Social Policy Research Associates and 
funded by the Department of Labor. This study provides information on 
nine programs funded by national emergency grants in eight states. The 
sample of projects was not selected to be representative of the whole 
population of national emergency grant projects. 

[20] Use of unemployment insurance wage reports to determine the number 
of participants who entered employment is generally considered to be 
more reliable than use of information gathered by caseworkers.

[21] U.S. Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter 
No. 14-00 (Washington, D.C., 2001).

[22] Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Workforce 
Investment Act Performance Outcomes Reporting Oversight, 06-02-006-03-
390 (Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2002). 

[23] U.S. General Accounting Office, Workforce Investment Act: Labor 
Actions Can Help States Improve Quality of Performance Outcome Data and 
Delivery of Youth Services, GAO-04-308, (Washington, D.C., February 23, 
2004). 

[24] U.S. Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter 
No. 14-03 (Washington, D.C., 2003).

[25] Illinois did not respond to the survey.

[26] We initially e-mailed surveys to 42 states, but 3 states contacted 
us and explained that they had not received regular grants from program 
years 2000 to 2002. In 1 state, the grants we had identified as regular 
were actually dual enrollment grants. In 2 states, the grants we had 
identified as regular were actually incremental payments for grants 
awarded prior to program year 2000, when the grants were part of the 
Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program. We confirmed their 
information with the grant application files and did not include these 
3 states in our survey population.

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