Multiple Employment Training Programs:

Most Federal Agencies Do Not Know If Their Programs Are Working Effectively

HEHS-94-88: Published: Mar 2, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal employment training programs for the economically disadvantaged, focusing on: (1) the collection of data on participant outcomes; (2) federal agencies' monitoring of local program performance; and (3) studies of program effectiveness.

GAO found that: (1) although federal agencies closely monitor the expenditures for employment training assistance for the economically disadvantaged, only about half of them collect data on participant outcomes; (2) only 34 percent of the agencies try to link participant outcomes to the services provided or demographic characteristics; (3) federal agencies do not know whether their programs help participants find jobs or ways to modify their programs to improve performance; (4) a program's size does not determine whether federal monitoring activities include program outcome assessments; (5) most oversight efforts focus on compliance with program requirements and procedures or the agencies' progress in providing agreed-upon services; (6) few agencies conduct program effectiveness or impact studies; (7) larger programs are more likely to be the subject of effectiveness studies, even though they account for only 16 percent of the total proposed funding for the programs reviewed; and (8) program studies do not agree on whether participants benefit from federal employment training programs.

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