Dislocated Workers:

Proposed Re-employment Assistance Program

HRD-94-61: Published: Nov 12, 1993. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed re-employment assistance program for workers who are displaced as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), focusing on whether the proposed program meets the goals for a successful re-employment program.

GAO found that: (1) the proposed program contains similar problems identified in the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs; (2) the proposed program would address three significant problems concerning the TAA certification process including ensuring equal access to services by changing eligibility criteria, ensuring timely service delivery, and eliminating TAA training waivers by requiring that all recipients of income support programs be enrolled in training courses; (3) the program will not likely meet the key goals of an effective re-employment assistance program because expedition of the certification process seems unrealistic and DOL has not determined whether job search activities should be valid substitutes for classroom training in considering participants' eligibility for income support assistance; and (4) if NAFTA is passed, DOL can address these problems as it develops implementing regulations.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Labor developed a NAFTA program recognizing several of the GAO suggestions.

    Recommendation: If NAFTA is enacted, the Secretary of Labor should address the concerns GAO raised about the bridge program for workers dislocated as a result of NAFTA in its implementing regulations. First, processes should be developed that ensure that the certification process is as quick and as fair as possible. Second, other activities, in addition to classroom training, such as job search assistance, should be allowable in considering participants' eligibility for income support.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor


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