ACTION's Progress Toward Meeting the Goals of Its Establishment

MWD-76-4: Published: Mar 15, 1976. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 1976.

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ACTION was established to accomplish six goals for strengthening and expanding Federal volunteer services to their maximum potential, both at home and abroad. These goals are: (1) expanding the testing and development of proposed new volunteer programs; (2) providing opportunities for more people to become part time volunteers; (3) bringing together programs appealing to both younger and older Americans to use their diverse skills in joint efforts; (4) allowing interested Peace Corps volunteers to transfer to Volunteers in Service to America in order to use their skills and experience in helping the poor at home and vice versa; (5) providing broader opportunities for business and professional volunteers, previously used mainly to serve clients of the Small Business Administration; and (6) recruiting, training, and placing full time volunteers more effectively.

To date, 3 out of 16 programs tested have been adopted as operational. Almost half of ACTION's work, at about $7.4 million, has been for testing a program for local service. ACTION has been particularly successful in expanding programs with older volunteers. In its early years of development ACTION did little to encourage coordination among the volunteer programs. In fiscal year 1974 however, the agency began prescribing policies and procedures to promote program coordination. When ACTION was established interested volunteers were encouraged to serve in both the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service programs, but few did. ACTION placed little emphasis on the transfer program until fiscal year 1975 when it introduced new procedures. Although opportunities exist to use volunteers more, ACTION did little to promote the idea. In July 1975 two business and professional volunteer programs were transferred back to the Small Business Administration by Executive order. GAO found training and placement weaknesses in the Volunteers in Service to America program. ACTION has recently introduced new procedures which, if followed, should correct the weaknesses.

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