Veterans' Employment and Training Service:

Better Planning Needed to Address Future Needs

T-HEHS-00-206: Published: Sep 27, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 2000.

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Sigurd R. Nilsen
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) and its planning activities under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on: (1) VETS' strategic plan for fiscal year (FY) 2000 through FY 2005 and its FY 2001 performance plan; (2) the adequacy of VETS' plans to address how it will operate in the one-stop center environment; and (3) issues related to the quality of VETS' performance data.

GAO noted that: (1) VETS has made some progress and improvements with regard to its current strategic and performance plans; (2) VETS has revised its mission statement to better focus on the outcomes associated with accomplishing its mission--namely, to minimize unemployment and underemployment among veterans; (3) the plans no longer contain much of the extraneous information found in past plans; (4) however, while VETS has improved the form and, to some degree, the content of its plans, VETS is still not adequately describing the direction it intends to take; (5) for example, VETS has not established a consistent set of priorities in terms of which veterans it intends to target for employment assistance; (6) additionally, VETS has not developed sufficient strategies to address the major and complex challenges it faces, such as how best to incorporate its programs into the new workforce development system established by the Workforce Investment Act; (7) in fact, VETS appears to be taking a reactive rather than a proactive approach wherein it could help shape how its programs will help veterans in the future; (8) for example, while VETS recognizes that the establishment of one-stop centers will increase the number of its service delivery points, it has not developed any plans to address how it will provide assistance at all centers; and (9) the quality of some of VETS' program management data is questionable and, therefore, it is unlikely VETS can accurately assess its performance nationally and know whether it is improving from year to year.

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