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Highlights

To create a more comprehensive workforce investment system, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 requires states and localities to coordinate most federally funded employment and training services into a single system, called the one-stop center system. This report examines how selected one-stop centers have used the law's flexibility to implement their own vision of WIA and provides information on promising practices for (1) streamlining services for job seekers, (2) engaging the employer community, (3) building a solid one-stop infrastructure by strengthening partnerships across programs and raising additional funds. In addition, it provides information on the actions the Department of Labor is taking to collect and share information about what is working well for job seeker and employer customers in one-stop centers.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Labor 1. In order to better understand and disseminate information on how well different approaches to program integration are meeting the needs of one-stop job seekers and employers, the Secretary of Labor should collaborate with the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development to develop a research agenda that examines the impacts of various approaches to program integration on job seeker and employer satisfaction and outcomes, such as job placement and retention.
Closed - Implemented
Labor committed to collaborating with the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Health and Human Services (HHS) on cross-cutting research. Labor began working with HHS on a research project on low-wage workers benefits and services. In addition, Labor will be working jointly with Education, HUD, and HHS to identify areas of common interest for the development of a research agenda around those areas. Labor is collaborating on a number of inter-agency initiatives that relate to transportation, the chronically homeless, the disabled, veterans, financial literacy services, commerce and entrepreneurship, and services for the limited English speaking. Workgroups comprised of Assistant Secretaries and senior managers from Labor, Education, HHS, VA and Transportation, are creating initiatives resulting in state and local level activity that often have research components on the specific project or demonstration being carried out. Furthermore, Labor is implementing the OMB-approved common performance measures on all grantee programming, as are the other major federal agencies. The data collection and reporting on common measures should enable the other Departments to review outcomes on similar measures and populations to promote higher integration of service policies, however data based on the new system will not be available nationally for several years.
Department of Labor 2. In order to better understand and disseminate information on how well different approaches to program integration are meeting the needs of one-stop job seekers and employers, the Secretary of Labor should conduct a systematic evaluation of the promising practices Web site and ensure that it is effective.
Closed - Implemented
Labor has undertaken a strategic review of all of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) web sites that communicate information from ETA to the workforce investment system and GAO's other customers/stakeholders. Labor said that as a result of this review of ETA's communication strategies, and taking into account the resources available for this activity, the Promising Practices site was consolidated into the Workforce Tools of the Trade site (http://www.workforcetools.org/), which is targeted to workforce professionals. Some of the technology and vocabulary that was developed under the Promising Practices site will be used in Workforce Tools of the Trade, which will provide better access to best practice information to the targeted group of individuals who need access to this information.

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