Workforce Investment Act: One-Stop System Infrastructure Continues to Evolve, but Labor Should Take Action to Require That All Employment Service Offices Are Part of the System

GAO-07-1096 Published: Sep 04, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 04, 2007.
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In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), requiring states and localities to bring together employment and training programs into a single workforce system, the one-stop system. States have flexibility in how they provide these services--colocated within the one-stop--through electronic linkage or referral. WIA did not provide funds to pay for the infrastructure costs, but programs must share the costs of operating one-stop centers. As Congress considers reauthorization of WIA, GAO assessed (1) the current composition of states' one-stop systems and how this has changed, (2) what funds are primarily used to support states' one-stop system infrastructure and how this has changed, and (3) the extent to which states are monitoring customer satisfaction. Our work was primarily based on a 50-state survey of state workforce officials, updating work we previously did in 2000 and 2001.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Labor The Secretary of Labor should step up action to ensure compliance with the Wagner-Peyser Act and its implementing regulations by requiring that all stand-alone offices be affiliated or linked in some way, either electronically or through direct referral, with the one-stop system. Such actions may include additional technical assistance and working with states to establish progress benchmarks with the understanding that failure to meet the benchmarks may result in further action up to and including a loss of grant funding.
Closed – Implemented
The Employment and Training Administration's (ETA's) regional administrators contacted the states we identified to assess their compliance and submitted a report on their findings. In reviewing that report, we have concluded that the states are now in compliance. State officials have certified that the stand-alone alone offices are either electronically or technologically linked to the one-stop system. States' compliance is routinely assessed as part of monitoring visits conducted by ETA's regional staff.

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