Review of Federal Manpower Programs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-11-16.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                             COMPTROLLER      GENERAL     OF      T
                                                            WASHINGTON.    D.C.

          !/        Dear       Senator   Javits     :
                            This is in further         response      to your request       of July 23,
                    1971, for data on General              Accoun.ing
                                                    - ..---m- “_          Office   efforts      in’re-
                    viewing     Federal   manpower --_ programs, inciuding         (1) a summary
                    listing     of programs    and geographical           areas covered       in our is-
                    sued reports       and ongoing reviews,            (2) a brief    discussion       of
                    our ongoing reviews,          and -he           major conclusions         which we
                    have drawn from our reviews.                 On July 26, 1971, we provided
                    your office      with a summary listing             of our recent      efforts     in
                    reviewing     Federal manpower programs.               The enclosure        to this
                    letter    presents    a brief      discussion       of our issued reports          and
                    ongoing reviews       and the major conclusions              we have drawn from
                    our reviews.

     -5                     It should be noted that some of the information         in the
                    enclosure    was developed     during   our 1968 and 1969 review   of                              .
1’                  Office    of Economic Opportunity       programs, required  under Eco-
                    nomic Opportunity       Act Amendments of 1967, and, as such, may
                    not be a valid      assessment    of the manner in which the programs
                    currently    operate.

                           You also questioned       whether   we had sufficient         legisla-
                    tive   authority    to carry    out reviews   of Federal      manpower pro-
                    grams.     Our experience     has shown that the provisions             of the
                    Budget and Accounting        Act, 1921, and the Accounting             and Au-
                    diting   Act of 1950, granting        us general  audit      authority        have
                    been adequate     for our purposes.

                           As noted in the enclosure,       two of our ongoing reviews      of
                    manpower programs      are being conducted     in New York City.      These
                    reviews,   however,    have not progressed    to the point    where we
                    have formulated     definitive   conclusions     and recommendations.

                                                     SOTH   ANNIVERSARY               192111971   jmj

        We plan    to make no further        distribution     of this report
unless    copies     are specifically      requested,     and then we shall
make distribution        only after     your agreement       has been obtained
or public      announcement      has been made by you concerning         the
contents     of the report.

                                        Sincerely    yours,

                                        Comptroller   General
                                        of the United   States


The Honorable     Jacob K.     Javits
United  States    Senate


                            MAJOR CONCLUSIONS DRAWN



        On July 1, 1959, Department               of Labor programs          were placed
under comprehensive          audit   review       by the General Accounting
Office.     Since that time we have made various                    reviews      of man-
power programs under both general                  and specific       statutory       audit
authority.      Between 1964 and 1967 we reported                   to the Congress
on a number of administrative                matters    relating      to training
under the Manpower Development                 and Training      Act of 1962.           Be-
tween 1967 and 1969 we reported                 to the Congress on improve-
ments needed in (1) contracting                 for on-the-job        training      in
the Los Angeles,        California,         area,    (2) program operations             of
the Neighborhood        Youth Corps in Detroit,              Michigan,       and Los
Angeles,    and (3) various         activities        of Job Corps centers            in
California,     Florida,      and Oregon.

       We were directed          by title      II of the 1967 amendments to
the Economic Opportunity             Act of 1964 to make a broad-scope
review     of programs      and activities         authorized        by the act.       Our
summary report         on the overall        review     of antipoverty        programs
was submitted        to the Congress in March 1969.                   It was followed
by 54 additional         reports     resulting       from our reviews         at spe-
cific    locations      and by five       supplementary         reports,     prepared
by our contractor,          on special       studies     principally       directed      to
evaluating       the achievement         of program objectives.              The pro-
grams and activities           included      certain     manpower programs:            the
Job Corps program,          Neighborhood         Youth Corps program,           Concen-
trated     Employment      Program,      Work Experience          and Training      Pro-
gram, and selected          manpower programs           administered       by Community
Action     Agencies.

       In our review      of the Job Corps program,     we made evalua-
tions    at two men's centers,       two women's centers,    and five
conservation     centers.      For the other manpower programs,       our
review    covered large-     and medium-sized    cities   as well as rural

        Because of the need to cover a wide range of programs
with limited      staff resources,   we were able to select  only a
limited     number of locations    at which to make this broad-scope
.k          .

                review.  The various  antipoverty   programs    operated                  in the
                State of New York were not included      in that review.
     - .
        /               The Senate Committee             on Labor and Public         Welfare,     in re-      J
                porting     on the 1968 amendments to the Manpower Development
                and Training      Act, urged us to broaden our evaluation                      of man-
                power programs        to give the Congress            the benefit       of indepen-
                dent reviews      of the performances            of the executive          agencies.
                In response      we have made a number of reviews                   of Federal      man-
                power programs        under our general          audit    authority       (the Budget
                and Accounting        Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C.            53), and the Accounting
                and Auditing      Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C.              67)) and have issued re-
                ports    to the Congress on these reviews.                   The reports       dealt
                with:      (1) the Special          Impact program in Los Angeles,               (2) the
                on-the-job     training         program in Appalachian         Tennessee,        (3) the
                East Bay Skills         Center in Oakland,         California,         (4) the evalu-
                ation    of the Job Opportunities             in the Business         Sector     (JOBS)
                program in five         cities,       (5) the Special      Impact program in the
                Hough area of Cleveland,               Ohio, and (6) the Work Incentive               (WIN)
                program in Los Angeles              and in Denver,       Colorado.

                       We have reviews       in progress      in the following          manpower
                areas:      (1) Concentrated        Employment    Program in rural           Missis-
                sippi   and in the south Bronx section              of New York City,           (2)
                Neighborhood       Youth Corps program in Washington,                D.C., Houston,
                Texas, and Norfolk,         Virginia,     (3) institutional          training      un-
                der the Manpower Development             and Training       Act in Boston,         Mas-
                sachusetts,      the State of South Carolina,             and the Appalachian
                area of Kentucky,        (4) Opportunities        Industrialization           Centers
                in Philadelphia,        Pennsylvania;      Milwaukee,       Wisconsin;       Dallas,
                Texas; Oklahoma City,          Oklahoma;     and Seattle,        Washington,        (5)
                Special     Impact program in the Bedford-Stuyvesant                   area of New
                York City,      and (6) local       manpower activities          supported      or
                administered       by selected      Community Action        Agencies.

                      We are also monitoring        a review    of five manpower pro-
                grams --institutional     training,     Neighborhood    Youth Corps, JOBS,
                Job Corps, and New Careers- -which          is being performed    by pri-
                vate contractors      for the Department      of Labor.

                         The ongoing reviews        generally    are being directed    toward
                an evaluation       of the results       of program operations      and the
                identification       of significant        areas of weakness in program


    administration      or concept  that require           management attention
    and action     by either   the administering           agencies  or the Con-


            We have experienced     many problems     in reviewing     manpower
    programs.      The programs   deal with such intangible          concepts   as
    the social     levels  of disadvantaged     persons    and are subject      to
    conditions     which are not amenable to reliable,           and in some
    cases not amenable to any, quantitative             measurement.      As a

           --Criteria     are lacking    by which to determine   at what
              level    of accomplishment    a program is considered   suc-

           --The large volume and variety       of data necessary    to as-
              certain  program results    have been, and still    are,
              either  not available    or not reliable.

           --Program    accomplishments      may not be fully          perceptible
              within   a relatively     short time frame.

           --Other     Federal,     State,   local,    and private      programs
              aimed at helping         the poor and changes in local            condi-
              tions,     such as declining        labor demands due to economic
              conditions,       wage scales,      and local   attitudes,       have
              their    effect    upon the same persons who receive              assis-
              tance under the manpower programs.

           Because of the above reasons,            the large number and diverse
    nature     of Federal manpower programs           and because we can review
    these programs        at only a limited      number of locations            at one
    time,   we have not drawn any overall             conclusions        regarding    the
    total   Federal      manpower effort.       We found,      however,      that cer-
    tain aspects       of the various     manpower programs           needed improve-
    ment.     Among the improvements         needed were:         the limitation        of
    enrollment      to only eligible      persons,     better     follow-up      on pro-
    gram graduates,         improved  counseling      of program enrollees,           and
    better    monitoring      of the programs      by the contractors           and the
    Department      of Labor.


         Presented   below are the conclusions    we have reached as a
result     of completed    reviews of the various   categorical  man-
power     programs.

Manpower     programs    of the
Economic     Opportunity    Act

       The manpower programs        authorized      by the Economic Oppor-
tunity    Act-- the Concentrated       Employment     Program,     Job Corps
program,     Neighborhood    Youth Corps program,          Work Experience
and Training      Program,   and Special       Impact program--have        pro-
vided training,       work experience,       and supportive      services     to
the participants.         We concluded,      however,    that,   in terms of
enhanced capabilities,        subsequent       employment,     and greater
earnings,      the program benefits       were limited.

        The Concentrated     Employment   Program,  during   the short
period    it had been in existence      at the time of our 1968-69
review,     showed some promise     of contributing   meaningfully     to
the coordination       of existing   manpower programs     in specific
target    areas.

        Job Corps members have had an opportunity                   to develop,      in
varying    degrees,   work skills     and good work habits             and to fur-
ther their     academic   education.       Overall,      however,      it appeared
that the Job Corps program,          particularly        at conservation          cen-
ters,    had achieved    only limited       success    in fulfilling         its
primary    purpose of assisting       young persons        to develop        their
capacities     for work and their       social     responsibilities.

        The in-school      and summer components                 of the Neighborhood
Youth Corps program provided                enrolled       youths with some work
experience     and with some additional                 income and resulted        in
an improvement        in their      attitudes       toward the community         and
in greater     self-esteem.            We concluded        that,    if the program
was to be used as a force                to significantly          mitigate   the drop-
out problem,      greater      flexibility         should be provided         in the
use of funds for such activities                   as the enlargement         of exist-
ing school curriculums,             more intensive           and professional      coun-
seling,    and tutoring        for potential          dropouts.

        We questioned    the need for retaining        the Neighborhood
Youth Corps program out-of-school          component as a separate
entity.     The objectives    of this    component     seemed to be en-
compassed in other existing        programs,,   particularly      in programs


authorized     under the Manpower Development       and Training    Act,
with which the out-of-school         component could be merged.         The
out-of-school       component,   as operated,  had not succeeded      in
providing     work training    in conformity   with clearly    expressed
legislative      intent.

       The Work Experience        and Training   Program,    which was re-
placed by the WIN program,          enabled persons    on the welfare       rolls
to obtain    employment     and assume more economically         gainful    roles
in society.        We noted some deficiencies       in certain    functions
of administration,        however,   which detracted     from the accom-
plishment    of the program's       mission.

       The Special     Impact program in Los Angeles was an experi-
mental   program.      Contracts        were awarded to private         profitmak-
ing firms    to provide      training       and jobs to unemployed         or un-
deremployed     disadvantaged        persons.      The program was imple-
mented hurriedly,       without       the detailed      planning    and attention
that such an innovative           approach     generally      would require      to
enhance the chances of its success and to protect                     the inter-
ests of the Government.

       Although     our field    review  was completed     before   the con-
tracts    for the operation        of the program had expired,        it was
evident      that the program in Los Angeles        had fallen    far short
of accomplishing        its objectives    and that few intended         bene-
fits   would be obtained       for the $6 million      advanced to the

      We believe    that,    although      the program did not prove to
be effective     in Los Angeles,        it could have been effective     had
it been adequately       planned    and had the contractors      been care-
fully   selected   and their      operations    adequately  monitored  by
the Department     of Labor.

        The Special    Impact program in the Hough area of Cleve-
land was designed       to plan the development     of the community,
attract    and create     industries   that would train   and employ
Hough residents,      and promote ownership      and management of
businesses    by local      residents.

      As of February   1971, after    more than 2-l/2 years of
Federal  funding,   the Special    Impact program had brought  few

         .   .
’ , ‘.           -


                     visible    benefits      to Hough.         Considering       Hough's   deep-seated
                     and long-standing          problems       of unemployment,        poor housing,       and
                     high crime rate,         however,       it would be unrealistic           to expect     a
                     major social       and economic         impact     in that short a time.         Hough
                     Area Development         Corporation         leaders     have shown a willingness
                     to recognize       their    errors      and have attempted          to correct    them.
                     We believe     that they have           learned      that complex programs        re-
                     quire planning        not only of         what to do but also of how to do

                             We concluded   that,    if the Special    Impact program      in
                     Hough is to succeed,         it must maintain   the support    of the
                     Hough community.       To this     end Hough Area Development      Corpora-
                     tion soon must demonstrate          that it can produce    successful
                     projects    which will    provide     tangible benefits  to the commu-

                     Training   under Manpower            Development
                     and Training    Act

                            On-the-job        training

                              In Appalachian        Tennessee the Department                of Labor,        two
                     community        agencies --the       contract       sponsors--and        the State
                     employment        service     needed to substantially               improve     certain
                     aspects      of on-the-job        training.          For example,        most of the
                     private      firms    operating       the program as subcontractors                   were
                     not providing         any training        beyond that normally              provided       to
                     new employees         or generally        were not hiring           for training          per-
                     sons with any different               qualifications         from those normally
                     hired.       Under these circumstances                we believe       that nothing          of
                     significance         was being accomplished              under the program in Ap-
                     palachian        Tennessee.       Federal       funds were dissipated             that could
                     have been used in productive                  on-the-job       training      activities
                     for qualified         enrollees.

                              In Los Angeles we found that certain           contracts   served
                     primarily      to reimburse   the private     employers     for on-the-
                     job training      of the same type they apparently            would have pro-
                     vided without       the Government's    financial     assistance.

                             Institutional         (classroom)          training

                           At the East Bay Skills   Center in Oakland,                        we found un-
                     deruse of facilities,  inadequate    recordkeeping,                       and acceptance

.   A.’   :   *


                  of ineligible        trainees.           Reasons    for underuse      included       (1)
                  insufficient       funding,          (2) a lack of arrangements            for other
                  federally     supported         training      programs     to use the facilities,
                   (3) a delay     between        the completion         of one training        course     and
                  the start     of another,           and (4) an inflexible         curriculum        that
                  did not readily          permit       new trainees       to enter   courses      except
                  at certain      prescribed          times.

                           The absence          of adequate       data on employment     of        former
                  trainees       made it        impossible      to measure  the center’s             overall

                  JOBS PROGRAM

                          The JOBS program      has been effective           in focusing       the at-
                  tention   of businessmen        on the employment          problems     of disad-
                  vantaged    persons   and in eliciting          broad    responses      and commit-
                  ments by many private         employers      to hire,      train,    and retain
                  the disadvantaged.         The Department         of Labor       and the National
                  Alliance    of Businessmen,        however,     had not compiled          accurate
                  data on the results        achieved,      and their      reports     on accomplish-
                  ments generally      were overstated.           The most significant            prob-
                  lems with     the JOBS program        concerned      (1) the need for more
                  accurate    and meaningful        data on program        operations       and (2) the
                  way the program      was conceived        and designed.

                          In a March 1971 report     to the Congress,      we stated     that,
                  as then conceived,     the JOBS program       was being    reasonably     suc-
                  cessful    in helping  the disadvantaged       obtain   meaningful     employ-
                  ment during    periods   of high or rising      employment      but not dur-
                  ing periods    of high or rising      unemployment.

                           The persons          whom the JOBS program            was designed        to as-
                  sist     constituted          too broad        a segment    of the population            and
                  included        many who        had no legitimate          need for assistance            un-
                  der this        type of       program.         Many persons      enrolled       in the pro-
                  gram appeared          to     require       placement    assistance       only,    not the
                  costly      on-the-job          training       and support      services     that    are
                  integral        parts    of     this     program.

                         The number of job pledges          by some prospective          employers
                  were unrealistically        high and were not always          consistent
                  with   their    abilities   or intentions     to provide      jobs.       As a
                  result    information     on JOBS program     activities      that was avail-
                  able to the Congress        did not provide       a,realistic      picture      of


industry   participation.       A significant    number of the jobs
provided   by contractors      paid low wages and appeared    to afford
little   or no opportunity      for advancement.

       On May 5 and 6, 1970, we testified     before   the Senate Sub-
committee    on Employment, Manpower,    and Poverty   and presented
our preliminary    findings and observations     on the JOBS pro-


        The WIN program has achieved        some success,     during     its
first     2 years of operation,     in training     and placing     welfare
recipients      in jobs.   This has resulted      in savings     in welfare
payments     in some cases.      The complete   results    of the program
cannot be determined      readily,    however,    because of shortcom-
ings in the program's       management information        system.

        Because of its limited       size in relation      to the soaring
welfare    rolls    and for other reasons,      the WIN program does
not appear to have had any significant              impact on reducing
welfare    payments.      The success of the WIN program           is governed,
in significant       measure,   by the state of the economy and by
the availability       of jobs for persons      trained    through    it.   The
WIN program is not basically           a job creation     program,    and dur-
ing periods      of high unemployment       it encounters     great diffi-
culty    in finding    permanent   employment     for the enrollees.