Workforce Investment Act

Better Guidance Needed to Address Concerns Over New Requirements Gao ID: GAO-02-72 October 4, 2001

A competitive national economy depends on providing individuals with marketable skills and employers with access to qualified workers. In the past, the nation's job training system was fragmented and did not serve job seekers or employers well. The Workforce Investment Act in 1998 created a system that links employment, education, and training services to better match workers and labor market trends. The act represented a significant change from earlier workforce development efforts. Many of the act's provisions took effect in July 2000, and state and local organizations are at different stages of implementing them. Although the act's mandatory partners are making efforts to participate in the one-stops, programmatic or financial concerns are affecting the partners' level of participation as well as their ability to fully integrate their services at the one-stop. As implementation of the act progresses, training options for job seekers may be diminishing rather than improving, as trained providers reduce the number of courses offered to job seekers. Private-sector representatives may be discouraged from participating on workforce investment boards as a result of how states and localities are operating their boards and associated entities.


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