Veterans' Employment and Training Service

Strategic and Performance Plans Lack Vision and Clarity Gao ID: T-HEHS-99-177 July 29, 1999

Congress has made it clear that alleviating unemployment and underemployment among veterans is a national responsibility. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs runs most services for veterans, the Department of Labor is responsible for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) and other programs designed to help veterans obtain jobs and training. This testimony focuses on VETS' (1) strategic plan for fiscal years 1999 through 2004 and (2) fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan.

GAO noted that: (1) while including each of the basic components required by the Results Act, VETS' May 1999 revised strategic plan and its FY 2000 performance plan lack vision and clarity and do not clearly identify what the program is to achieve and the direction the agency intends to take; (2) for example, the strategic plan includes a mission statement and associated strategic goals, yet neither are clearly conveyed, making it difficult to understand where VETS is trying to go and how it is planning to get there; (3) similarly, GAO found that VETS' annual performance plan provides only a limited picture of the agency's intended performance for FY 2000; (4) the planning and communication framework established by the Results Act gives VETS an opportunity to discuss its responsibilities and how it intends to fulfill them, describe areas for improvement, and discuss steps it will take to improve its performance; (5) but VETS has not taken full advantage of this opportunity; and (6) its strategic and performance plans fail to address how it will help shape the way employment services are delivered to veterans and, in particular, how it will adapt to the new employment training environment being created by technological changes and the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

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