If you’re a government program manager, it’s not likely that you’re looking forward to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) on your work. It’s kind of like hearing that 60 Minutes wants to talk to you. So, I’m sure that various workforce development programs across the US were a little worried about the findings of a new GAO study on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) that was just released today.
The report examines collaborations between employers and local workforce investment boards (WIBs) with a particular focus on 14 local programs that are especially innovative or promising. What did GAO find? Employers like the programs, partners are well-engaged, and, most importantly, local residents are gaining important job and career skills!!! For those working in the field, this should come as no surprise. But, it’s nice to see a regular critic like GAO recognize the benefits of these investments.
The GAO did also highlight some challenge areas. For example, collaborations are difficult to manage and current rules and regulations are too burdensome and complex. Most of the indentified problems are fixable, but only if current WIA rules and regulations are updated and streamlined. If not, WIBs must continue to operate via outmoded and antiquate rules and procedures. Hopefully, Congress will listen as they consider new funding and reauthorization of WIA this year. The time for change is now!