Outlines the accomplishments and challenges in implementing the workforce and UI provisions of the Recovery Act, highlights new and promising practices, and provides guidance to the Employment and Training Administration, to the states, and to local workforce investment areas.

“The purpose of this project was to measure the accomplishments and challenges in implementing the workforce and UI provisions of the Recovery Act, to highlight new and promising practices, and to provide guidance to the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), to the states, and to local workforce investment areas. The ETA received monthly reports from the states on their expenditures and activities, but it did not receive systematic in-depth information about the implementation of the workforce components of the Recovery Act” (p. vii). The study team assessed progress and challenges related to the following federal workforce development programs that were awarded the noted amount of resources: Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult Program ($494 million), the WIA Dislocated Worker program ($1,184 million), and the Wagner-Peyser Act ($148 million for unrestricted services and $247 million for reemployment services). In addition, they studied progress and challenges with unemployment insurance (UI) programs ($45 billion over 10 years) (p. v-viii). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Workforce Development and Unemployment Insurance Provisions Final Report

Major Findings & Recommendations

Challenge highlights: • “The most commonly cited challenge, mentioned by 17 of the 20 states visited, was dealing with the Recovery Act reporting requirements…focused on the need to set up, with little notice, new reports that were different from their regular reports in terms of schedule and, in some instances, content. The frequency of reporting — monthly rather than quarterly —also was viewed by some states as burdensome” (p.280). • “The next most frequently identified challenge…was funding issues, mentioned by 12 of the 20 states visited. The specific challenges identified varied among the states. One state (Colorado) said that its procurement requirements led to delays in spending some of its Recovery Act funds. The state’s workforce officials observed that the state’s procurement process can be long and cumbersome and that trying to get Recovery Act funds out quickly and meeting procurement requirements can (in some cases) be a great difficulty. Two states (Colorado and Florida) stated that they had experienced difficulties spending Recovery Act funds because ETA adjusted their waivers and limited the amount by which they could transfer their WIA Dislocated Worker funds to the Adult program” (p.283). • “Many of the states during both the initial and follow-up site visits expressed serious concerns about what would occur once the Recovery Act funds were spent. Some states mentioned that if customers were enrolled in long-term training, they might not be able to continue, or the following year’s enrollment would drop dramatically” (p.283). • “The fourth most identified challenge with regard to the Recovery Act—mentioned by 12 of the 20 states — was staffing issues, particularly related to bringing on new staff and providing necessary training” (p.285). Accomplishments are detailed on pages 288-298: • “Successful development and administration of the WIA Summer Youth Program, • Serving more customers, • Changes to the state’s training programs, • Significant service enhancements, • [and] Reemployment services and enhanced relationships between the Employment Service and UI” (p.288). (Abstractor: Author)