Youthbuild Program: Analysis of Outcome Data Needed to Determine Long-Term Benefits Page: 2 of 42
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aAccountabiity Integrity Reliability
Highlights of GAO-07-82, a report to
Why GAO Did This Study
Since 1993, the Department of
Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) has provided funding for
Youthbuild, a competitive grant
program that trains and educates
disadvantaged youth and helps
build low-income housing. In 2006,
Youthbuild was transferred to the
Department of Labor (Labor) to
better align the Youthbuild
program with existing youth
workforce and training programs.
In response to concerns about the
overall quality of Youthbuild, a
Senate report directed GAO to
assess the program. GAO's
objectives included (1) evaluating
how HUD assessed and oversaw
the program, (2) determining what
results the program achieved, and
(3) assessing how successful
grantees were in obtaining outside
funding. GAO analyzed Youthbuild
performance data, visited
Youthbuild sites, and interviewed
GAO recommends that (1) HUD
analyze closeout reports by grant
and share information on identified
problems and best practices with
its technical assistance contractor
and Labor, (2) Labor develop post-
program performance outcomes,
and (3) Labor consider multiyear
funding of grants for the program.
HUD and Labor provided
comments on a draft of this report.
Labor generally agreed with the
recommendations. HUD agreed
but cited resource constraints in
implementing its recommendation.
To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact William B.
Shear at (202) 512-4325 or email@example.com.
Analysis of Outcome Data Needed to
Determine Long-Term Benefits
What GAO Found
While HUD requires grantees to report basic performance data, such as the
number of program participants and graduates and job placements, HUD has
not aggregated or analyzed the data and conducted limited oversight of
grantees. According to HUD officials, they did not have staff available to
analyze the closeout reports that grantees must submit, and a lack of
resources also limited oversight of grantees. The monitoring HUD did
primarily focused on compliance with program requirements such as
documentation rather than on performance. As a result, HUD largely was
unable to tell how the individual Youthbuild grantee programs performed.
Limited outcome data preclude any overall assessment of the performance
of the Youthbuild program; further, the few other analyses available such as
the one GAO did in this study to augment limited existing data cannot be
generalized programwide. GAO analyzed 245 closeout reports, representing
46 percent of the grantees or 12,863 participants. While GAO could
determine percentages of participants who received high school diplomas or
were placed in jobs, GAO could not determine outcomes over time, partly
because the reports lacked baseline information and grantees were not
required to and generally did not follow participants after graduation.
Further, while closeout reports include information about impediments to
program success and "best practices," HUD did not systematically review
this information or share it with its primary technical assistance contractor.
Consequently, the lack of programwide evaluations, follow-up data, and
dissemination of best practices make it very difficult to assess the
performance of Youthbuild over time and determine which programs and
strategies have worked best. Reporting on post-program performance
outcomes, such as the number of participants placed and retained in
construction-related employment, could increase the value of the closeout
reports and better measure program results. Labor officials indicated that
they would consider including such measures for program reporting.
Grantees had varying success in obtaining funds from outside sources, but
YouthBuild USA data suggest that continued (multiyear) HUD funding was
critical to sustaining grantee operations and attracting leveraged funds.
Grantees' success in obtaining additional funds varied widely, from 21 grants
reporting no additional funding sources to 40 reporting more than $1 million.
While most grantees have generated outside funding, YouthBuild USA
reported that most grantees have had difficulty continuing operations
without continued HUD funding. Their data show that 90 percent of
grantees ceased operations if not funded for 3 consecutive years by HUD.
Further, YouthBuild USA also noted that grantees with follow-on HUD
funding achieved better performance outcomes, such as higher rates of job
placements, than grantees that did not receive subsequent HUD funding.
,United States Government Accountability Office
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Youthbuild Program: Analysis of Outcome Data Needed to Determine Long-Term Benefits, report, February 28, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302580/m1/2/: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.