The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) technology education pilot program for veterans needs to create better outcome measures to evaluate how well the program is working, along with a plan for improvement, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The VA’s Veterans Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) pilot program has had over 6,700 veterans register for the program between May 2019 through May 2022. However, GAO said VA lacks a full picture of the effectiveness of the program.

For example, 66 percent of the veterans who enrolled in the program completed their training, but VA does not know why 13 percent of veterans dropped out of the program.

“VA lacks sufficient information to compare VET TEC to other programs or to assess the effectiveness of the program at getting veterans into jobs,” the report says. “In addition, VA does not use all available data or collect additional data on employment outcomes.”

GAO said VA has identified several actions to enhance VET TEC, such as planning to develop a scorecard to assess training provider quality, and an update its employment certification form.

However, GAO said the VA has yet to develop “consistent, clear, and measurable program objectives.” Additionally, GAO said that during its review of the VA program, it received inconsistent program objectives from VA officials.

“These objectives were also not measurable because they did not include an indicator of how VA will measure progress,” GAO said. “As a result, assessing and evaluating VET TEC by the end of the pilot will likely be difficult for VA.”

GAO made six recommendations for the VA, including that the agency develop an employment rate calculation consistent with standard approaches; determine data needed to fully inform employment outcomes; and develop clear, measurable objectives for VET TEC.

VA did not agree or disagree with the recommendation to develop a standardized employment rate calculation and generally agreed with the other recommendations.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.