While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making progress in communicating with training providers, veterans, and employers for its pilot program to support veterans enrolling in certain technology training programs, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said VA has yet to come up with documented and measurable pilot objectives for the program, among other shortfalls.

A new report from GAO looks at how VA is implementing leading practices for effective pilot program design of its Veterans Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) established in 2019. The watchdog agency’s preliminary observations find that in addition to VA falling short on documented, measurable pilot objectives, it has yet to implement practices for assessment, evaluation, and scalability.

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“While VA officials said that they plan to formally evaluate VET TEC towards the end of the pilot, they did not provide specific information about what the evaluation will entail,” the GAO report states. “In addition, VA is not well positioned to assess the scalability of the program because VA officials may not have a complete picture of veteran or training provider demand for VET TEC.”

On a more positive note, the report does spotlight that VA has conducted effective stakeholder communication and outreach.

“Another leading practice for effective pilot design is that appropriate two-way stakeholder communication and input should occur at all stages of the pilot, including design, implementation, data gathering, and assessment,” the report said. “VA officials said they engage with stakeholders, such as training providers and veterans, and have made changes to the program in response,” GAO said.

GAO said it plans to examine VA’s efforts to design and implement the VET TEC pilot in accordance with leading practices, and will make recommendations for improvement, as appropriate

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.