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Site Visits to Selected B Federal Users of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles PATRICIA A. ROOS The staff conducted site visits to three federal users of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The agencies chosen for detailed analysis were selected because they "rode the requisition" for the DOT, that is, they purchased the DOT in large quantities supplementary to the Employment Service's purchase order. These agencies are the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the Department of Labor, the Bureau of Disability Insurance of the Social Security Administration, and the Veterans Administration. The Department of the Navy purchased multiple copies (1,250) of the DOT; however, since these copies went directly into storage, the committee staff felt that a visit to the Department of the Navy would not be a fruitful one. BUREAU OF APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING In the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) the primary user and the office originating an order for 1,000 copies of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles is the Division of Review and Registration (DRR). The staff of the national office of BAT oversees the registration of apprenticeship programs, a procedure that involves an evaluation of whether the occupation to be apprenticed meets the criteria of eligibility (apprenticea- bility) required by BAT. From the national office, copies of the DOT were distributed to BAT representatives at the 10 regional offices and all the field offices. A copy of the DOT was also given to each of the 32 state apprenticeship councils, which coordinate their work with BAT as well as 250

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Site Visits to Selected Federal Users 251 to some of the larger program sponsors of apprenticeship programs. There are currently 543 apprenticeable occupations recognized by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. The number of people being trained for these occupations has risen from 26,137 in 1941 to 262,586 in 1977. The DOT iS a primary source book in the evaluation of a proposed apprentice- ship program-no program can be registered with BAT if the correspond- ing occupation does not have a DOT code. The Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training was established as the primary agency within the Department of Labor responsible for ensuring compliance with, and carrying out the objectives of, the National Apprenticeship Law of 1937. Though the bureau is not involved in the training itself, it works closely with employers, unions, state apprentice- ship agencies, and vocational schools to set up and monitor apprenticeship programs across the country. Responding to proposals for apprenticeship programs initiated at the local level, the Division of Review and Registration determines whether the occupation to be-apprenticed meets BAT criteria and the program meets BAT standards; if so, DRR registers the program with BAT. Although registration of apprenticeship programs with BAT iS not required, there are advantages to both employers and employees of such registration. For employers, BAT serves a training and consulting role, at no charge, advising them of the various rules and regulations (e.g., equal employment opportunity regulations) affecting their apprenticeship programs. In addition to its advisory role, BAT also benefits employers by ensuring quality education for apprentices and reducing costly job hopping. For employees, BAT ensures that upon completion of the program, participants will receive journeyman status and wages. The BAT also monitors compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act, which stipulates that in order to pay less than journeyman wages, employers must register their apprenticeship program with either BAT or a state apprenticeship agency recognized by BAT; apprentices are thus guaranteed wage protection. The bureau views its role as one of opening the door for employers and employees to work together for mutual benefit. USING THE DOT TO EVALUATE THE APPRENTICEABILITY OF OCCUPATIONS In order to be considered "apprenticeable," occupations must meet certain criteria developed by BAT, the most important of which is that the occupation be a skilled trade (no professional occupations are appren- ticed). Another criterion, the one for which the DOT iS most frequently used, is that the occupation be one that involves manual, mechanical, or technical skills and knowledge requiring a minimum of 2,000 hours (about

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252 WORK, JOBS, AND OCCUPATIONS 1 year) of on-thejob work experience. Similarly, in order for an apprenticeship program to be registered with BAT, it must include the provision that apprentices receive at least 2,000 hours of on-thejob . . training. The initial review concerning the apprenticeability of an occupation begins at the field level, when a potential program sponsor contacts a BAT representative in order to have an apprenticeship program registered. At this point a nine-digit DOT code is assigned to the occupation to be apprenticed. If no such code exists, the national BAT office requests the Division of Occupational Analysis to undertake a complete job analysis study to create one. Once a nine-digit DOT code is assigned to an occupation to be apprenticed, the DOT is used primarily in verifying that the number of hours of on-thejob training (or term) specified by the program sponsor (in the description of the work process to be completed by the apprentice) matches the specific vocational preparation (svP) estimate associated with the corresponding journeyman occupation. As mentioned above, an apprenticeship program must require a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the- job training in order to be registered with BAT. The BAT staff with whom I spoke use the following equivalence between the required term of the apprenticeship program and the svP estimates in order to verify the length of training time estimated by program sponsors: Term svP Code (and Definitions) 1 year 2 years 3 - years 4 years not applicable 5 (6 months to 1 year) 6 (1-2 years) 7 (over 2 - years) 8 (over ~10 years) 9 (over 10 years) As an example, let us suppose that a program sponsor submitted a work process description for an apprentice Wool-and-Pelt Grader and noted that the apprenticeship tenure should be 2 years. The svP code associated with the journeyman occupation corresponding to an apprentice Wool- and-Pelt Grader is 4, which suggests that the vocational training required is less than 6 months. The BAT staff would thus note that the term specified by the employer did not correspond to the svP estimate of training time, and since the latter was lower than the required 2,000 hours, the program would not be registered. Since the 2,000-hour rule is also one of the criteria used to determine the apprenticeability of an occupation, a similar matching process takes place in that evaluation. When the term and svP estimates do not match, there can be two explanations: either the employer

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Site Visits to Selected Federal Users 253 overestimated the amount of training needed, or the svP estimate was miscoded. If the latter is believed to be the case, BAT could recommend that the occupation go back for additional job analysis. The svP specification is thus used to make distinctions among occupations in the amount of training time required to reach journeyman status; those occupations not requiring at least 2,000 hours of on-thejob training are not registered by BAT (2,000 hours is equivalent to an svP level of 5 or above). The svP estimates used by the bureau are taken from an interim report prepared in February 1978 by the Division of Occupational Analysis (U.S. Department of Labor, 1978b). It will be superseded by the as-yet-unpublished supplement to the fourth edition DOT, "Selected Characteristics of Occupations," which is being financed by the Social Security Administration and includes the entire range of worker traits. The worker function codes for DATA, PEOPLE, and THINGS are also used by BAT to provide an indication of the skill level of a job-that is, the higher the code, the lower the skill level required. The general education development (GED) scale is also occasionally used to compare the entrance requirements of occupations with the description of the job as provided in the work process report. The DOT definitions themselves are occasionally used to evaluate the adequacy of the work process descriptions provided by the program sponsors. In addition to these specific uses, the DOT codes are used in the State and National Apprenticeship Reporting System (SNAPS), a statistical reporting system that provides a breakdown of the distribution of participants in apprenticeship programs by race, ethnicity, veteran status, and sex. Other than the DOT, BAT uses two other specially prepared reports of the occupational analysis program. One is the interim report mentioned above, and the other is a frequently used three-volume computer printout that provides a conversion from third edition to fourth edition DOT codes; the printout also lists deletions made between the two editions. A third frequently used source book for occupational information is the Occupa- tional Outlook Handbook. ADEQUACY OF THE DOT The stab at BAT view the DOT as being crucial to their work. The DOT code itself, the job definitions, and especially the svP codes are used regularly in evaluating the apprenticeability of occupations and registering apprentice- ship programs. Those with whom we spoke made detailed suggestions for improving the fourth edition DOT (e.g., the DOT should be hardbound and in a loose-leaf format).

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254 WORK, JOBS, AND OCCUPATIONS On a more substantive level, BAT staff would like to see the apprentice- ship codes in the fourth edition removed. Since they view apprenticeships as only temporary, BAT staff always use the journeyman code that represents the occupational objective of the apprentice. To include a DOT code for apprentices suggests that permanent apprenticeship occupations exist, a practice that goes against the spirit of apprenticing occupations. It was noted that some of the apprenticeship codes in the fourth edition DOT do not even have a corresponding journeyman code (e.g., 863.364-010, Insulation Worker Apprentice (construction)~. Another problem for BAT with the fourth edition DOT iS that some occupations recognized as apprenticeable by BAT were consolidated and not given separate entries in the DOT (and thus not recognized as separate occupations). Further coordination between BAT and the occupational analysis program was suggested in order to correct this problem. Finally, BAT staff would like to see apprenticed occupations noted in some way in the next edition of the DOT; for example, occupations recognized as apprenticeable by BAT could be set in boldface type for easier accessibility by training representatives. BUREAU OF DISABILITY INSURANCE A request for 2,240 copies of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles originated from the Medical and Vocational Methods Branch of the Bureau of Disability Insurance (BDI), an agency in the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Medical and Vocational Methods Branch is concerned with the formulation and dissemination of policy concerning the medical definition of disability. From BDI, copies of the DOT were distributed to the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals (the appellate level) and to the 10 regional offices for distribution to state disability agencies. Eligibility for benefits under Title 2 of the social security legislation depends on establishing that a person's disabilities are debilitating in the sense that they keep him or her from being employed in the same or "similar" work that he or she has performed in the past. The legislation's definition of disability mandates that a person's ability to perform alternative work be evaluated before disability benefits are awarded. According to BD! personnel the DOT has become the primary source document used in this evaluation. At the time of the site visit, SSA personnel were not employing the fourth edition DOT, since the relevant supplement, Selected Characteristics of Occupations (Physical Demands, Working Conditions, Training Tim esJ, for which the Social Security Administration contributed $50,000, was not yet published. (A similar

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Site Visits to Selected Federal Users 255 supplement had been prepared for the third edition (U.S. Department of Labor, 19664.) The determination of whether disability allowances should be awarded may be made solely on the basis of a medical assessment of disability. However, if examiners cannot adjudicate on the basis of medical evidence alone, they use the DOT to make an assessment of what functions the individual is able to perform, that is, they make a determination of his or her "residual functional capacity." This assessment involves the develop- ment of a vocational profile based on an evaluation of the physical exertion and skill levels of past employment. This profile can then be matched against recommended alternative employment to determine whether, with a given disability, an individual is capable of performing "substantial gainful employment." If not, disability benefits are allowed. USING THE DOT TO DETERMINE DISABILITY AWARDS The processing of disability claims begins at the local social security office when an individual comes in to file for disability benefits. A claims representative interviews the client and writes up a description of the client's disability and work experience for the past 15 years. The claim is then transmitted to the Disability Determination Section (DDS) of the state's vocational rehabilitation agency, where an adjudicator assembles the relevant medical and vocational evidence. On the basis of this evidence the adjudicator determines whether the individual should be awarded benefits on the basis of medical evidence alone or whether alternative employment exists in which the individual could find work. The primary role of the vocational specialists at the Medical and Vocational Methods Branch (national office) is in mediating disability disputes between the local district offices and the state DDS. The role of mediator usually involves interpreting the Social Security Administration's rules and regulations as they relate to recommending jobs for the disabled claimant. Disputes usually involve an evaluation of the transferability of the claimant's skills to recommended other employment. The DOT iS used primarily for making an assessment of the kind of employment the claimant can perform, given the disability incurred and his or her past employment. The underlying principle employed in the evaluation process is that if the physical, mental, and skill levels of the disabled individual match the physical, mental, and skill demands of his or her previous employment, disability benefits are not allowed. If the individual cannot perform his or her past employment, a determination is then made as to whether there exist other jobs in the national economy (without regard to whether such jobs are locally available) that the

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256 WORK, JOBS, AND OCCUPATIONS disabled person could perform (e.g., work similar to previous employment but perhaps requiring less exertion). Various volumes and supplements of the DOT are used in assessing the physical, mental, and skill levels of previous work experience and potential employment. In determining whether skills are transferable between past and alternative employment (i.e., whether recommended jobs are appropri- ate), vocational specialists occasionally use the following questions as general guidelines: 1. Are jobs at the same or a lower skill level? (Jobs at higher skill levels are not recommended.) 2. Do new jobs involve the same or similar tools? 3. Do recommended jobs involve similar processing and products? These guidelines are merely suggestive, since "appropriate" employment does not necessarily have to be similar to previous employment on all three factors. This determination of the transferability of skills between past and potential employment is made by referring to Supplement One of the third edition DOT, Selected Characteristics of Occupations, since the relevant fourth edition supplement has not yet been published. This volume contains information on worker trait groups, industry, physical demands, working conditions, and the GED and svP training time specifications, all of which are employed to develop a vocational profile of the claimant. In order to ensure that recommended jobs are not at a higher skill and function level than previous employment, the analyst uses the worker function specifications of DATA, PEOPLE, and THINGS. It is assumed that the higher the worker function score, the lower the skill level of the occupation. For example, if the person's previous employment had a worker function score of 884, the analyst would seek other "884" jobs that are similar in other ways (such as being in the same industry) either by referring to the DOT classification in Supplement One to find other jobs clustered near the original occupation or by referring to the worker trait groups (in which jobs with the same worker traits are arranged together), provided in Volume 2 of the third edition DOT. Jobs that are likely possibilities are then checked by referring to the job definitions and job characteristics. In order to be considered appropriate alternative work, recommended jobs must not have DATA, PEOPLE, and THINGS codes lower (skill level higher) than the codes of the claimant's past work experience. A similar sort of comparison process is carried out with the GED and svP specifications, which are taken to represent another part of the claimant's job profile. In order to be considered appropriate, recommended

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Site Visits to Selected Federal Users 257 jobs must be at the same or similar levels of GED and svP, which are also loosely taken as measures of the skill level of the job. Although the analysts do not translate GED codes into years of schooling, a general rule of thumb is to call jobs in levels 1 and 2 "unskilled" and to call jobs in levels 3 and above "skilled." The third component of the composite job profile takes into consider- ation the physical demands and the working conditions of the job. The physical demands assessed are the amount of strength (whether the job is sedentary or whether it requires light, medium, heavy, or very heavy lifting), the need to climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, reach, handle, finger, feel, talk, hear, and see. The working conditions defined by the DOT include whether the job is typically performed indoors, outdoors, or both and whether it involves extremes of heat or cold, wetness, humidity, noise, vibration, hazards, fumes, odors, toxic conditions, dust, or poor ventilation. These characteristics of recommended jobs can be compared with the job profiles developed for the claimant's previous employment in order to find matches at lower levels of exertion that the individual can potentially perform, given his or her disabilities. The principle involved in the comparison includes determining whether, given the particular physical and/or mental impairment, the individual can do the job. ADEQUACY OF THE DOT The BD] personnel interviewed felt that there were no other occupational source books that came close to providing the information currently existing in the DOT. They felt that if the DOT were to be discontinued, their judgments regarding the determination of disability would be more speculative and unrealistic: adjudicators would have to make decisions solely on the basis of medical evidence without giving appropriate weight to the vocational background of the claimant. Only one minor complaint was offered about the DOT product itself: analysts occasionally question the function or skill level assigned to a particular occupation. Because problems come up so rarely, there is no formal mechanism set up to apprise the Division of Occupational Analysis so that revisions can be incorporated into future editions of the DOT. The analysts provided two examples of what they consider to be underestimates of the physical exertion required on the job: the job of Nurse's Aide was rated as requiring only light lifting, while BD! staff believe that it should have a rating of "medium"; the job of Motorman in a mine was also rated as requiring only light lifting, while BD] staff felt it should have a rating of "medium."

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258 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION WORK, JOBS, AND OCCUPATIONS The Veterans Administration (VA) ordered 520 copies of the fourth edition Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The office initiating this request was the Counseling and Rehabilitation Section of the Division of Education and Rehabilitation Service. From this office the dictionaries were distributed to 58 regional offices. The VA site visit was conducted at the Washington, D.C., regional office of the Counseling and Rehabilitation Section (C&R) SO as to gain awareness of how the DOT iS used in the field offices. During fiscal 1977 the D.C. regional once provided readjustment benefits to 20,439 people and awarded $11,542,358 in monetary benefits. During fiscal 1978, approximately 2,400 veterans received counseling through this office; the majority of these people are disabled veterans who are required to undergo rehabilitation counseling in order to file for benefits. The Veterans Administration is responsible for carrying out the provisions of Title 38 of the U.S. Code Veterans Benefits. The C&R oversees the implementation of four chapters of Title 38: 1. Chapter 34, the GI Bill, offers educational assistance to veterans who entered the military prior to January 1, 1977. 2. Chapter 32 provides similar assistance for those veterans who entered the military on or following January 1, 1977. 3. Chapter 35, the Dependents Program, offers educational assistance to war orphans or dependents of permanently disabled veterans. 4. Chapter 31, the Disabled or Vocational Rehabilitation Program, provides rehabilitative counseling and vocational training and makes recommendations for the payment of benefits to service-disabled veterans. The D.C. regional office serves an idiosyncratic clientele because of its location. Many of the clients receiving counseling or benefits through this office are eventually employed in government jobs. Another feature of the D.C. clientele is that it is highly educated or, more specifically, in the process of becoming highly educated. Of the 635 veterans currently receiving educational assistance through the D.C. office, approximately 500 are in college programs, most of which are 4-year programs. USING THE DOT IN COUNSELING AND REHABILITATION Veterans who use the services of the Counseling and Rehabilitation Section may do so by choice or because their attendance is mandatory. Disabled veterans must undergo counseling if they wish to take advantage of the veterans' assistance benefits under Title 38; other veterans are not

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Site Visits to Selected Federal Users 259 required to undergo counseling but may choose to do so. Once a veteran is adjudged eligible for counseling and/or rehabilitation services, he or she is given an appointment with a counseling psychologist (cP). Although one of the services of the cP's is personal psychological counseling, they use the DOT primarily in their role as occupational or vocational counselors in exploring the client's vocational plans and developing occupational objectives. Once the client and the counselor agree on an occupational objective, the six-digit third edition DOT code (the VA plans to switch to the nine-digit fourth edition code shortly) is assigned to identify that objective. In addition to using the DOT code to identify the occupational objective, the counselors use the DOT for occupational exploration. They use the DOT in this context to define tasks within each occupation or job so that the client can determine which jobs are well suited to his or her constellation of skills and/or interests. Following the interview with the counseling psychologist, disabled veterans (or dependents who are themselves disabled) meet with vocational rehabilitation specialists (VRS) who supervise their retraining. The VRS'S, in consultation with the client, make recommendations regarding the particular rehabilitative training that the client should undergo and the benefits that should be paid. In this context the VRS also uses the six-digit DOT code identified previously to define the agreed-on occupational objective. In the role of rehabilitative specialist the VRS uses the DOT job definitions to determine whether the client can perform the various tasks involved in such employment. In this context the VRS often checks on the physical and environmental attributes of the occupation, as provided in the third edition DOT, to verify the suitability of the employment for the particular client. The fourth edition DOT job definitions are used in a variety of ways by the counselors. Counselors remarked that they often encourage their clients to read through various job definitions to get an idea of the tasks involved in particular occupations in order to determine which are most suitable for them, given their interests and skills. One counselor remarked that she had clients read through the task descriptions in order to help them prepare resumes for job interviews by reminding them what tasks were involved in their previous occupations. The job definitions are also used when disagreements arise between the veteran and the professional staff regarding "suitable employment." If a veteran disagrees with the assessment of the counselor, the case can go before the Board of Veterans Appeals. In such a situation the counselor prepares a statement of the case, citing relevant laws and regulations. In this context he or she often references the DOT to document the case by describing the tasks inherent in a particular occupational category.

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260 WORK, JOBS, AND OCCUPATIONS None of the staff with whom we spoke used the military occupation codes or definitions, which were added to the fourth edition DOT. Since they are interested only in the transferability of military skills to civilian occupations, they found no use for codes that refer to military-specific occupations. In fact, they used the military occupational specialty (MOS) itself only when it involved skills that were directly transferable to desired civilian occupations. The counselors do not make use of either the GED and svP estimates or the supplement to the third edition DOT funded by the Social Security Administration, Selected Characteristics of Occupations (Physical De- mands, Working Conditions, Training Times). They did, however, mention that they used the physical and environmental attributes of occupations, provided in the worker trait section of the third edition DOT. Their use of these attributes is not exploratory, in the sense of searching out occupations particularly suited to people with specific handicaps. Counsel- ors use them instead as a validation mechanism to ascertain whether a client will be able to perform a particular occupation, given his or her service-related disabilities. Counselors also use the worker function data from the DOT in conjunction with other occupational exploration material such as the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory and Holland's Self-Directed Search. Once an occupation or set of occupations has been targeted via the self- directed search method, the client has specific DOT titles and codes with which to work. From this point the counselor can work backward, using the relationship to data, people, and things codes to verify that the occupations are appropriate given the client's interests, skills, and self- descriptions. For example, if a person is interested in working with people and the results from the psychological testing confirm this, the counselor uses the PEOPLE code (the fifth digit of the DOT code) to verify that the occupational objectives they are discussing indeed involve significant interaction with people. ADEQUACY OF THE DOT On the whole the counselors view the existence of the DOT as crucial to their work. The DOT code itself is basic to maintaining statistical records on occupational objectives of veterans. The job definitions, with their detailed description of the constituent tasks involved in particular occupations, assist the counselors in developing educational and occupa- tional objectives with their clients. However, the C&R staff did have some detailed suggestions for improving the fourth edition DOT. The first suggestion has to do with the physical packaging of the

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Site Visits to Selected Federal Users 261 product. The fourth edition, they believe, is too unwieldy to use efficiently, owing to its bulk and its soft cover. Their recommendation is that it be produced as two hard-covered volumes. In addition, one counselor mentioned that the alphabetical listing is too difficult to use, since it is buried in the middle of the book. Another common criticism is that important titles are still missing, especially titles specific to the government sector. The particular titles mentioned were intake worker, accounting technician, accounting clerk, and various paraprofessional occupations. The counselors recommended that all civil service occupations be incorporated directly into the DOT. It was also noted that many occupations are not easy to find in the DOT because of the high degree of cross-referencing. Finally, the staff expressed a desire for more training on the use of the worker function data of the DOT, since many of them were uncomfortable with the actual use of the DATA, PEOPLE, and THINGS codes. They felt that they understood the concept but lacked any real ability to apply that knowledge to vocational planning in other than a very primitive way.