President Obama campaigned this week for “new and innovative approaches” to America’s economic crisis. So naturally, the futurist-in-chief filched his fresh, bold ideas straight from … the 1930s. The grand new solution to the jobs deficit, according to the White House, is more FDR-style federal job-training spending.
Sounding every bit like the whiteboard eggheads who keep spinning around the Ivy League-Washington revolving door, Obama announced breathlessly: “If we could match up schools and businesses, we could create pipelines right from the classroom to the office or the factory floor. This would help workers find better jobs, and it would help companies find the highly educated and highly trained people that they need in order to prosper and to remain competitive.”
In Obama World, private businesses are just too darned dumb to figure out how to connect the dots and create these pipelines for themselves.
In the real world, private businesses spend up to 12 times more on job-training programs and trainee salaries than state and federal governments combined, according to workforce analysts. The American Society for Training and Development reports that U.S. private entities spent an estimated $125.9 billion on employee learning and development in 2009 alone. And you can bet in these financial hard times that private-sector employers are making sure every job-training penny is well spent.
As for your tax dollars, rest assured they are being squandered the same way public-sector job trainers have been squandering such funding for the past eight decades. Earlier this year, a General Accounting Office report found that no one in the bowels of the Beltway really knows how effective the feds’ $18 billion a year spent on 47 separate job-training programs run by nine different agencies really is. That’s because half of those programs haven’t undergone a performance review since 2004, and only five have ever conducted research on whether job seekers in the program do better than those who weren’t enrolled.
Among those five, the GAO wrote, the evaluators “generally found the effects of participation were not consistent across programs, with only some demonstrating positive impacts that tended to be small, inconclusive or restricted to short-term impacts.”
This much is clear.
The Obama stimulus has funded vital workforce training expenses for a $100,000 nepotistic fraud ring in Charleston, W. V., that splurged on pet care, bar tabs and luxury hotel stays. A con-artist family employed by the state siphoned off job-training money that was supposed to subsidize technology education for 200 elderly West Virginians.
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