The Obama budget for next fiscal year adds $11.6 billion—most of the Labor Department’s spending request– for job training programs. This is in spite of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that Federal job training programs are rife with waste and fraud.
The Keynesian spending route pursued by the Obama Administration, in hopes of bolstering the economy and creating jobs, has failed while running up a federal debt of more than $14 trillion. Some 1.4 million people have been out of work for 99 weeks or longer, as noted in a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report. With loss of skills, job training and retraining are essential for rehiring and economic growth.
The newly released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report exposes a “broken web” of federal job training and unemployment programs. Some 47 separate employment and training programs were run by nine different federal agencies at a cost of about $18 billion.
Only five of these 47 programs have had an assessment study completed since 2004 to see what, if any outcomes resulted from the programs rather than from another cause. Half of the programs have not had a performance review since 2004. The GAO found that “little is known about the effectiveness of most programs.”
Nearly all federal training programs “overlap with at least one other program.”
For the nearly 14 million Americans out of work and millions more underemployed “no issue weighs more heavily than income security and learning new skills to better compete in a challenging job market,” said the GAO report.
The federal government, however, has taken on a role for which it was never intended. “The authority to operate job training programs is left to the states under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. When the federal government oversteps the enumerated powers delegated to it under the Constitution, it is often at the expense of properly conducting its expected role.”
Sufficient incentives exist “in the private sector to train employees to fill their business needs.”
The dozens of federal training programs and billions of dollars spent “have left millions of Americans grasping for the skills they need. But “without demonstrable results, these programs are merely siphoning away resources that could be better spent elsewhere, or not spent at all,” added the report.
One of the few programs which had an impact study conducted since 2004 was the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Workers program. In December 2008, an evaluation found the benefits for laid-off workers in the WIA to be “small or nonexistent.”
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