giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
Federal Funds to Train the Jobless Are Drying Up
With the economy slowly reviving, an executive from Atlas Van Lines recently visited Louisville, Ky., with good news: the company wanted to hire more than 100 truck drivers ahead of the summer moving season.

But a usually reliable source of workers, the local government-financed job center, could offer little help, because the federal money that local officials had designated to help train drivers was already exhausted. Without the government assistance, many of the people who would be interested in applying for the driving jobs could not afford the $4,000 classes to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. Now Atlas is struggling to find eligible drivers.

Across the country, work force centers that assist the unemployed are being asked to do more with less as federal funds dwindle for job training and related services.

Federal money for the primary training program for dislocated workers is 18 percent lower in today’s dollars than it was in 2006, even though there are six million more people looking for work now. Funds used to provide basic job search services, like guidance on résumés and coaching for interviews, have fallen by 13 percent.

Political fights have focused primarily on extensions of unemployment insurance, while the cuts in funds for training have passed with little debate and little notice.

At the peak in 2000, the federal government was spending more than $2.1 billion a year in today’s dollars for training programs aimed at dislocated workers under the Workforce Investment Act. Stimulus funds added close to $1.5 billion over two years, but now annual spending has receded to about $1.2 billion.

The cuts “make it harder to meet the employers’ needs,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks, which oversees four government-financed job centers in Louisville.

Employers who want to hire often complain that the jobless do not have the necessary skills. In such an environment, advocates for workers say that cutting funds for training and other services makes little sense.

In his latest budget proposal, President Obama also requested an additional $2.8 billion a year for job training over the next decade.

Whether Congress is willing to consider more aid is uncertain. The federal budget endorsed by House Republicans calls for reductions in a broad category that includes job training.

Local employers say they also feel the pinch. “We depend on those dollars to help us with training for more entry-level positions,” said Tony Bohn, chief human resources officer at Norton Healthcare, which operates more than 100 doctor’s offices in the area.
This is essentially federal money being spent to assist private employers. The employers don't want to pay for job-specific training - they want a workforce that already has those skills. So the federal government is expected to pay for it. (One company does mention it would "consider" training itself if the employee would commit to 2 years of employment; it does not say why it hasn't actually offered such a program).

I don't have a problem with this - I think it's a perfectly appropriate use of federal money, especially in a recession. But what I do want to point out is that this is one small example of the myriad ways in which public money finances private companies, in a manner that is mostly under the radar and rarely acknowledged. But when it comes time for taxes to be set, all you'll hear is that government is putting burdens on businesses and local businesses should be left alone and the government has no right to ask a private citizen to fork over his hard earned money and a demand for higher taxes is class warfare, etc, etc, etc.

Or, in the words of the great Elizabeth Warren:
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Date: 2012-04-09 02:14 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
this is one small example of the myriad ways in which public money finances private companies, in a manner that is mostly under the radar and rarely acknowledged

Yeah. Just...yeah.

Date: 2012-04-10 10:39 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Private companies sucking on the teat of public money? Hey, you don't get rich by being stupid. - JennyN (who entirely agrees about the hypocrisy of most private companies who do so and then bitch about taxes etc).

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