Jobs Training: Four Percent Effective
Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama is quick to "invest" taxpayer money on his and cronies' pet projects. One such investment is in jobs training. Obama, at Lorain Community College in Elmira, OH, in April 2012, talked about his "job training initiatives to help more Americans get back to work and connect unemployed Americans with the skills training they need to find jobs in high-demand, high-growth industries ...[.]" That sounds great, but (and there's always a "but" when Obama is involved) are his "job training initiatives" effective in terms of employment and money spent? Evidence suggests that, in both areas, his initiatives have been less than spectacular.
"Approximately 26 million citizens were served by federal job training programs in 2009 - an $18 billion expenditure - but only 4% of participants received the type of classroom-based skills instruction that leads to lifelong income gains." "The vast majority [of job training program participants] were given job referral services designed to put them to work as quickly as possible." These quotes comes from a study conducted by the Parthenon Group, reported in October 2011. The report addressed this question: "Do these programs meet the current and future needs of our workforce?" The report's conclusion: no!
The report states:
"But the vast majority [of job training or workforce training programs] would more accurately be described as job referral or rehabilitation programs - short-term efforts to place people in jobs based on knowledge or experience they already have." (Emphasis mine.)
"Only one of every 25 Americans [four percent] served by federal job training programs actually receives classroom-based skills training - the type of instruction that leads to higher paying and more meaningful jobs in the long run."
"Job Corps, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult, WIA Dislocated Workers, WIA Youth, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Trade Adjustment Assistance ... are geared toward job placement, not long-term skill building."
Did you get that? Job referrals, job rehabilitation, skills they already have, geared toward job placement, one in 25! And all for "only" $18 billion each year. Talk about waste!
The Parthenon report also addressed this question: "What is the role of higher education - particularly private-sector career colleges - in addressing these needs [well-educated workers to fill millions of highly skilled jobs that exist today]?" The report states:
"Federal job training programs actually rely on private sector and community colleges to provide almost all of their classroom-based skills instruction."
"Only a handful of federal job training programs provide long-term skills training and very few of these offer unique instructional programs of their own design. The vast majority subsidize classroom training that is developed and carried out by community and private-sector colleges."
"Federal job training programs have neither the capacity nor the expertise to train a 21st Century workforce. When they do provide training, it is almost 100% outsourced through grants to other career education organizations[.]"
As if the above facts weren't bad enough, Obama's FY2014 budget calls for $8 billion to be spent on job-training programs at community colleges. That's in addition to the $18 billion to be spent on "job training." More inefficiency and duplication.
So the question is: "Since federal job training initiatives are so ineffective and rely upon private-sector career colleges, why do these programs continue to exist, to continue to be funded?" The answer is coming.
Guess how many job training initiative programs exist. Forty-seven, operated by nine different agencies, and all but three programs provide the same services to the same people. There are even programs for the "transportation disadvantaged."
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a study of federal job training programs in February 2011, saying that the federal government spent $18 billion per year on job training. The report identifies billions of dollars in potential savings. But there is one caveat -- one that answers why the programs continue to be funded. Congress (that's both parties) will have to curtail programs that involve politically sensitive (read, popular) causes. So, bottom line: it's about vote-buying, not job training.
The GAO found with regard to job training:
- Eighty economic development programs
- Twenty programs dealing with homelessness - seven agencies
- More than 2,100 data centers - up from 432 a little more than a decade ago - 24 agencies
- Eighty-two teacher-quality programs - 10 agencies
- Fifty-six programs dealing with financial literacy - 20 agencies
- Thirty food-related laws - 15 agencies
Can anyone (other than vote-buying politicians) explain what any of these programs has to do with job training?
And the GAO said that "little is known about the effectiveness" of the job training programs. Why? Half the programs haven't had an effectiveness review since 2004. Further, "... only five [programs] have ever had a study to determine whether job seekers in the program do better than those who don't participate." Yet Congress continues to fund them. The Heritage Foundation's Dr. David B. Muhlhausen and Paul Kersey, in 2004, stated that Congress is "legislating in the dark" because its members have nothing upon which to continue funding. It was true in 2004, and it's true today.
Here's a (rather weak) response to the GAO report by Jim Esquea, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services: "'Overlap' is not the same as 'duplication.'"
What's happening now? The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was first passed in 1998 (which explains where the word "invest" comes from). It has been a dismal failure. Only 10 percent of participants received any job skills instruction. A renewal (H.R. 798) has been proposed, with among its many provisions: "Measures system performance not just on how many individuals are placed into jobs, but also by how many individuals gain recognized postsecondary credentials for employment." Why was that provision not in the original WIA?
Muhlhausen and Kersey, in 2004, said:
The dismal failure of federal job-training programs should lead Congress to abolish WIA - along with other federal jobs-training programs - after a decent interval that will allow state and local governments to evaluate their own programs and to determine which services they will continue and how they will be funded.
Now Congress wants to renew WIA. In Congress, nothing succeeds like failure.
Dr. Anthony Carnevale, head of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, in June 2010, said, "Training doesn't create jobs. It's jobs that create the demand for training." It's too bad (for us taxpayers and the economy) that Obama continues to emphasize jobs training. But it's good for Obama's cronies.
Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.