Saving the Government Programs

An article in the WSJ – How to close the Skills Gap – is ostensibly about training workers.

The sad fact is that we spend considerably less than other developed countries on labor-market policies, including work-force training and job-search programs. At the individual level, the U.S. invested only $908 per labor-market participant—$84 dollars, or 9.2%, less than the average amount spent by other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Uhm, hello? Free kindergarten through 12th grade education? Ring any bells? Let me get this straight, we’re supposed to pay an average of $12,000 per year, for twelve years, per student … and when they can’t get a job because they didn’t learn shit in those twelve years, we have to throw even more money to “train” them?

The sad fact is that we’re apparently wasting all that money on public education.

Consider this: According to a report by the National Commission on Adult Literacy, 90 million adults have literacy skills so low that success in postsecondary education and training is becoming more and more challenging.

And, who’s fault is that? Oh, wouldn’t want to blame the individuals, who were given access to teachers and books and learning yet failed to learn shit.

We believe that the skills gap is a consequence of our failure to seriously invest in the education of America’s work force.

Of course you believe that. The two authors of this pieces are Mary Landrieu and Patty Murray.

John Russo, the president of Scientific Analytical Solutions in North Kingston, R.I., recently talked to the AP about the problem his small business faces: “It’s very difficult to find the right person, and there’s all walks of life trying to find jobs. I honestly think there’s a large swath of unemployable. They don’t have any skills at all.”

People without any skills at all. People who spent 12 years of their lives with public school teachers. Without any skills at all.

As we work to create jobs and get our economy back on track, closing this skills gap needs to be a top priority. A critical first step: reauthorizing and reforming the Workforce Investment Act, our nation’s foundational federal work-force development policy.

There is it. The Workforce Investment Act was passed in 1998. It’s everything Democrats love about government programs. Lots of make-work for bureaucrats. So now we see why they’ve written this article. It’s on the chopping block.

House Republicans are attempting to live up to their pledge to cut $100 billion from the federal government’s current fiscal year 2011 budget. One of the funding categories being placed on the chopping block are the employment and training services run by the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) which provides a host of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) job-training programs and other employment services. Compared to President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget request, the plan is to cut $2.8 billion from programs that, according to a January 2011 report by the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO), have little evidence of effectiveness.

It’s on the chopping block, because there is no evidence that it works. And we spend $3.6 billion annually on WIA alone.

And how did they spend that money? Well, here’s how Michigan Works! spent some of that cash:

A recent report released by the Michigan’s Auditor General suggested some questionable spending. The report states that some agencies spent as little as 3% of program funding on activities like the dislocated worker program.
The 72 page audit started back in 2007 and wrapped up this year.

The report addresses spending that the Michigan Auditor General sees as an unreasonable or questionable use of funds. According to the report and the auditor’s office, the South Central Michigan Works agency in Jackson spent over $18,000 for a weekend retreat back in 2007.

And then there is the county club membership.

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5 Comments on “Saving the Government Programs”

  1. Hotspur Says:

    I got a job working at an architectural firm in the twelfth grade. How? Because I had taken drafting for three years prior in high school.

    I had wood shop in ninth grade, metal shop in tenth, and engine shop in eleventh. These all prepared me to be able to do all kinds of things with my hands. I put a new crankshaft and connecting rods in my car because of engine shop. I built a set of jackstands in metal shop. I made numerous wooden bowls and lamps for my mom, which she uses to this day.

    I took shop math in eleventh grade because I had no intentions of going to college, so I quit upper level mathematics after Plane Geometry in tenth. Didn’t need to know trig, or calculus, or any of that shit.

    The public schools are now a joke. We wouldn’t need community colleges if the k-12 assholes actually taught anything.

  2. Car in Says:

    but think of all the people who are employed because kids don’t learn shit in high school.


  3. Shop classes are frequently not taught anywhere, Hotspur. They were killed at my Michigan School when I was a junior.

  4. agiledog Says:

    “Shop classes” aren’t taught in traditional public schools here anymore – they are done in the vocational schools (which everybody use to look down at – those dummies in votech schools – couldn’t hack it in “real” school).

    The guy I had for 8th grade shop class I had again as my 11th grade English teacher (he was now shy two finger tips, too).

    In my recent search for a new job, I had one employer require college transcripts – it seems many job applicants are embellishing their record, if not outright lying. I tried to point out that college records from 30 years ago aren’t likely to be indicative of my skills or knowledge – they didn’t care. I HAD to submit transcripts.

    And you want to know where all that workforce training money goes? To goverment waste in overhead: the Division of Unemployment Assistance -> reports to -> Department of Workforce Development -> reports to -> Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development -> reports to -> Office of the Governor.

  5. Car in Says:

    A few months back they had people call into the local radio show about Michigan Works!, which get’s it’s money from WIA. It was just amazing. I’ve heard similar accounts first-hand. You who up and they force you to sit through insultingly stupid classes. They “help” you write your resume, even if you don’t need to the help.

    We tried to go through Michigan Works! to hire a few years back. It was basically just make-work – those who applied – because they were so obviously not interested in a job with us. Of course, to get their checks, they had to do it.


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