Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke knows it. Education and training are central to our nation’s economic competitiveness. In fact, he recently urged that budget deliberations recognize the benefits of programs that equip workers with needed skills — even when we must grapple with difficult decisions around balancing state and federal budgets.
But House leadership is taking action that will cut off our nose to spite our face. The House-passed Continuing Resolution, which would fund the government through the remainder of FY 2011, includes drastic cuts to adult, dislocated worker and youth programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). These cuts would sharply reduce or eliminate funding for summer jobs for youth, job and training assistance for unemployed and underemployed workers, and support for one-stop career centers.
Chopping job training programs is counterproductive to an effective recovery, especially at a time when the number of unemployed and underemployed is at historically high levels and nearly 14 million people are struggling to find work.
Dislocated workers and other unemployed and underemployed workers benefit from WIA by gaining valuable skills. In fact, during the worst of the economic recession in 2008 and 2009 more than two-thirds of adults and three-quarters of dislocated workers who completed training programs found jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
In a new CLASP report, workforce development policy experts Neil Ridley and Evelyn Ganzglass look specifically at how the WIA Adult program in three states responded to the urgency of the Great Recession.
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