This week, as Congress prepares for another effort to stabilize the nation’s fiscal outlook, a new report illustrates the impact that recent cuts to discretionary programs – including job training programs operated by Goodwill – has negatively affected people.
“Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure,” was released by NDD United, an alliance of more than 3,200 national, state, and local organizations – including Goodwill Industries International (GII) – working to prevent more harsh cuts to core government functions. The report tells the stories of those who’ve been impacted most by Washington’s disinvestment in core programs in sectors including health care, job training, national parks, law enforcement and more.
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England (Portland, ME) is featured in the discussion about cuts to the nation’s workforce system. As a result of automatic spending cuts, otherwise known as “sequestration,” the agency experienced a 90 percent cut to job training funding as authorized under the Workforce Investment Act. As a result, the agency has not been able to implement new job training programs, has reduced staff and has seen local businesses on the cusp of expanding their workforce step back and leave jobs unfilled.
While the impact on the local agency and employers is unfortunate, the impact on people is the hardest to accept.
- * Deering Lumber Inc. was considering hiring a gentleman if the Goodwill could provide funding to provide on-the-job training (OJT). As a result of sequestration, OJT funding is not available; consequently, the person was not hired and the position at Deering Lumber remains unfilled.
- * Despite 20 years of IT and management experience, a displaced worker recently laid off from an IT management job could not find another because he lacks an industry-based credential. Unfortunately, due to sequestration, Goodwill does not have the funds needed to assist him in securing the certifications he needs to get a good paying job.
But there’s more! Unless law makers set their politics aside to replace sequestration with a more meaningful and comprehensive deficit reduction strategy, discretionary programs—including both defense and nondefense programs—will have to absorb an addition $700 billion in cuts over the next eight years.
“Faces of Austerity” is available online at www.nddunited.org.