When Congress failed to avert automatic spending cuts, otherwise known as “sequestration,” in early March, it felt like a non-event for many. While the airwaves were littered with the news and predictions of its impact, for people on Main Street USA, life went on pretty much as usual.
This week, however, the airwaves and headlines were full of content about automatic spending cuts, causing air traffic controllers to be furloughed, resulting in flight delays.
Nearly two month since sequestration took effect, people are feeling the first effects of “sequestration,” and politicians are starting to bow to the pressure. The White House and a number of Senate Democrats have dropped demands that any sequester replacement bill be offset by some new revenue.
Unless policymakers strike a deal, sequestration will negatively impact millions of job seekers in October. This is when the cuts will cause the workforce system to serve an estimated 2 million fewer people. Despite its impact on our fragile economic recovery, such an event is unlikely to get much mainstream media attention.
Meanwhile, community-based organizations like Goodwill will remain on the frontlines, dedicating approximately 82 percent of the $4.89 billion we raised in 2012 to help people find jobs and advance in careers. As a result, in 2012, Goodwill provided job training and other services to more than 6.7 million people, placed 219,000 people in jobs, and employed 112,000 people.
Yet these achievements are the result of a public-private partnership, one that the steady decline in government investment in job training threatens to undermine. Significant challenges Goodwill faces include:
- High unemployment and increased need.
- Government disinvestment in job training.
- Reduced government contracting employment opportunities for people with disabilities as a result of sequestration.
- Proposals to reduce charitable giving incentives.
As policymakers work to restore economic stability and minimize sequestration’s painful effects, Goodwill urges Congress to protect investments that leverage Goodwill’s nation-wide infrastructure, resources, and expertise in job training and employment.