Update 02/14: Actual proposed cuts to job training are $3.8 billion, rather than $2 Billion.
On February 11, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a proposal to cut spending by $100 billion including more than $3.8 billion from the U.S. Deparment of Labors job training programs. If accepted by both the House and Senate, the cuts would be likely to take effect immediately. Click here to take action to support job training programs!
The proposal would be included in an upcoming spending measure, called a “continuing resolution” (CR), that would provide temporary funding for government programs for Fiscal Year 2011. Since Congress was unable to pass FY 2011 spending bills before October 1, 2010, the start of the fiscal year, government programs have been kept operational through a series of CRs. The current CR expires on March 4, 2011.
While the House is likely to pass a bill with deep cuts, the proposal is likely to receive scrutiny in the Senate; however Senate resistance cannot be taken for granted. It is, therefore, important that House and Senate members hear their constituents’ expressions of support for job training.
In anticipation of proposals to cut funding for the workforce system this year, Goodwill sent a letter to both the House and Senate on February 3, 2011. The letter acknowledges that the deficit will require sacrifices from all, yet points out that continued investment in the workforce system should reduce people’s reliance on public supports. Furthermore, some individuals served by the workforce system will produce additional positive economic outcomes that will help reduce the deficit.
On January 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service released data that further demonstrates the need for increased investment in the workforce system. Last year, more than 40 million people received assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly referred to as food stamps), a significant increase compared to the pre-recession (2007) figure of 26 million. According to the Congressional Budget Office, SNAP assistance is expected to remain high throughout the country as the unemployment rate hovers near 9 percent in 2011.
Policymakers should consider changes that would reduce government waste, fraud and abuse, yet they must also be reminded that they should invest in strategies that rapidly move people into jobs.