In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address this week, he addressed a number of key challenges faced by our country, including poverty, job training and the need for job creation. I was disappointed that in one night, there was no specific mention of people with disabilities, the long-term unemployed, older workers, people with criminal backgrounds and many of the other employment challenges people face. Goodwills around the country provide valuable job training services to these individuals and place them in jobs, creating pathways out of poverty every day.
I’m encouraged by the proposals put forth to support innovation and infrastructure in order to create more jobs. But before Congress can debate the merits of these proposals and legislate the specifics, there is a bigger issue at hand: sequestration. A recent poll found 64 percent of voters don’t know what sequestration is. Only about 20 percent correctly know that it has something to do with fiscal issues.
Plain and simple, if sequestration occurs, across-the-board cuts will be made to nearly all federal programs – programs relied upon by Goodwill and the people we serve. The president noted that both parties, economists and business leaders alike say that sequestration is a bad idea and the idea of cutting job-training is even worse. Yet the cuts are a real possibility and will impact all of the vulnerable populations mentioned above.
As the president lays out the priorities for the administration during his second-term and a new Congress reconvenes with its own agenda, now is the time to let your voice be heard and to speak up for those groups who were not referenced.
Sign up for Goodwill’s Legislative Action Center to contact your members of Congress. Share the alerts and updates with your own networks, and educate other stakeholders about how the acts of Congress will affect Goodwill. Let’s make sure the important groups overlooked in the State of the Union are not forgotten as Congress considers these cuts.