Job Training Overhaul May Affect Colleges
The Bush administration is proposing a major overhaul of federal job training programs, a budget reduction effort that may affect colleges and universities and low-income students participating in education programs below the baccalaureate level.
The White House is proposing to cut from 48 to 28 the number of federal job training programs, and some of those remaining would be subject to budget cutbacks.
Those slated for cuts include Workforce Investment Act youth programs, which would see its funding reduced by $127 million, and one-stop career centers, a program with postsecondary involvement that would face a $7 million cutback.
The nation’s mayors also oppose a Bush administration effort to terminate funding for Youth Opportunity grants, a $225 million program providing grants to high-poverty, inner-city areas to promote education, job training and youth development. The new budget would provide only $44 million to finish out current grants, and no new cities would join the program.
Marc Morial, mayor of New Orleans and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, says he is pleased the White House did not propose outright elimination immediately, allowing current grantees to finish their projects.
“Unfortunately, the budget still proposes a large cut in this program, which will prevent any additional cities from joining this effective program,” Morial says.
A senior Labor official called the program a disappointment in its two-year history. “There is no evidence of effectiveness,” says Emily DeRocco, assistant Labor secretary for employment and training. She says the administration is evaluating current programs based on their effectiveness, and the Youth Opportunity program had shown few positive outcomes. DeRocco says she based those findings on two years’ worth of data on projects that are to be funded for five years.
Labor officials maintain that the Workforce Investment Act youth cutbacks would not affect services, since there are unexpended carry over funds in the program. WIA youth efforts would receive $1 billion in 2003 under the budget.
Career education programs at the U.S. Department of Education would face budget freezes under the new blueprint. Support for state vocational/technical grants under the Carl Perkins Act would remain at $1.18 billion, while states would continue to receive $108 million for tech-prep programs.
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