3

Federal job retraining programs are running out of money

Max Parsley points to a section of roof during a solar panel installation course at City College of San Francisco.

When unemployment was less than 5 percent in the U.S. -- remember those days? -- the government was spending 18 percent on job re-training. What gives? The New York Times' Motoko Rich says that the current fiscal constraints prevent more funding to jobs programs, but the budgets of those programs were scaled down long before the recession started. The training programs did get a boost from stimulus funds, but those have long run dry.

Betsy Stevenson, former chief economist at the Labor Department, says that there is a lot of money spent on an unemployment, but not on re-employment. The Department of Labor has launched a study to examine the effectiveness of re-training programs.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Log in to post3 Comments

Same comment as above in the case of my son. A few years ago the houston chronicle ran a series of articles on the critical shortage of drafting technologists holding up the construction of new energy intrastructure, so I convinced my 30-ish son to retrain for a better career. 15 months after graduating with an AA in CAD/CAM drafting technology and a 3.9/4 grade average (and I funded all costs), he still hasn't got a job despite hundreds of vacancies in the area which all include the dreaded requirement: "Must have 3-5 years experience minimum".

Same comment as above in the case of my son. A few years ago the houston chronicle ran a series of articles on the critical shortage of drafting technologists holding up the construction of new energy intrastructure, so I convinced my 30-ish son to retrain for a better career. 15 months after graduating with an AA in CAD/CAM drafting technology and a 3.9/4 grade average (and I funded all costs), he still hasn't got a job despite hundreds of vacancies in the area which all include the dreaded requirement: "Must have 3-5 years experience minimum".

I did not hear the entire broadcast yesterday, but I heard a bit of it.

I live in Virginia and Iwent back to school a couple of years ago. My classes have been paid for with student aid that I received from the federal government. The amount of aid I receive each semester is tied to my GPA; how I do in school.

I know a couple of people who went back to school using funds from a program run by the Virginia Employment Commission. Perhaps I am not knowledgable enough, but the requirements of their training program mandated that they take a certain number of credits each semester; it did not matter if the college wasn't offering a class that they needed. In this respect, hundreds of dollars were spent just by these two women over the past two years taking classes they did not need.

In addition, there was a time factor to the completion of the program. I fully understand that there is no need to create a permanent student, but due to cuts at the very same college, one of the classes they need to complete the program will not be offered again until January 2013. If they can't complete the program, they are right back where they started - unable to find a job. However, the Virginia Employment Commission has paid for 2 years of school.

Why couldn't they too have applied for Federal Financial Aid with the FAFSA form? Their income bracket would certainly have qualified them. Why did a new program have to be created that now requires more funds to study its efficacy? I swear, sometimes we just make things more difficult for ourselves.

On a separate note, there was mention, although briefly, of training for a truck driver's license - a CDL. Has anybody counted the number of people, mostly men, who are out of work as truck drivers or can't find jobs as truck drivers? It doesn't matter if they take the class and get the certificate because most companies look for three years experience?

Love the show. It makes the hours in the car more than bearable. Thank you.

With Generous Support From...