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July 19, 2010

Obama's "Job Training" Failures Noted by...NY Times?

It seems the Times has decided to throw the President to the wolves in the hopes that a better candidate will come along by 2012. How else to explain yesterday's bombshell ObamaCare articles stating outright that the President's signature program is a tax and that it will restrict doctor choice? And then today's articles, including the GM, Chrysler article I posted about this morning, which in the second paragraph (!) suggests that the Obama Administration cost tens of thousands of jobs.

And then there's this:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have enrolled in federally financed training programs in recent years, only to remain out of work. That has intensified skepticism about training as a cure for unemployment.

Even before the recession created the bleakest job market in more than a quarter-century, job training was already producing disappointing results. A study conducted for the Labor Department tracking the experience of 160,000 laid-off workers in 12 states from mid-2003 to mid-2005 — a time of economic expansion — found that those who went through training wound up earning little more than those who did not, even three and four years later. “Over all, it appears possible that ultimate gains from participation are small or nonexistent,” the study concluded.

In the last 18 months, the Obama administration has embraced more promising approaches to training focused on faster-growing areas like renewable energy and health care. But most money has been directed at the same sorts of programs that in past years have largely failed to steer laid-off workers toward new careers, say experts, and now the number of job openings is vastly outnumbered by people out of work.

Labor economists and work force development experts say the frustration that frequently results from job training reflects the dubious quality of many programs. Most last only a few months, providing general skills without conferring useful credentials in specialized fields. Programs rarely involve potential employers and are typically too modest to enable cast-off workers to begin new careers.

Most job training is financed through the federal Workforce Investment Act, which was written in 1998 — a time when hiring was extraordinarily robust. Then, simply teaching jobless people how to use computers and write résumés put them on a path to paychecks. Today, even highly skilled people with job experience of two decades or more languish among the unemployed. Whole industries are being scaled down by automation, the shifting of work overseas and the recession.

It goes on, under the sub-head "Claiming Successes":

The Obama administration argues that expanded job training has already delivered success. As part of the nearly $800 billion stimulus package begun last year, the administration increased grants sent to states for training programs devoted to laid-off workers by $1.4 billion for 2009 and 2010. Those funds came on top of $2.9 billion allocated through normal budget channels for grants in those two years.

Last year, the number of laid-off workers in job training reached 241,000, up from about 124,000 the year before, according to the Labor Department.

“These programs are really working,” said the assistant secretary of labor, Jane Oates. “These are folks who clearly want to go back to work and we’re able to help them get back to work. The investment in job training is one that’s not only going to pay off in the short term, it’s going to help us be more competitive in the long term.”

According to the Labor Department, 85 percent of laid-off workers who received training in 2007 and 2008 gained jobs within a year of completion. But the department does not track what percentage of them gained jobs in their fields of study and so far lacks any data for 2009, the first year of the Obama administration’s expansion.

Experts harbor doubts about the reliability of Labor Department numbers, which are derived from reports by state agencies that collect data from community colleges and employment offices whose training funds are dependent upon reaching benchmarks. Twice the Labor Department had to correct the data it supplied for this article.

Oh, yes, the Times just called the Obama Administration liars.

And then the double-wammy. After a few paragraphs on how "those who oversee job training" are also reporting successes:

The literature is not encouraging.

A 2006 study prepared for the Labor Department found virtually no benefit for 8,000 randomly selected recipients who entered federally financed training programs in 2001 and 2002.

This isn't a friendly wap on the nose from the Times. This is their news desk editors wishing they'd voted for Clinton last time and hoping they'll get to vote for her next time.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 04:16 PM

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