For Immediate Release: March 02, 2011

House Proposal to Cut Workforce Investment Ignores Persistently High Unemployment

HOUSE PROPOSAL TO CUT WORKFORCE INVESTMENT IGNORES PERSISTENTLY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT

New Report Shows Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Programs Help Put People to Work During the Worst of the Economic Recession


The House proposal to cut funding for programs providing critical job training to unemployed and underemployed workers is highly counterproductive during this time of persistently high unemployment, CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy said today.

Investment in job training works. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than two-thirds of adults and three-quarters of dislocated workers who completed training programs during 2008-2009 landed jobs in what was arguably the most difficult job market in decades.

The proposed cuts to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) come as CLASP releases the report, Responding to the Great Recession: How the Recovery Act Boosted Training and Innovation in Three States. The report examines the WIA experience in three states. It cites early evidence that enhanced funding through the Recovery Act enabled a significant percent of WIA participants to land jobs during the worst of the economic downturn.

At the same time, the House-passed Continuing Resolution, which would fund the government through the remainder of FY 2011, includes drastic cuts to adult, dislocated worker and youth programs under the Workforce Investment Act. These cuts would sharply reduce or eliminate funding for summer jobs for youth, job and training assistance for unemployed and underemployed workers, and support for one-stop career centers.

"It's harmful to cut these programs," said Neil Ridley, senior policy analyst at CLASP and lead author of Responding to the Great Recession. "Low-skill and low-income workers are having the most difficult time in this still tough job market. And a significant percent of the workforce remains unemployed or underemployed.  Job training is a critical lifeline and important to workers, their families and the nation's economy in the short- and long-term. Training also will equip workers with the skills they need to land jobs once the economy fully recovers. Removing opportunities to provide more job training and put more people to work is simply counterproductive, especially when so many workers continue to struggle to find employment."

To read a short summary of the report, Responding to the Great Recession: How the Recovery Act Boosted Training and Innovation in Three States, go to: http://www.clasp.org/issues/pages?type=basic_skills_and_workforce_training&id=0003#ARRA2

To read the full report, go to: http://www.clasp.org/issues/in_focus?type=basic_skills_and_workforce_training&id=0016

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