Feb 6, 2008

President's budget once again cuts funding for key skills training programs

The Workforce Alliance watches Washington's antics as they play shell games that affect manufacturing's ability to get the skilled workforce in demand today and tomorrow. They report:

On Monday President Bush released his FY 2009 budget, the last of his Administration. Included in the $3.1 trillion dollar budget were substantial cuts to many key education and training programs in the Departments of Labor and Education. Once again, the Administration has proposed to first cut funding and then block grant WIA and other related job training programs to fund Career Advancement Accounts (CAAs) - a proposal already repeatedly rejected by Congress.

I can tell you that Career Advancement Accounts sound good on paper - they help an individual who is being laid off, bought out, made redundant, or whatever, to pay for education and training to reenter or advance in a career. But the older WIA grants give more money to coalitions of companies, community colleges, and other organizations to provide the workforce training to companies that haven't yet closed their doors. In other words, do you want to spend money to keep people employed in healthy companies, or allow the companies to fail and then spend the money?

Additionally, training programs for youth, migrant workers, ex-offenders, and persons living with disabilities were significantly cut or eliminated. Education and training programs under the Department of Education also face deep cuts. While funding for Pell Grants has once again seen significant increases, Career and Technical Education State Grants (Perkins) face elimination, and Adult Basic Education sees no increase in funding. As at DOL, DOEd programs serving migrant workers, ex-offenders, and persons living with disabilities face significant cuts or outright elimination.

TWA's comparison of the Administration's FY09 budget request to FY08 funding levels indicates proposed cuts of over $1 billion (17%) to job training and related workforce development programs within the Department of Labor (DOL), and over $1.2 billion (69%) in cuts to vocational education and adult education under the Department of Education (DOEd).

To view TWA's preliminary analysis of the Administration's Departments of Labor and Education budgets, view historical funding trends, and state by state effects of proposed WIA funding cuts please visit the Alliance's Federal Funding webpage.

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