Proposed Labor Department Cuts Target Job Training Programs
The Trump administration proposed $2.5 billion in cuts for the Labor Department in a plan that would significantly reduce funding for job training programs for seniors and disadvantaged youth.
The plan would also shift more funding responsibility to states when it comes to certain training and job placement programs.
The proposal would shrink the Labor Department’s budget by 21 percent from current levels, to $9.6 billion for fiscal year 2018. While the administration provided estimates for some of the proposed reductions, it did not specify where the majority of the cuts would come from.
The White House’s proposal would eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income job seekers age 55 and older find work by pairing them with nonprofit organizations and public agencies. The administration estimates that it would save $434 million by cutting the program, which aims to help people land permanent jobs.
In the budget proposal, the administration criticized the program as “ineffective” and said that one-third of the participants do not finish. The administration said that only half of those who complete the program end up finding jobs that are not subsidized.
The administration would also shrink Job Corps, a program that provides workplace training for disadvantaged youth, by closing centers that “do a poor job educating and preparing students” for the labor force.
The proposal would decrease federal funding for job training and employment service grants and shift the funding to states, localities and employers.
The administration would revise programs for disabled workers by eliminating “less critical” technical assistance grants, which are used to help employers retain and hire workers with disabilities. It would launch an “early intervention” project under which states would test programs that can help people with disabilities return to the labor market.
The proposal would expand the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment program, which helps unemployed people find jobs more quickly and verifies their eligibility to receive unemployment benefits. The administration said the program saves an average of $536 for every person receiving unemployment benefits.
The proposed budget would also refocus the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, a department that helps ensure workers around the world are treated fairly, to instead ensure that “U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers.” The move would eliminate the bureau’s grant program, which the Trump administration estimates would save at least $60 million.
Washington Post 3/16