10/28/2021

Editorial: Gov’t Spends $18 Billion On Jobs Programs, But Can’t Tell If They Work

Every election, politicians talk about the need for more job training programs. What they don’t tell voters is that the government already spends billions on job training. Most of it is wasted. Every election, politicians talk about the need for more job training programs. What they don’t tell voters is that the government already spends billions on job training. Most of it is wasted.

Last week, The New York Times reported that one of the biggest and oldest federal job training programs — the $1.7 billion Job Corps — is failing those it’s supposed to help.

The story points to an audit of the program by the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, which found that despite its large budget, and the fact that 50,000 students enroll every year, the Job Corps “could not demonstrate beneficial job training outcomes.”

The program, started in 1964, was supposed to build ladders out of poverty by training students in trades like welding, auto repair and electrical work. But the IG found that incomes among participants were no better than the general non-college educated population. The IG also found that Job Corps officials couldn’t account for 95% of the money that was supposedly going to job placement services.

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