Workforce Training a Big Jumble

Last year, an obscure state agency called the Employment Training Panel found itself in a financial pickle.

A year before, in 2013, the panel’s members, especially chairman Barry Broad, a labor union lobbyist, had worried aloud that while they had a lot of money to spend, not enough was going out the door.

“We really need to see more good proposals… we do not have enough,” Broad told one meeting. “It is no secret that if you are a state agency and you do not move your money, others will find some other way to allocate it.”

A year later, in 2014, it was a different story. Having failed to account for increased utilization, the panel was turning down applicants because of a supposed lack of funds, resulting in some high-decibel board meetings.

Then, just weeks after the board adopted a rationing plan to stretch out its resources, it was discovered that the ETP had a $24.2 million balance in its account, financed from payroll taxes on employers.

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