The Department of Labor has suspended new enrollment into one of the nation’s largest job-training programs for low-income youths, citing cost overruns that critics have blamed on mismanagement.
The Job Corps enrollment freeze could close the door on as many as 30,000 young adults struggling in a troubled economy and could cost about 10,000 staff jobs, according to the association that represents private operators for the program.
More than 70 members of Congress from both parties have written to the department requesting explanations for the program’s shortfall, which sources familiar with the budgeting process have pegged at $61.5 million. Two lawmakers have also complained to the White House.
The freeze comes as President Obama began to promote his plans for job creation, job training and middle-class growth by taking his State of the Union address on the road last week.
“The timing of this freeze could not be worse,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said Tuesday. “Though our economy is adding jobs, the number of unemployed remains high. If you add to that the fact that many of the unemployed do not possess the basic skills to fill even the few jobs that are available, what you have is a country standing at a crossroads.”
Democratic lawmakers following the program’s budget issues say they are frustrated by the lack of a response from the Labor Department, which also halted enrollment briefly last summer and in December. Before 2011, the program had never halted enrollment.
1. Mismanagement my patootie. Congress hasn't given them sufficient funding.
The Job Corps is one of the most important programs in the country, but as with everything else that helps the non-white non-rich population, Congress views it as wasted money. Add the GOP's stated objective of making Obama's agenda burn and you really shouldn't expect anything different. Sorry, but I'm really disgusted by this.