Jobless Overwhelm Retraining Programs: Communities now have waiting lists of 6 months or more
Jobless Overwhelm Retraining Programs Communities now have waiting lists of 6 months or more By Kim Clark
The programs that are supposed to pay for retraining of unemployed workers are crowded even though the Obama administration has raised the annual federal training budget by $200 million to $3.8 billion in 2010 and added a $4.5 billion infusion in extra training funds in the 2009 stimulus bill. President Obama has said he wants "to fundamentally change our approach to unemployment in this country, so that it's no longer just a time to look for a new job, but is also a time to prepare yourself for a better job."
Unfortunately, those big dollar numbers have been no match for the dramatic increases in jobless who want retraining. The number of unemployed Americans has more than doubled in the past two years to 14.4 million. Under the normal budget, that leaves only about $250 per year in training funds per unemployed American. The one-time infusion of extra stimulus money added the equivalent of $312 or so per unemployed person, which is tiny when considering that one semester at a typical community college costs about $1,700 in tuition and books.
What's more, some of those who might be able to collect training funds are being turned away from overcrowded community colleges.
"Frankly, I am stunned," says Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Giving unemployed workers no chance to better themselves during their downtime does "permanent damage. Skills deteriorate. And the psychological damage is extensive."
Those who can't get financial aid, or whose aid is not enough, can apply for federal retraining funds through their local One-Stop Career Center. Those who can prove they lost their job due to foreign competition may receive training funding through the federal Trade Adjustment Act. But those who've lost their job for other reasons will likely have to spend week or months proving they can't find a job at a living wage in their field to qualify for training funding under the Workforce Investment Act. Normally, a majority of the jobless don't need full retraining to find another job. But so many people have lost their jobs, so many industries have been flattened, and rising tuition has raised the cost of retraining so high that many communities have run out of WIA training money.
By late 2009, the One-Stop Career Centers in southwest Wisconsin, for example, had already spent almost every penny of the $2.9 million training budget that was supposed to last until June 30. Starting January 1, all new training applicants are being placed on waiting lists, says Robert Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. Unless the agency receives some emergency grants, new applicants will have to wait at least six months for training. And since the agency has already spent all of its stimulus funding, many of those currently in training will be cut off July 1 if the budget reverts to its recent anemic level, he says. "We could have to suspend half of the people currently in training. That's pretty bleak," he says.
When offshored, downsized, or just terminated today, what would be a training goal? What jobs are going to be needed by the time the extra training is mastered? No one seems to know...and that includes the experts.
Seems like when an answer arrives to that last question, the field being trained for is overloaded. Many of our members here have been retrained several times and still end up without a living wage job. How much training can possibly be required of an individual?
With the loss of so many industrial jobs(those jobs that create new wealth), what is left besides residing in one of those one-size-fits-all cubbyholes?
Guys who drive from business to business trying to scare up business, and working on straight commission, are in demand. "Merchandisers"--the guy who delivers Coca-Cola to Walmart--are in demand, and not everyone can do that job because a Coke truck requires a Class A or B CDL. Assorted retail-support people.
Unfortunately, until our government realizes maybe letting the Republicans outsource everything was a bad fucking idea, the future is in part-time "flexible hours" employment. (Flexible hours = "we're going to make sure you don't get another job by having you come to work at a different time every day.")
5. What's worse is being "re-trained" and still unable to find work
Edited on Thu Jan-28-10 11:12 PM by FirstLight
I just finished my Cert in HR mgmt last fall, and there are no jobs that I can qualify for in a 60 mile radius.. I live in the mountains, so either way would be a crazy drive, even if I were willing to commute, thwere is NO JOB MARKET
no amount of training can change the fact that the actual JOBS are gone...where? ...all of them...? ...really...? Where are the new companies that need to fill their ranks wth all types of skilled people? Where are the small businesses ? the green construction companies? the ones building all that infrastructure we need? the manufacturing co's...?
uh yea, ...crickets
I have decided to try and roll over this added education and my other PR skills into training and workshops for others. Most of my freelance work has been in mentoring a LCSW and doing workshop development, so I can use that knowledge to create sort of "what color is your parachute" kind of class... If I can't get a gig that pays yet, I will practise on giving workshops to the folks I know at the One Stop or the High School or with the HUD housing group I am involved in. It's good for the resume anyway you put it, and if I am not working and making money, i am still doing *something* productive!
Today's MBA is soon becoming as valuable as yesterday's HS diploma. In this recent round of layoffs, the Bachelors and MBA holders were sent packing from corporations with the rest of the "unpositioned". Nowadays, so many people are getting their MBAs not simply for the purpose of bettering themselves, but merely as a requirement for remaining employable. There's going to come a time where a bachelors degree, which takes enough time and sacrifice to complete, simply isn't going to be enough. Frankly, it really isn't enough now. When does THAT stop?
What do you say to older workers in general, who still have to deal with the wet-carpet mountain known as "ageism"? To pretend it doesn't exist is patently naive at best and perilous at worst. There used to be a time that older workers and their leadership and skill set were valued. Now corporations want the candidates to be 25-34 years old, have 20 years experience and a master's degree, and be able to work for the same average $40,000 a year that they've been paying us for three decades running.
What do you say to older workers who took the GM/Ford buyouts but still don't have the money to retire? What does this administration say to people like my cousin, who in 2006 had to take a buyout from Packard Electric, which lasted him so long and to this day never recovered the wages he made and is still not gainfully employed? He has nothing other than a high school diploma. It's naive to think that at 37, he and his SO can just go to a community college and start over. What would they do? Where would they get the money for the education . . . go into more debt? Where would the experience come from?
They didn't used to have to worry about this sort of thing before. It used to be that we were able to gainfully employ people who aren't meant for college; these people were our industrial and manufacturing base and they built the quality products we used and bought.
A strong economy should be capable of employing EVERYone at a fair wage regardless of education level, and when you cannot do that, all the talking points in the world aint'a gonna mask the reality that you do NOT have any such economy on your watch.
So now we're again bringing up the "retraining" canard. While it was all too insignificant a bone thrown by the Bewsh administration, Obama seems to mean well because I believe he genuinely cares about workers and doesn't see them as economic losers as the previous admin did.
Regardless, it still remains the futile equivalent of plugging up a bursting dam with corks.
Say you get laid off of a career and have to go and re-train for a new one. Honestly, what are you going to pick that can't be offshored/inshored?
Do you got a few years to put your life on hold while you GET this training, as in enough cash to pay the bills, put food on the table and a roof overhead?
Here's another thing they aren't seeing - how can you predict that the career you choose to retrain in won't be following it's predecessor overseas?
Not to mention that "retraining" only works if your competition cannot do the exact same thing. What do they think, that Indians and Chinese DON'T have access to the same universities and opportunities we have? They can get the same degrees we can get. They have THOUSANDS that already HAVE the same degrees we have to get. And they will always, always ALWAYS be cheaper. Gonna get your Ph.D in math? Guaranteed there's already 100 Indians or Chinese or whoever that have them and are vying for your position.
ALL offshoring and inshoring/visa abuse should be stopped until you have several new emerging technologies for the displaced to assimilate to. Oh wait, that TOO can't happen. Not only has nano-, bio- and whatever-o-tech already got the jumpstart over in Asia and India during the last administration (which was fervently anti-science to it's own detriment), but now were seeing reports of green jobs being shipped overseas as well . . . the jobs that were supposed to be leading US to a greater long-term economic foundation.
We cannot afford to follow the same path our predecessors have taken for the past 20 years.
If one was conspiritorial to the n-th degree, one would think this was all a foolproof plan by the wealthy, corporations and colleges to keep the middle class, poor and all of us 95%ers in "our station" for life. But I'm starting to go with a certain director who said "I don't believe in conspiracies, except the ones that are true".
A powerless, uneducated, fearful and divided work force is an OBEDIENT work force. It's simply sad beyond belief that Democratic administrations who saw the monumental damage caused by 28 years of Republican and Moderate free-trade follies are still falling for the same Republican and regressive way of conducting business.
I'm not one of those who believe they don't care. I just think this new administration cannot do anything to rein in ubiquitous corporate rule. These spoiled brat wealthmongers are going to learn soon enough just how cancerous their selfish ways will end up being the bullets through their own feet.
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