NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Green Jobs Training Program Falls Short

October 6, 2011

A $500 million green jobs program at the Department of Labor has so far provided only 15 percent of current participants with jobs, leading the agency's inspector general (IG) to recommend that the bulk of the money be returned to the Treasury, says the New York Times.

  • The program, which was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aims to find employment for almost 80,000 people by providing grants for labor exchange and job training projects.
  • With those grants expiring over the next 15 months, IG officials concluded that the program would fail to come close to that target.
  • More than $300 million remains unspent, according to the report.

The report comes as the bankruptcy of solar manufacturer Solyndra has reinvigorated GOP criticism of the Obama administration's green jobs initiative.  Congress is now investigating the Department of Energy's half-million-dollar loan guarantee to the company, and the controversy has become a political issue.

  • According to the Labor IG report, as of June 30, grantees had placed 8,035 participants into jobs, or 10 percent of the program's target.
  • Long-term unemployment numbers are worse, with 1,336 participants finding jobs for six months or longer.
  • That's 2.5 percent of current participants, and 2 percent of the program's final target of 69,717.

Furthermore, "grantees have expressed concerns that jobs have not materialized and that job placements have been fewer than expected for this point in the grant program," according to the report.

Source: Emily Yehle, "Green Jobs Training Program Falls Short, Should Return Funds - IG," New York Times, October 4, 2011. "Recovery Act: Slow Pace Placing Workers into Jobs Jeopardizes Employment Goals of the Green Jobs Program," Department of Labor, September 30, 2011.

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