NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama Green Jobs Program Faces Further Investigation

February 1, 2012

House Republicans are expanding their probe into the Obama administration's energy programs, investigating $500 million in green job training grants that placed just 10 percent of trainees in jobs, according to a government report, says USA Today.

  • The program's goal was to train 124,893 people and put 79,854 in jobs.
  • But 17 months later, 52,762 were trained and 8,035, or roughly 1 in 10, had jobs.
  • Those numbers come from an audit by the Department of Labor's inspector general, which recommended that the administration end the program and return unspent money.

Citing what he calls "abysmal results" in the job training program, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is demanding answers about how the Department of Labor awarded the grants, which were funded out of the 2009 stimulus bill.  But Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates defends the initiative, saying the inspector general's audit used old numbers and that it was never designed to provide immediate results.

  • One group Issa singled out is the Pathstone Corp., a Rochester, New York, non-profit that spent $2.3 million of its $8 million grant and had trained only 25 people -- far short of its 660 goal, auditors found.
  • Pathstone's Jeffrey Lewis says those numbers are outdated, but he concedes that job placements have been much slower than anyone would have liked.

Bureaucracy also slowed the process.

  • As part of its grant application, Pathstone needed to line up employers to take its graduates.
  • But by the time it won the grant, one employer in Scranton, Penn., stopped hiring after a moratorium on natural gas drilling, and the funding constraints halted the city of Rochester's abandoned home-deconstruction program.

Source: Gregory Korte, "Obama Green Jobs Program Faces Further Investigation," USA Today, January 31, 2012.

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