Job Training: A Record of Failure
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  • Fred

    I find it profoundly ironic that liberals call themselves “progressive.” In fact, they are reactionary, seeking to turn back the clock to the 1960s and 70s and to institute policies that failed spectacularly over 30 years ago.

  • vanderleun

    “With a fifty-year track record of failure,….”

    Actually, this program has been spectacularly successful. It has been running for FIFTY YEARS and sucking money out of the Treasury and into the pockets and careers of those running the program who would have been otherwise unfit for any real job.

    In addition it has been funneling booty to people who would otherwise have been scrawling on pieces of worn cardboard and standing around on streetcorners or going to work for other government agencies.

    By any sane measure this is a gobsmacking record of achievement.

  • R.A. Student

    1.) JTPA was replaced by WIA over a decade ago but you forgot to mention it.

    2.) The overwhelming majority of research suggests that WIA training positively impacts entered employment, employment retention and earnings for all WIA programs except the WIA Dislocated Worker Program (which tends to result in lower earnings. Note that this makes sense considering this program caters to older displaced workers that must start a new career, i.e. start over from the bottom).

    3.) Publicly funded vocational education programs are cheaper and produce better outcomes across the board when compared to their for profit competitors.

    4.) WIA has been using a voucher system for providing training funds to WIA training participants for over 10 years.

  • Richard S

    Study after study shows that Head Start has no longterm impact. Yet we now spend $7 billion per year one it, if memory serves. $70 billion in a decade is not a bad start to saving money. How many other programs that don’t work are we paying for? How many can be replacd with something better and less expensive?
    But such actions would increase unemployment among a certain sector. And they might not be qualified for many other jobs.

  • It seems to me like a no-brainer to use he vast majority of this money to fully fund Community College and partially fund university scholarships. Why re-invent the wheel? The schools keep track of their effectiveness, the money goes to effective but cash-starved institutions, and people are already attending community colleges that don’t have the money to accept them or to offer them the classes they need.

  • Richard S

    I wouldn’t fund it fully. I would require a nominal fee, perhaps a bit above that, so that students don’t think of it as a handout, and don’t take it for granted.

  • Jim.

    @RA Student:

    Presumably this post of WRM’s was prompted by a WSJ article by James Brovard: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904332804576538361788872004.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    “The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) replaced JTPA in 1998. Congress required a thorough evaluation of the law’s impact on trainees by 2005. At last report, the Labor Department is promising it will be completed by 2015.”

    So RA, where are you getting your “overwhelming majority of research” from? Not from the Labor Department, it seems.

    On the subject of Learning What Works Then Expanding On It, we have another passage from the Brovard article:

    “Mr. Obama also wants a new federal initiative to be based on Georgia Work$, which the president describes as a program in which “people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job.” But Georgia Work$ has produced far more headlines than jobs—fewer than 200 this year, according to a recent article in Politico.”

    “Begun in 2003, Georgia Work$ gives people a chance to “train” at an employer for eight weeks. They receive no salary but continue collecting unemployment compensation and as well as a $240 weekly stipend from the state of Georgia. Last year, the stipend was increased to $600 a week and anyone who said they needed a job was allowed to participate. After costs exploded, Georgia Work$ was scaled back early this year. ”

    What are your thoughts on those observations, RA?

  • Peter

    Vanderleun says: “Actually, this program has been spectacularly successful. It has been running for FIFTY YEARS and sucking money out of the Treasury and into the pockets and careers of those running the program who would have been otherwise unfit for any real job.”

    Exactly.

    Did you ever see those running government job training programs at the stat eor federal level? They’re real drips, useless for almost anything.

    As for job training, here’s the way to do it. Cut — or better yet, eliminate — minimum wage. McDonalds has done more to teach a work ethic to the lower class than any government program ever did.

  • Kris

    May I propose a minor edit? Delete everything before and after “The government has no idea how to prepare people for the private sector workforce”.

    I doubt any amount of verbiage will convince those for whom this statement is not intuitively obvious.

  • Luke Lea

    “One of the most talked-about items in Obama’s new jobs proposal is also one of the most questionable: job training programs for minors and the unemployed.”

    Why don’t they get it in high school? As a ghetto youngster in one of John Updike’s novels put it, when asked why he wasn’t in school: “They don’t teach you none of the shit you need to know.” (Roger’s Version)

  • Toni

    I think that Pittsburgh pastor had it right. Show up on time, dressed properly, and be prepared to work.

    How hard is that? Unfortunately, many young people are never taught those basics. Federal programs are far too expensive to do so. Or maybe if they made a program just that simple.

  • Corlyss

    The government is one of the worst trainers on the planet. 1) They virtually eliminated technical training with government sponsored college tracking educational systems, where large numbers could be funneled into puff courses and heavily propagandized courses, like women’s studies, black studies, native courses. 2) Core cirricula with countervailing learning like science, math, world and US history, and civics, were abandoned. 3) And then government began running up the per pupil costs of education. 4) Under government management increasingly from Washington, public schools teach little of use to a 21st economy while jettisoning courses that used to bind us together as a civilization. So now the schools turn out graduates who know little more than they did when they started while not learning anything that makes contributing citizens. 5) Government job training is invariably for buggy whips and wick making.

    By all means, let’s let the government establish job training programs.

  • Hadlowe

    1) They virtually eliminated technical training with government sponsored college tracking educational systems, where large numbers could be funneled into puff courses and heavily propagandized courses, like women’s studies, black studies, native courses.

    Not necessarily true. Science classes are hard. They require disciplined reasoning, memorization of formulae, and, above all, objectively correct answers.

    Social sciences and humanities courses revel in subjectivity. A student can achieve grade bumps merely by flattering the moral vanity of the professor, making it easier to get better grades in those courses.

    It is not surprising that, when given the option to do more work for the same grade, many students choose the easier route of becoming intellectual fluffers for their professors, and saving free time for other interests.

    Put another way, engineering majors get laid less than english majors, therefore english becomes a more popular major.

  • There is no need to post this comment but it’s the only way to get through to you guys.

    I’m hoping you guys go back to using Disqus so your comments can create threads. With you large and smart readership, threads would create value for your readers.

    Also, I’m going to be in NY on Sunday, and would enjoy meeting Prof. Mead.

    Bruno Behrend
    The Heartland Institute

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