New GAO Report Shows More Coordination Needed for Federal Workforce and Training Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), issued the following statement on the new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the state of federal workforce and training programs. Senator Coburn and Senator Enzi requested an update of a 2003 GAO report to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of federal workforce and training programs serving our job seekers, workers, and employers:

“Americans are depending on Congress to cut spending and focus on jobs. In 2009, taxpayers spent $18 billion on forty-seven federal workforce training programs. GAO recommended enhancing coordination across workforce and training programs, supporting stronger performance accountability and improving program efficiency.  A few states have succeeded in consolidating workforce and training programs, and we must work to help the rest of the states follow their lead to reduce costs and improve services. Improvements are needed to ensure our workers receive the services necessary to be successful; and for our employers to have the skilled workforce they need to keep and grow their business. The recommendations of the GAO report will help us as we work to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, which is an essential component of an improved workforce development system,” Enzi said.  

“Sadly, thousands of Americans may be putting their hope in many of the programs in the report that have no measurable benefit and, in many cases, are being defrauded. With a looming fiscal crisis on the horizon, and unemployment still unacceptably high, it is time for Washington to re-think how we approach these programs. Too often, job training programs have been designed to help politicians keep their jobs rather than helping the unemployed find jobs.  We create new programs with great fanfare then never bother to measure their effectiveness.  We simply cannot keep doing things as they have always been done.  Unemployed Americans don’t just need our good intentions.  They need us to conduct careful oversight and ask hard questions of programs designed to help people in very difficult transitions,” Dr. Coburn said.

The GAO Report, “Multiple Employment and Training Programs:  Providing Information on Co-Locating Services and Consolidating Administrative Structures Could Promote Efficiencies” is available here.

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