Green Jobs Training Program Slammed in New Independent Report

October 26, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General cast new doubt on the effectiveness of the Administration’s Green Jobs Training Program. According to the newly released report requested by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, the report revealed that the Department of Labor has further squandered taxpayer money since the program was flagged by the IG last year.

“The green jobs training program belongs in the long list of the Administration’s bad investments including the bankruptcies of Solyndra, Beacon Power, Abound, and just this month, A123,” said Chairman Issa. “Not only was the program poorly thought-out, mismanaged and dysfunctional, but it served as a slush fund to reward friends of the Obama Administration. Millions of dollars went to groups like the National Council of La Raza, the Blue Green Alliance and the US Steelworkers union.”

The Committee has held three hearings and sent multiple inquiries about the $500 million stimulus-funded program and its abysmal results.  View Oversight’s video on green jobs here.

Key highlights from the report:

  • DOL trained more criminals than veterans: 9 percent of the people who received training (about 10,000 individuals) had criminal records, while 7 percent were veterans.
  • Poor results: Out of a target of 81,254, grantees collectively reported 30,857 participants (38 percent) entered employment
  • DOL extended deadlines for the majority of grant recipients despite poor performance: Grantees now have until January 2013 to spend the money. According the IG, “Since our report was issued, ETA extended 46 of the 63 Pathways and ETP grant periods of performance set to expire in January 2012 from 2 months to 1 year to allow grantees additional time to expend funds and assist participants with training and employment. Furthermore, ETA extended 9 of the 34 SESP grants set to expire in January 2013 by 5 to 6 months. Currently, all grants are scheduled to end by July 31, 2013.”
  • For many people who received training, it was not beneficial: Of the 81,354 participants who completed training, 42,322 (52 percent) already had jobs. According to the IG “Grantees were authorized to train incumbent workers who needed training to secure full-time employment, advance their careers, or retain their current jobs. However, for the 81 incumbent workers we identified in our sample, we found no evidence that they needed green job training for any of these purposes.”
  • The program didn’t broadly increase employment: three and a half years since the stimulus was signed, this $500 million program has only placed 11,613 individuals (16 percent of the goal) into jobs that have been retained for more than 6 months. Only 38 percent, or 30,857, were placed into employment at all.
  • The training was often between one and five days long: According to the report, “Of the 81,354 participants who completed training through the Green Jobs program, 47 percent (38,366 participants) received 5 days or less of training, of which 21 percent (17,374 participants) received only 1 day of training.” Furthermore, “Of the total 30,857 reported as entered employment, 4,874 were for participants who received only 1 day of training. This included 3,213, or 66 percent of incumbent workers who were reported as entered employment after only 1 day of training.”
  • DOL disproportionately trained men: 84 percent of trainees were male.
  • The results are likely even worse than they appear: The IG report states, “The sampled grantees were unable to provide documentation for 24 percent of sampled participants reported as entered employment. Moreover, they could not provide documentation for 33 percent of sampled participants reported as entering training-related employment and 44 percent of sampled participants tested for retention.”

The report can be found here.