WASHINGTON - April 5 - President Bushs rosy rhetoric about job training doesnt match his real record and, in this election year, he now claims he will magically train more workers with even less resources. In fact, Bush has slashed training programs, allocated fewer resources, and trained far fewernot moreworkers in his tenure than during previous Administrations. In fact, Bushs record on training matches that of the rest of his presidency, which is one of consistent and repeated failure when it comes to Americas workers.
President Bush has recently proposed a budget that would cut worker training programs in real terms by almost a billion dollarsa 20 percent cut since 2001. He has regularly sought to ax the H-1B high-tech and high-skilled job training programwhich trains workers for the kinds of high-skilled jobs now being shipped overseas or filled by foreign workers in the United Statesand now even wants to take back $100 million in unspent funds under the program. He is seeking a $340 million cut from career and technical education programs that would prove devastating to programs in high schools and postsecondary institutions, potentially forcing the programs reduction or elimination.
Under President Bush, the number of workers receiving job training through workforce investment adult and dislocated worker programs fell 18 percent between the program years ending in 2002 and in 2003, even though unemployment rose during that period. And the number of workers trained in the 2003 program year116,213was less than half the 313,000 workers who received training in 1998, even though the average unemployment rate in 2003 was 6 percent, compared with only 4.5 percent in 1998. Moreover, per capita dislocated worker spending per unemployed worker is only $166.63 under the Bush fiscal year 2005 budgeta 39 percent drop from 2001, when per capita spending for unemployed workers was more than $100 greater ($273.73).
Meanwhile, the Bush Labor Department has so failed in its administration of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program (TAA) that in the two most recent budget years, it used less than 60 percent of the money authorized to help workers who lost their jobs because of trade. The situation is so bad that the normally staid U.S. Court of International Trade recently castigated the Bush Labor Department for breaking faith with American workers, concluding that as a result of overwork, incompetence or indifference (or some combination of the three), the Labor Departments failure
[has] deprived the workers of the aid they needed.
Enough is enough. President Bushs supposed commitment to and record of training American workers consists of budget cuts and neglect of critical programs for displaced workers. The notion that the president will now do more with less is complete nonsense.