LETTER: Automatic cuts could hit jobs, employers hardUnder the Budget Control Act, most federal programs face an across-the-board cut in January 2013 if Congress does not enact a plan before then to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion.
Under the Budget Control Act, most federal programs face an across-the-board cut in January 2013 if Congress does not enact a plan before then to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion.
Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, sequestration, automatic, across-the-board cuts to defense and non-defense federal discretionary spending is scheduled to take effect Jan. 2.
However, there is growing pressure to undo the defense sequesters, which would leave non-defense, discretionary programs — which includes most skills education and workforce programs —absorbing up to twice as much as the already scheduled $54.5 billion in cuts to such programs.
America’s economic future depends, at least in part, on the skills of its workforce. Although policymakers face difficult decisions, our nation must continue to invest in those skills to maintain our competitiveness in the global economy.
Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies recently released his report, Under Threat: Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services. Workforce Investment Act state grants provide employment and training services to low-skilled, disadvantaged and underemployed adults; dislocated workers needing new or upgraded skills; and youth who have dropped out of high school and want to go back to school or enter the labor market. Nationally, 413,546 fewer adults, dislocated workers and youth will receive job training. In Wisconsin, 5,250 less will receive WIA training related services and in northwest Wisconsin approximately 368 fewer individuals will receive WIA employment services. When added to the 22,039 fewer jobseekers served under Wagner-Peyser Employment Service —Wisconsin employers and workers will certainly feel the impact of these cuts.
In the last decade, funding for federal workforce development programs has declined by more than 30 percent, including more than $1 billion just since fiscal year 2010. Similarly, Congress recently enacted eligibility changes to the Pell Grant program that could eliminate access for nearly 150,000 students in the first year alone, while more than a quarter of a million additional students will see their grant awards reduced at a time of rapidly rising tuition costs. These changes will most impact nontraditional students, likely even further reducing access to skills training for working adults.
America’s economic future depends, at least in part, on the skills of its workforce. Although policymakers face difficult decisions, our nation must continue to invest in those skills to maintain our competitiveness in the global economy. Such cuts are already having an impact: A recent survey of workforce providers found more than three quarters expected to reduce training as a result of reduced funding levels, and nearly half believed they would have to cut back on services for employers seeking skilled workers.
Investment Board, Inc.