$300 Million Gets Cut From Job-Training Funds

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Washington--House and Senate conferees slashed about $300 million from the fiscal 1986 budget for the federal government's main job-training effort, including $60- million from the summer-jobs program for young people.

In the pre-Thanksgiving flurry of activity to clear major appropriations bills for fiscal 1986, which began Oct. 1, the conferees agreed to fund the Job Training Partnership Act at $3.46 billion, down from the 1985 appropriation of $3.74 billion. The total contained in the compromise bill was far more than the Reagan Administration's request of $2.8 billion, slightly more than the $3.45 billion included in the bill approved by the Senate, but less than the $3.62 billion passed by the House.

The Congress will vote on the compromise bill, HR 3424, which includes more than $100 billion for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Educa4tion, sometime after the Thanksgiving break.

(The House Appropriations Committee has included the bill's provisions in a stopgap spending bill, called a continuing resolution, that would fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year.)

Funds Reallocated

The conferees cut Title IIA of the jtpa by $23 million, to $1.863 billion. In the past, nearly half of all money allocated for Title IIA has gone to programs for young people between the ages of 16 and 21.

That $23 million was transferred to the Job Corps--the residential program for "hard core" unemployed youth targeted for elimination by the Reagan Administration. The increase brought its 1986 fiscal budget to $640 million.

The boost for the Job Corps did not, however, mute criticism by supporters of the jtpa program, who said any cuts at all would hurt an already underfunded program.

'Don't Rob Peter'

"We don't think you rob Peter to pay Paul," said Carol Shanzer, an aide to Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "People aren't going to be able to live with those cuts."

The Summer Youth Employment and Training Program, which is funded one year ahead of the other programs, received $664 million for the 1987 fiscal year, down from $724.5 million. The conferees also declined to approve an extra $100 million, which was contained in the House bill, for next summer's program.

Funding for Title III, which serves dislocated workers, was cut by more than half to $100 million, down from $222.5 million in 1985.

"We're particularly concerned with the big cuts in the summer program and Title III," said Evelyn Ganzglass, research associate for education and labor for the National Governors' Association. "States and localities will have to do a better job letting the federal government know what this program is about and what the dollars mean out in the field."

Ms. Ganzglass added that "the whole experience under ceta [the Comprehensive Employment andTraining Act] showed that coordination is impeded when you have insecurity about future funding, because people have a fear of committing to anything. It's not a wonderful thing for the system."

The jtpa replaced ceta in 1983. While ceta was a much larger program than the jtpa in its peak years, it too underwent funding cuts in its last few years, operating on a budget that declined from $9.5 billion in 1978 to $4.1 billion in 1982.


Vol. 05, Issue 14

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