Federal Job-Training Programs 'Largely Ineffective,' Trump's Advisers Find -- Update
By Eric Morath
WASHINGTON -- As U.S. employers struggle to fill
near-record-high job openings, government training programs aimed
at solving that problem are coming up short, according to President
Trump's economic advisers.
"Government job-training programs appear to be largely
ineffective and fail to produce sufficient benefits for workers to
justify the costs," said Tomas Philipson, a member of the Council
of Economic Advisers, in an interview with The Wall Street
Most federal job-training programs produced insufficient data to
be clearly evaluated, and the ones that were studied weren't
producing the desired results, White House advisers said in a paper
released Monday, an overview of previously completed evaluations of
There were more than 40 federal worker-training programs spread
across nine different agencies serving more than 10 million
Americans in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the White
The Republican Trump administration has proposed cutting
spending on worker-training programs. Democrats have defended
job-training spending in part because the programs assist those who
are unemployed and can't access training through a private-sector
employer. In their latest spending proposal, House Democrats
allocated more dollars to the Labor Department for training than
the administration sought.
The U.S. government spends less on worker training than most
other developed countries, according to an Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development study cited by White House
However, even if additional spending improved outcomes, the
council's paper said, "it would take a large improvement for the
benefits to outweigh the higher costs."
The report said the Job Corps youth-employment program and
programs intended to put formerly incarcerated people back to work
were producing weak results relative to their cost.
The paper also found that the Labor Department's largest
program, in terms of number served, did little to help workers who
were dislocated due to international trade, automation or other
factors. Dislocated workers received "no significant effect on
earnings from training" from the program, now known as Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act or WIOA, several studies showed.
The paper said job-search assistance, which is provided through
WIOA and other programs, provided a short-term boost to worker's
wages. Mr. Philipson, however, said getting back to work quickly
has to be balanced against forgoing the chance to improve one's
White House economic advisers described registered
apprenticeships as the exception among federal programs, with
payoffs for workers in both skills and income.
A 2012 study cited by their paper found people who completed
apprenticeship training earned an average of $240,037 more over a
lifetime than similar nonparticipants.
The Labor Department released a proposal Monday to create a new
type of apprenticeship that would be run by business groups,
colleges and other entities, rather than the federal
The White House paper also said there is limited data on
private-sector training programs, but the evidence that does exist
shows they are more effective. Mr. Philipson said that suggests the
government should be looking for ways to subsidize private programs
or create private-public partnerships.
The paper, however, didn't provide any formal policy
Write to Eric Morath at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 24, 2019 15:18 ET (19:18 GMT)
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