Audit: Green jobs stimulus program wastes cash

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President Obama’s green jobs training program, which was part of his stimulus, has failed on most key jobs measures, according to a new internal audit that found it was training workers who already had jobs that didn’t need green energy skills, and was failing to place new enrollees in jobs once they finished the training.

The Labor Department’s inspector general also said grantees who received the green jobs-training money did a poor job of reporting their results.

Only 38 percent of those who have completed training got jobs based on it, and only 16 percent kept jobs for at least six months — the key measure of success for the program.

“Outcomes for participants were far less than originally proposed,” the auditors said.

The government earmarked more than $400 million for green jobs training programs, and $328.5 million has been spent so far.

About half were already working in the energy sector and wanted retraining, and half were potential new energy workers.

Of those workers who already had energy-sector jobs, the auditors said they were retrained, even though they didn’t need it.

“We found no evidence that the incumbent workers in our sample required services or training to keep their job or obtain a new one,” the investigators said in their report.

The Labor Department challenged the findings, saying that auditors didn’t consider the full progress of those who got training. The department said some of those who got training found jobs before their training was completed and said they should have been counted.

Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training, also said as the rest of the training is completed, they expect the numbers to improve.

The audit was released by House oversight committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, who requested the update.

Mr. Issa said in addition to poor performance records, the green jobs money “served as a slush fund” for the Obama administration to dole out payments to allies “like the National Council of La Raza, the Blue Green alliance and the U.S. Steelworkers Union.”

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