Casey to look into Job Corps shortfall

Posted: March 06, 2013

 Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) will hold a congressional hearing next week into a federal shortfall that is causing the suspension of new enrollments for Job Corps, the job-training program for low-income young people.

At a news conference outside the office of the Job Corps in South Philadelphia Monday, Casey said he would investigate why the U.S. Department of Labor was short $61.5 million in funding the program begun in the 1960s.

"They haven't given me much of an answer," Casey said. "But someone needs to be held accountable."

In addition to an enrollment freeze, which began Jan. 28 and will run through June 30, the shortfall will cause the loss of Job Corps staff jobs, Casey said.

Nationwide, nearly 30,000 young people ages 16 to 24 will be denied enrollment, according to Casey's office. At the same time, around 10,000 Job Corps staff are projected to lose their jobs.

In Philadelphia, nearly 180 young people who would have been enrolled will not have the chance to be in the program, Casey's office said. And there may be 25 staff members laid off.

Job Corps' total national budget for fiscal year 2012 is $1.7 billion, Casey's office said.

Several lawmakers have speculated that mismanagement is causing the problem.

In a statement, a Washington Job Corps spokesperson cited "significant cost overruns in 2011-12" that have plagued the program.

After various efforts to find savings, Job Corps suspended enrollments, the spokesperson wrote.

"The decision to suspend enrollment was not made lightly," the statement continued. "The suspension, however, will help ensure that Job Corps and its 125 centers across the country operate within current appropriated funding levels."

The freeze is not expected to last beyond June 30, the spokesperson said.


Contact Alfred Lubrano at 215-854-4969 or alubrano@phillynews.com

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