While the Energy Department’s efforts to create “green jobs” have received significant attention – and criticism – since the collapse of solar company Solyndra, another federal agency may soon be in the spotlight for its lackluster performance in stimulating the economy through employment in the green technology sector.
The Labor Department’s “Green Jobs Program,” designed to train workers for employment in the field, has placed 8,034 trainees, according to a report from the department’s inspector general. That is less than 10 percent of its target placement rate. What’s more, 39 percent of those placed already had jobs, meaning the program’s employment boost was even smaller than the full number of trainees suggests.
The IG report concludes, “there is no evidence that grantees will effectively use the funds and deliver targeted employment outcomes by the end of the grant periods.” It recommends that the program reevaluated, and that DOL recoup funds from the $327.3 million not yet spent on the program “so [it] can be available for other purposes.”
The White House touted the training program in discussions of the stimulus bill, claiming it would “ensure a plentiful supply of…Americans workers with the skills they need to excel in new green jobs.” The stimulus marked $500 million for DOL’s effort. While only
The IG’s report pulled no punches. The administrators of the program, it says, “could not demonstrate that grantees were on target to meet grant outcomes nor was there a plan to ensure that they could.”
“With no evidence to support grantees were on target to meet outcomes,” the IG concluded, “grantees may not assist those most impacted by the recession and achieve performance outcomes such as placements within the time limits set by grant agreements.”