Labor Department budget would consolidate programs

President Obama’s spending plan for the Labor Department consolidates some of the agency’s multiple job-creation programs, some of which are underperforming.

The fiscal 2013 budget would boost spending slightly, by 1 percent, to $12 billion. Spending would increase for worker-protection programs.

Merging duplicative programs is at the heart of the Obama administration’s effort to make government more efficient.

Several overlapping job-training programs would be eliminated, and most Labor Department agencies would shutter some regional offices. The budget ends funding for programs called Women in Apprenticeship in Non-Traditional Occupations and Veterans Workforce Investment. Officials said they hope to meet the goal of these programs in other ways.

The federal Job Corps program, which helps train low-income young people, would be significantly pared down for a $54 million savings. Low-performing Job Corps offices would close and plans for construction and renovation would be delayed or canceled.

“The program could be more effective and efficient,” the agency’s budget proposal says.

The budget continues existing efforts to make programs more effective and cost-efficient. At least $9 million would be spent to step up evaluation of current programs, providing the agency with “valuable information about strategies and approaches that work so that resources are invested strategically,” the budget proposal says.

The president also wants to create an $8 billion fund, split between the Labor Department and the Department of Education, to help community colleges train workers for jobs in fields where employers need skilled labor.

The fund could train up to 2 million workers to fill current and future vacancies.

Lisa Rein covers the federal workforce and issues that concern the management of government.
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