The Office of Management and Budget has proposed new Labor Department cuts that would all but wipe out the federal government's manpower training programs for minorities, unskilled workers and welfare clients, sources said yesterday.
The OMB has decided to allow the department $1.56 billion in fiscal 1983 for a variety of job-training and manpower programs, according to department and congressional sources.
Federal obligations for these programs in fiscal 1981 totaled nearly $8 billion.
The training programs help Indians, migrant workers, older Americans, welfare clients, black and Hispanic youth and unskilled workers gain skills needed to compete for jobs in today's market.
Unemployment rates of many of these groups, especially minority youth, are far higher than for the general population, in part because many lack marketable labor skills; for black teen-agers last month it was 41.3 percent nationally, more than twice that for white teen-agers.
The OMB's $1.56 billion figure is less than half what the department itself, in a request that it considered austere, had asked OMB to allow it for fiscal 1983.
News of the OMB's proposed cut, which Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan is expected to appeal to the White House this week, came only one day after the department revealed that national unemployment had risen to 8.4 percent, the highest rate in six years. Sources said Donovan will probably ask the White House to overrule the OMB and allow him between $2.8 billion and $3.2 billion--not as much as he wanted but far more than the OMB proposal.
Manpower training programs and public service employment (PSE) have always been favorites of the Democrats, and in fiscal 1981, the last year in which the Democrats had budget control, total obligations for such programs reached $7.8 billion.
However, when President Reagan took office he proposed that $3.4 billion allocated for public service jobs in fiscal 1982 be killed and Congress complied as part of last summer's big budget-and-reconciliation bill.
That cut the proposed program level for fiscal 1982 to about $4.5 billion.
A few weeks ago, the Labor Department proposed that the level for fiscal 1983 be set at $3.433 billion, wiping out the summer youth job programs, the existing training programs under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, and squeezing back the Job Corps, the special training programs for Indians and migrants and the community service job program for older Americans.
While killing most of the CETA programs, the department did propose a new, smaller, private sector business-labor training program (BLT) under which "consortia of private sector employers and organized labor" would provide job training to targeted groups. This new BLT initiative accounted for $2.2 billion of the Labor Department's $3.433 billion request.
Now, according to sources, the OMB wants to cut the $3.433 billion to $1.56 billion. Of this, $1 billion (instead of the $2.2 billion Donovan wanted) would be for the new private-sector BLT program; $365 million for the Job Corps; and $200 million for all training under the Trade Adjustment Act (which helps retrain workers idled by imports), Indians, migrants and the older Americans program. OMB proposes no new authority for the Work Incentive Program, which helps train and place welfare clients (Donovan had proposed $320 million).
Donovan's appeal reportedly will seek $2.2 billion for BLT, $400 million for the Job Corps and $200 million for Trade Adjustment Act training, Indians, migrants and older Americans combined--$2.8 billion in all, plus several hundred million more for a welfare-related program similar to the Work Incentive Program.
A few years ago, the Labor Department training and PSE programs aided about 3 million people a year. Under the OMB plan, the number of people helped would probably be a tenth of that.