The Washington Post

Labor official resigns amid Job Corps budget woes


A top Labor Department official who acknowledged budgeting missteps and cost overruns while overseeing Job Corps announced Monday that she has resigned, effective at the end of the month.

Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration. (Labor Department). Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration. (Labor Department).

Jane Oates, assistant secretary of Labor’s Employment and Training division, notified employees of her decision in an e-mail touting her accomplishments. The message made no mention of budget woes for the federal job training program.

Job Corps froze new enrollments in January after running a deficit of $60 million, but the program lifted the stoppage in April. It still plans to reduce enrollment by 20 percent, according to the National Job Corps Association, which represents the contractors that run the program’s training centers.

The association has estimated that the freeze blocked at least 10,000 prospective trainees from Job Corps and cost about 700 people their jobs at training centers.

“The most amazing part of my experience at ETA has been your willingness to examine your processes and help create change,” Oates said in her e-mail to employees.

In 2010, the Labor Department restructured how it handles Job Corps, in part by placing budgeting and procurement operations in separate areas of the Employment and Training division instead of the Office of Job Corps. The program incurred a $30 million deficit during its next budget cycle, followed by the $60 million shortfall this year.

During a Senate hearing in March, Oates acknowledged that budgeting missteps and a lack of accounting expertise among senior staff contributed to the cost overruns. She told lawmakers that the shortfall was due to “inadequate staffing and monitoring on the part of the Job Corps program.”

Critics contend that ETA ignored budgeting advice from vendors who run the job-training centers.

“We are hopeful that the department’s new leadership will work more collaboratively with Job Corps stakeholders to ensure vulnerable young Americans are never again unnecessarily turned away from Job Corps,” said National Job Corps Association government-relations director Anand Vimalassery.

Oates said ETA’s accomplishments during her tenure included disbursing nearly $1 billion in Recovery Act funds, creating a partnership between Job Corps, IBM and Jamba Juice, and improving relationships between home and regional offices.

Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio declined to comment on Oates’s resignation, saying the agency does not discuss personnel matters.


For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, subscribe to his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comE-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.