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The Inspector General wanted answers to these questions:
l. How has the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) defined green jobs?
2. What is the status of funds expended and how have grant funds been used?
3. To what extent have performance targets for training and placement been achieved?
The definition ETA used for green jobs was those associated with renewable energy and natural resources. The report of the Inspector general, released Sept. 30 included grantee’s reported data as of June 30, 2011, (latest available) for grants awarded for training and placement from December 2009 to January 2013.
“Not all green jobs so defined are new or unique occupations; some build on existing occupations,” the Inspector General’s report said.
Of the approximately $500 million provided to ETA, three training programs were awarded. Grantees reported spending 33 percent of the amounts awarded with 73 percent of the grant time elapsed.
Failure continued. Grantees reported serving 42 percent of the targeted participants and placing only 10 percent into jobs. And the effort has slowed. The Inspector General report said: “There is no evidence that grantees will effectively use the funds…by the end of the grant periods (2013).” Any of the millions not needed “should be recouped as soon as practicable.”
Training grantees reported only 1,336 participants “retained employment for at least six months, or 2 percent of the targeted 69,717 participants. “ETA could not demonstrate that grantees were on target to meet grant outcomes, nor was there a plan to ensure that they could,” the report continued.
“Not all green jobs so defined are new or unique occupations…For example, existing skills are modified to prepare workers for careers in the energy efficiency, renewable energy sectors and for other [supposed] green jobs such as power plant operators; electrical engineers; heating, ventilating and air conditioning mechanics; and installers; roofers, and construction managers.”
Examples of the breadth of occupations and tasks pertaining to what the government considers as green jobs include such tasks as: structural retrofitting and repair, collection of vegetable oil, operating a forklift, and reading product work orders.
The roughly $500 million authorized for the Labor Department training programs may, or may not, be typical in the embarrassing failures.
But the Administration doesn’t exactly have a host of successes to point to in its scramble even to be able to describe accurately what a green job is.
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