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The Costs of Job Training Stirs Debate

December 23, 2011

According to Scott Graham in the Baltimore Business Journal, unemployment is big business. Billions of dollars big.

During much of the previous decade, the U.S. Department of Labor spent at least $3 billion a year on workforce development programs.

As you could probably image, in this era of budget cuts and belt-tightening, that number dropped this year — to just more than $2.5 billion.

The federal government is throwing lots of money at unemployment because it’s still a very big problem. Nationwide, unemployment is at 8.6 percent of the labor force. In Maryland, it’s a slightly better 6.9 percent.

In the third and final part of the BBJ’s Back to Work series, we followed the money — from the federal labor department’s budget all the way down to some of the businesses, nonprofits, colleges and other organizations that received cash to spend on job training and other workforce development initiatives. What we found in our reporting are a lot of people looking for more money, some people wondering whether all the spending is working and some examples of how programs like the state’s One-Stop Career Centers are helping some of the unemployed find work.


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