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The Green Energy debacle has washed down the proverbial drain another half billion dollars with no visible success or green jobs created or saved

Green Jobs Debacle


By —— Bio and Archives--December 25, 2011

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Sifting through Congressional records is not my idea of fun. I wanted to find out for myself where half a billion-taxpayer dollars were spent with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was earmarked to fund employment and training programs for Americans.

The unemployment rate was abysmal yet the Employment Training Administration (ETA) received half a billion dollars in grants for research, labor exchange, and job training projects for careers in renewable energy industries and energy efficiency, the administration’s so-called “Green Jobs” program. Where were the jobs?

The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), an independent entity, was asked by Congress to audit this Green Jobs program. The Inspector General’s office was told to find out how ETA defined “green jobs,” how ETA used the half billion dollars, how much training and placement workers received, and what was their job retention rate. The findings were a typical example of government waste of taxpayer dollars.

“Green jobs” were defined as “jobs associated with products and services that use renewable energy resources, reduce pollution, and conserve natural resources. This is nothing new, since such jobs were defined in the Occupational Information Network and more recently in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Green Jobs Act of 2007, long before the current presidency.

The half billion dollars were awarded as grants to 189 entities, mostly for training programs and $54.7 million for non-training programs. Program administration and technical assistance swallowed the remaining $9.9 million.

Twenty-five projects, mostly first time recipients of grants, prepared and placed workers for “green jobs” such as hybrid/electric auto technicians, weatherization specialists (caulkers), and solar panel installers.

Thirty-eight grants were distributed to Pathways Out of Poverty projects ($147.7 million) for worker recruitment, job referral services, basic skills, work-readiness, occupational skills training, and supportive services to overcome barriers to employment. Non-profit agencies, community colleges, and State Workforce Agencies received the funds. I am translating this as another redistribution of wealth scheme to support the current administration’s goals.

Non-training programs squandered $54.7 million to disseminate “green jobs” information through State Labor Markets, to help workers find jobs after training, equipment purchases, curriculum development, and hiring of additional staff.

The audit found that all the money had been allocated as of June 30, 2011. Only 33 percent of the grants were spent, the entire sum was already obligated to be spent in the future, but 73 percent of the training and non-training periods had already elapsed. The money was spent but only some training took place. So much for government efficiency and use of taxpayer dollars.

Forty-two percent of the recipients were trained. Twenty-seven percent had completed training. Only ten percent of participants entered employment and only TWO percent had retained employment for more than six months. This is a monumental waste of half a billion dollars. Even ETA acknowledged that grant recipients complained that the overall economic conditions were poor and green jobs had not materialized.

“ETA could not demonstrate that grantees were on target to meet grant outcomes nor was there a plan to ensure that they could.”

Elliot P. Lewis, Assistant Inspector General for Audit, testified to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on November 2, 2011 that OIG is “concerned as to whether grantees will effectively use the funds and deliver targeted employment outcomes by the end of the grant periods.”

It is a false statement to say that there is high demand for “green job-related skills.” The OIG audit recommended that “ETA evaluate the Green Jobs program and obtain a current estimate of the funds each grantee will realistically spend given the current job market and the demand for green job-related skills.”

Unfortunately the taxpayers lost half a billion dollars because ETA had obligated all of its Recovery Act funds, “and it expects that all funds will have been expended by September 30, 2013, as required by the Office of Management and Budget.”

The Green Energy debacle has washed down the proverbial drain another half billion dollars with no visible success or green jobs “created or saved,” to use a favorite expression of this administration.



Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Listen to Dr. Paugh on Butler on Business,  every Wednesday to Thursday at 10:49 AM EST

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com

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