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Today, NDD United, an alliance co-convened by National Skills Coalition (NSC) that includes more than 3,200 national, state and local organizations working to stop needless cuts to core government functions, released “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Safe.” The report is the first comprehensive look at the impact of sequestration across several sectors, including workforce development, telling the stories of those who have been impacted most by Washington’s failure to protect the programs that keep us healthy, safe, educated and ready to work.
Federal funding for discretionary programs is severely restricted over the next decade as a result of the budget caps and mandatory spending cuts (known as sequestration) created under the Budget Control Act. By 2023, funding for discretionary programs will be cut by more than $2 trillion relative to the inflation-adjusted 2010 funding levels. As a result, NDD spending will equal a smaller percentage of our economy than ever before—with data going back to 1962—if lawmakers do not act to replace sequestration with a more meaningful and comprehensive deficit reduction strategy.
Employment and job training programs have been particularly hard hit by sequestration. Since 2010, funding has been cut by more than $1 billion. Education and training providers have had to reduce services, fewer workers have been served, and fewer employers have the skilled workers they need to grow their businesses. NDD programs have borne more than their fair share of funding cuts.
At the release event, Ryan Dinkgrave, government affairs manager at Focus: HOPE which is one of the featured organizations in the report, talked about how the cuts have impacted jobseekers and employers in Detroit. One of those employers, Rosemary Brewer of Detroit Manufacturing System (DMS), was looking for new, skilled employees when DMS started operations in spring 2012. She was able to turn to organizations like Focus: HOPE to find workers with the skills DMS needed to fill 800 open positions. Under sequestration, programs like Focus: HOPE will be less able to fill this need.
As Congress continues working toward a budget agreement that is due by mid-December, they must find a balanced approach that ends sequestration before more damage is done to programs millions of people rely upon, including in:
Many of these stories were also included in “Undoing Success: The Real Impact of Federal Workforce Development Funding Cuts on Jobseekers and Employers,” a NSC report that included an analysis of a national survey NSC conducted to better understand the impact of federal funding cuts. Survey respondents reported that they have been forced to lay off and/or furlough staff, reduce employment services to jobseekers and employers, close career centers, delay purchasing essential equipment, and reduce or completely eliminate job training programs.
“Faces of Austerity”, “Undoing Success”, and other information about federal funding cuts impact on workforce development programs can be found at www.nationalskillscoalition.org/ShareTheImpact. There you will also have the opportunity to share with NSC how your organization has been impacted by cuts to federal workforce development funding.