House Budget Will Cut Job Training, Hurting Workers and Employers

March 21, 2013

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget resolution, which would cut non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs—including federal workforce development programs—by $1.1 trillion. Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) used the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Learning (SKILLS) Act (H.R. 803), legislation passed by the House last week reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), as a justification for further disinvesting in America’s workers and employers. National Skills Coalition opposes the House budget resolution.

“The House-passed budget resolution does not adopt a balanced approach to deficit reduction. It raids non-defense discretionary programs, including federal education and job training programs, which have already sustained disproportionately deep cuts and simply can’t afford anymore,” said Rachel Gragg, federal policy director for National Skills Coalition. “Instead of continuing to cut the programs, Congress should instead invest in educating and preparing workers for skilled jobs to help both America’s families and its employers while strengthening the economy.”

Since just 2010, discretionary programs have already contributed $1.5 trillion in spending cuts from the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Budget Control Act (BCA), the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution and the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act, while new revenues have contributed just $600 billion. The House budget resolution passed today would make these cuts much worse, failing to replace sequestration except for defense spending, and reducing federal investments in NDD programs by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Congress has cut funding to employment and training programs by more than $1 billion over the past two years. If sequestration remains in effect, as it does in the House-passed budget resolution, nearly 2 million individuals will lose access to critical employment and training programs.

These cuts will hurt individuals most in need of skills training:

  • The federal program that re-trains the long-term unemployed will be cut by almost $80 million, denying services to nearly 30,000 individuals.
  • Adult Basic Education programs have a waiting list of more than 160,000 people. Over 40,000 additional learners won’t be served.
  • High risk students in grades 11 and 12 are 8 to 10 times less likely to drop out if they are enrolled in a Career and Technical Education program, but with these cuts nearly 750,000 fewer students would be served.

The economic future of our workers, employers, and country depends on, in part, having a skilled workforce. Workforce programs cannot afford more cuts. NSC urges the President and Congress to find a permanent, balanced solution that invests in our workers and employers to grow our economy.