National Skills Coalition, as Co-Convener of NDD United, Releases “Faces of Austerity”

November 12, 2013

As the House and Senate budget conference committee readies to meet on November 13, a new report shows how millions of Americans have been hurt by the reckless cuts to programs that rely on discretionary federal funding, including workforce development programs.

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, releases “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.

“Employment and job training programs have been particularly hard hit by sequestration. Since 2010, funding has been cut by more than $1 billion. ‘Faces of Austerity’ shows the real impact of these cuts in communities across the country. 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,” said Rachel Gragg, NSC federal policy director. “NDD programs have borne more than their fair share of funding cuts. The budget conferees, who will be meeting again tomorrow, must end sequestration and find a balanced alternative to deficit reduction.”

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.

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:

  • Detroit, Michigan. Since fiscal year 2012, federal employment and job training funds for Focus: HOPE have been cut by more than $5 million, reducing the number of people trained and increasing waiting lists.
  • Northern New England. Due to reduction in funding for On-the-Job Training (OJT), local businesses on the cusp of expanding their workforce instead have been forced to leave jobs unfilled because Goodwill NNE does not have the funding to place clients into jobs.
  • Lane County, Oregon. Over the past three years, the number of vouchers available to jobseekers for skills training has fallen from 160 to 43, and OJT opportunities are down from 101 to 63.
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) has seen a more than 50 percent increase in demand, but the program is no longer able to accept new students due to funding cuts.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio. As a result of sequestration, the SuperJobs Center’s budget will be cut 26 percent.

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