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Oklahoma's Sen. Tom Coburn criticizes federal job training programs

Government Accountability Office says most programs don't use reliable method of measuring outcomes.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL ccasteel@opubco.com Published: February 10, 2011
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— Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday criticized waste and duplication in federal job training programs, while Congress' auditing arm reported that there is little information about the programs' effectiveness.

According to the Government Accountability Office, nine federal agencies spent about $18 billion in the 2009 fiscal year to administer 47 programs.

“Nearly all programs track multiple outcome measures, but only five programs have had an impact study completed since 2004 to assess whether outcomes resulted from the program and not some other cause,” the GAO reported.

Many of the programs were created to help certain populations, such as American Indians, veterans and youths, and most overlap in some way, according to the GAO.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, requested the report and said in an interview Wednesday that he thinks the amount spent on job training could easily be cut in half. He also questioned whether job training was a federal responsibility.

In a separate report, Coburn's office reported on waste found in federal job training programs.

That report states:

• A $4 million program in New Jersey to train people how to weatherize buildings was ended because only seven of 184 people who received training were able to find jobs in the field.

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