* Of 81,354 people trained, fewer than 31,000 got "green
* Fewer than 12,000 of those jobs lasted more than 6 mos
* Labor Dept: grants still active, thousands still in
By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, Oct 26 A $500-million "green jobs"
program to train U.S. workers for new jobs and help spark
recovery from the great recession has fallen far short of its
goals, according to a report from the Labor Department's
internal watchdog released on Friday.
As of June 30, fewer than 31,000 people who went through
training programs got green jobs, only 38 percent of what had
been projected, the department's Inspector General said in the
Of those workers, less than 12,000 kept these jobs for more
than six months, a mere 16 percent of what organizations that
got grants had targeted when they were awarded the money.
"The impact of the Recovery Act Green Jobs training program
has been limited in terms of reported employment outcomes," the
The Labor Department said it disagreed with the conclusions.
"This report does not take into account that nearly half of the
grants are still active and thousands of workers are still
participating in the program," a spokeswoman said in a
The department said its own early analysis showed that most
program participants who obtained jobs by Dec. 31, 2010, had
kept them. For 13,000 workers who completed training by June 30,
2011, 57 percent had obtained jobs, it said.
The department's $500-million training program was part of
the $90 billion earmarked for clean-energy spending in the 2009
economic stimulus package.
The administration of President Barack Obama had aimed to
create more than 700,000 jobs while spurring development of
renewable power and making buildings more energy efficient.
The Obama administration's clean-energy spending has been
pilloried as wasteful during the presidential campaign, with
Republican challenger Mitt Romney often brandishing the example
of bankrupt solar company Solyndra that received a government
loan of more than $500 million.
The Inspector General's audit was requested by Darrell Issa,
the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives
Issa, a frequent critic of Obama's green-energy spending,
said in a statement that the report showed the program was
"poorly thought-out, mismanaged and dysfunctional."
PROVIDE WORKERS WITH USEFUL SKILLS
The goal of the training program was to arm workers with new
skills such as retrofitting buildings. Nearly $330 million of
the program funds have been spent as of June 30, the report
Some 81,354 people had completed training programs by that
date, most of which lasted five days or less.
The Inspector General took a closer look at eight
organizations that received grants and said poor record keeping
made it difficult for programs to substantiate how many workers
got jobs as a results of the training.
"The inability to document program outcomes raises questions
about what was achieved with the significant investment
represented by this program," the report said.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley said the report shows
the program did not work and wasted tax dollars.
"It's important to have this documentation of low success
rates the next time someone advocates for an expensive federal
stimulus program," Grassley said in a statement.
The Labor Department said it would conduct its own studies
after the program officially ends in September using
unemployment insurance and federal employment data.
"This program and other administration investments have
supported hundreds of thousands of workers and helped to build
new industries," the department's spokeswoman said, noting wind
and solar power generation has doubled during the past four