IG report: Mismanagement led to Job Corps

By:  Josh Hicks

Poor budgeting caused the Job Corps cost overruns that led to an enrollment suspension for the federal job-training program earlier this year, according to a report from the Labor Department’s inspector general.

Job Corps froze new enrollments in January after running a deficit of $60 million. The program lifted the hold in April but still plans to reduce enrollment by 20 percent.

The IG report said Job Corps mismanaged its budgeting processes. It faulted the program’s officials for projecting costs in excess of the total appropriations and poorly monitoring how those estimates compared to actual costs.

Jane Oates, the Labor official who headed Job Corps during the budgeting missteps, resigned earlier this month. Her last day is Friday, which coincides with the release of the IG’s findings.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Penn.), who called for the audit, issued a statement calling on Job Corps to restore trust with the American people.

“Job Corps has a proven record of providing young people with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace,” Casey said. “Unfortunately, mismanagement by Washington bureaucracy has undermined the program. The Inspector General’s report sheds new light on the persistent failure to adequately budget, plan and monitor costs.”

Casey urged the Senate to quickly confirm President Obama’s controversial pick to become the next Labor secretary, Thomas Perez. He also encouraged  the president to swiftly nominate a replacement for Oates.

“As the IG report makes clear: basic financial and personnel management problems are at the root of the problem,” the senator said. “It is imperative that vacant positions at the Department of Labor are quickly filled.”