Casey Presses Department of Labor for Answers on Current Job Corps Finances

Senator Played Lead Role in Program’s Oversight When Budget Shortfall Realized- Called for IG Investigation, Held Hearing / Transparency is Essential for Survival of Important Program

Casey Presses Department of Labor for Answers on  Current Job Corps Finances

Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, sent a letter to the Department of Labor asking them to disclose additional financial information on Job Corps. 

“Students in Pennsylvania and around the country rely on Job Corps for the skills they need to successfully enter the workforce,” said Senator Casey.  “Unfortunately, financial mismanagement has severely impacted the program and led to a three-month enrollment freeze that prevented students from attending Job Corps. Transparency is key to ensuring that financial management is improved and the Job Corps program can serve our communities effectively and efficiently.”   

Pennsylvania has four Job Corps sites across the Commonwealth: Keystone, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Red Rock.  These facilities provide disadvantaged youth with the opportunity to gain the skills needed to secure a good job, enter the Armed Services, or further their education.  Students, educators and community leaders rely on the contributions Pennsylvania’s Job Corps centers make to their communities. 

The text of Senator Casey’s letter is below:

Eric M. Seleznow
Acting Assistant Secretary / Deputy Assistant Secretary
Employment and Training Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Dear Acting Assistant Secretary Seleznow:

Thank you for meeting with my staff to provide an update on Job Corps and the surplus for Program Year 2012.  As you know, due to the recent shortfalls in the Job Corps budget and the impact on Job Corps students, centers and the taxpayers there is a heightened interest in ensuring budgetary issues are resolved. 

Due to the past budget shortfalls and financial mismanagement, I am sure that you can understand the need to make an extra effort to be transparent regarding Job Corps’ financial status.

This briefing raised some additional questions about Job Corps’ financial status that I hope you could answer.

Could you please provide more detail on the “$32 million to $42 million” surplus that you outlined for PY12? Specifically, why is there still a $10 million range months after the end of the program year? 

When I met with Department of Labor officials in June, I was led to believe that information on the PY12 financial status would be available by the end of July.  Why did it take over four months from the end of the Program Year to provide even these general details of this under-run?  When will an accurate surplus number be available?  If the delay was due to financial reporting issues that contributed to the past budget shortfalls, please provide an update on what steps have been taken to improve financial reporting and data sharing.     

If the PY12 surplus is attributable to the enrollment freeze, have any savings resulted from other programmatic changes?  Additionally, please provide a breakdown of any cost-savings associated with the reduction in contracted on-board strength (OBS) announced at the end of the enrollment freeze.  Have savings realized from the reduction in OBS matched projections used in determining the amount of the OBS reduction?    

As you recall, the HELP Committee unanimously adopted an amendment to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization that I proposed along with Senators Orrin Hatch and Sheldon Whitehouse.  In part, this amendment called for regular financial reports to Congress on the Job Corps program.  Given the great interest among taxpayers that Job Corps' budget problems are resolved, I would encourage you to consider voluntarily providing six-month updates to Congress until the WIA is reauthorized.

Thank you for your attention.  I look forward to continuing to work together to make sure the financial management problems are a thing of the past, that transparency is improved and that Job Corps enrollment is increased to better serve local communities.

Given the past budget shortfalls and financial mismanagement, I am sure that you can understand the need to make an extra effort to be transparent about the financial status of Job Corps.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator