Casey Statement on Release of Job Corps IG Report

Senator Casey Called for IG Investigation

Washington, DC— Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on the release of the Inspector General’s report on Job Corps.  Senator Casey had asked for the report.

“Job Corps has a proven record of providing young people with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.  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.

This report highlights serious problems in Job Corps that must be addressed.  There needs to be increased accountability as well as transparency. Most importantly, Jobs Corps management needs to restore the confidence of the American people. 

As the IG report makes clear: basic financial and personnel management problems are at the root of the problem.  It is imperative that vacant positions at the Department of Labor are quickly filled.  Tom Perez should be quickly voted on and confirmed by the Senate to be the next Secretary of Labor and a new Assistant Secretary for Education and Training must be nominated and confirmed.

I look forward to meeting with the incoming Administrator for the Office of Job Corps to hear in detail how the IG’s recommendations will be implemented.

I intend to continue to press for improvements to shore up financial management and to ensure Job Corps can continue to train young people to enter the workforce and contribute to the economy.”  

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 full copy of Senator Casey’s letter is below:

February 1, 2013

The Honorable Daniel R. Petrole

Deputy Inspector General

Office of Inspector General

Dear Mr. Petrole:

I am writing to express my serious concerns with the management of the Job Corps program by the Department of Labor.  I am requesting that you conduct an investigation into the program and the source of its budgetary problems.

On January 18, 2013, the Department announced that it was freezing all new enrollments at the 125 Job Corps centers nationwide, due to a $60 million budgetary shortfall for program year 2012.  This freeze will result in significant job losses.  Pennsylvania will be one of the hardest hit states, with more than 400 layoffs projected—the fifth most in the country.  The freeze will also prevent almost 30,000 students from attending Job Corps, including more than 1,300 students at centers in Pennsylvania.

I am deeply troubled by these cuts, particularly since this is the second year in a row where the program has suffered from a major financial shortfall.  This kind of repeated problem raises serious questions about the management by the Department.  Pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, 5 USC App., I ask that your office investigate the Department’s administration of the Job Corps program. 

Specifically, I ask that you investigate the following:

  • In a letter to Senators Harkin and Shelby dated June 20, 2012, the Department states that the program year 2011 shortfall went unrecognized in large part because Job Corps lacked needed “program monitoring tools and internal controls.”  Did the Department take the necessary steps to implement these tools and controls after this first shortfall?
  • It is my understanding that despite facing an initial shortfall in program year 2011, the Job Corps failed to obligate all of the funding appropriated to it, allowing $5.6 million to expire on June 30, 2012.  Why did the Department fail to make use of this funding prior to its expiration?
  • In its June 20, 2012 letter, the Department lists a number of specific long-term improvements it planned to take to prevent additional shortfalls.  Did the Department implement these steps?  If so, why were they ineffective at preventing a shortfall in program year 2012?
  • Has the Department effectively communicated with the operators of the job corps centers about budgetary issues?  Please provide an outline of how the Department conducts these types of communication.  Has the Department made use of cost-saving measures proposed by the operators in order to lower expenditures?
  • What were the root causes of the program year 2012 shortfall, and how do those problems compare to the program year 2011 shortfall?

At a time when Congress is looking to reduce spending, it is critical that programs like Job Corps operate efficiently in order to serve as many students as possible with the resources available. 

Thank you for attention to this request.  I look forward to your response,

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

 

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