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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

GOP U.S. House budget would close job development agency Michigan Works!


Photo Credit-Michigan Works! Agency
Workforce development agency Michigan
Works! would close if the GOP U.S. House
budget is passed by the Senate and signed
by President Obama
Michigan Works! a workforce development agency for state based employment seekers would be shut down under a budget passed by U.S. House. Members of the Senate have not backed the spending cuts as of today’s date and, it is unknown if President Obama would sign the job killing legislation.

Currently, the program serves some 3 million Michigan residents, is largely funded by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, signed by into law former President Bill Clinton. The House legislation would cut more than $3.6 billion in funding for that act after July 1 and rescind $175 million for the current year, effectively ending service.

"It would kind of just pull the linchpin out of the middle and everything would collapse," said Doug Stites, CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works to the Lansing State Journal.
The current federal spending plan expires on Friday. So far the House and Senate have not been unable to reach a consensus on a federal budget.

Republican state Congressional Representatives Mike Rogers and Tim Walberg expressed their support for the legislation in their vote for the measure that would great impact job creation, with Michigan’s double digit 11.7 percent unemployment rate.

Rep. Rogers, (R)-Howell, voted in favor of the House legislation to cut $61 billion in spending.
"We are facing a $1.65 trillion deficit and $14 trillion in debt, built upon taxing and out of control spending. It is an anchor around the necks of people who are trying to return to work," he said to the Journal "Congress needs to make the necessary difficult decisions that will help people to get back on the job."
Rep. Tim Walberg (R)-Tipton, who also voted for the cuts. said the House-approved budget According to a statement on his website, his support for the measure was based on private industry picking up the job, where Michigan Works! would be eliminated from doing.
"It will get the government out of the way so that the private sector can create jobs," Walberg's website stated.
Michigan Works! has more than 100 service centers throughout the state, including locations in Southeastern Michigan in Ypsilanti, Wayne, Detroit and Westland where unemployed job seekers can look for jobs, meet with career counselors, attend job fairs, receive training and other programs.

At this point, there is not other existing system large enough to handle the volume of people seeking employment, that is served by Michigan Works!

Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has signed a letter to the Senate asking that the program be extended.

With the loss of federal money, continuing the program that partially funds retraining under Michigan's No Worker Left Behind effort "becomes a big challenge because of the budget situation we're in," Snyder told The News.

Gov. Snyder's statement on the elimination of Michigan Works! is confusing, especially since a large majority of dollars for Michigan's No Worker Left Behind program was effectively ended in July 2010, when Congress did not reinstate funding. 

No Worker Left Behind, which was enacted to allow unemployed job seekers to receive training or attend colleges to obtain work in 'high-demand' fieldshas not accepted any new state job seeking applicants since June 2010.

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