Monday, January 21, 2002

Ohio could lose money for job training program




The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Federal officials say Ohio stands to lose millions of dollars in federal job training funds because the money hasn't been spent.

        Ohio has been one of the slowest states to use money available to it through the Workforce Investment Act, enacted in 1998.

        As a result, the state will be among the hardest hit when the Labor Department takes back unspent funds the act made available, Mason Bishop, who helps oversee the act for the department, told the Columbus Dispatch.

        Exact state-by-state cuts have not been announced, Mr. Bishop said.

        Federal regulators have writ ten Ohio officials a letter noting that as of September, the state had spent 28 percent of $131.4 million of the money it received in July 2000. The state received an additional $130 million in 2001.

        State Job and Family Services Director Tom Hayes said the cuts are premature and he predicted that Ohio will spend every cent.

        “I think there is unspent money because of a programming change,” he said. “Everything about this program is different, and it takes awhile to get a new program up and running.”

        The act, co-authored by Republican Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, was designed to streamline dozens of programs into a one-stop system that gives states, businesses and individuals greater power to shape training efforts.

        Some states were quick to take advantage of the funding and merge programs operated under the old Job Training and Partnership Act with the new law.

        But among the 10 states with the most job-training money available during the program's first year, which ended June 30, only New York spent a lower percentage of its funding than Ohio.

        Of the $131.4 million Ohio had available for 2000, including money carried over from the two previous years, the state spent $59.3 million.

        Ohio officials said that the situation is improving and that much of the money, though unpaid, has been allocated.

       



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