Job training funds run low

Community colleges are running out of money to train laid-off workers, warns Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Challenges Community Colleges Face to Reach the Unemployed from the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama.

Few states now offer free retraining at community colleges, say members of the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges

Unemployment, meanwhile, has remained stubbornly high, while stimulus funds have dwindled and state tax revenues have yet to bounce back. This year members from 21 states reported that funds for work-force training had been exhausted.

Nearly three-fourths of survey respondents agreed that in the face of such challenges, community colleges are being pushed to offer “quick” job training without academic credit. That limits colleges’ ability to invest in more expensive long-term programs, the report says, in fields like allied health, engineering, and information technology—the very fields that need more workers and tend to offer better pay. Forty-two members indicated that their states need more funds to expand programs in those areas.

Community colleges may have reached their limits, the report warns. “Right now, workforce training is an underfunded Band-Aid,” said Stephen G. Katsinas, the center’s director and a coauthor of the report.