Job training centers say it's not the time to cut Workforce Investment Act funds

By: Ryan Calhoun Email
By: Ryan Calhoun Email
job training sign

Funding for job training centers could be cut off, causing the centers to close. (March 17, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, March 17, 2011

THOMSON, Ga. -- The U.S. House voted to zero out the Workforce Investment Act budget to free up about $3.1 billion in the budget. If the Senate agrees, job training centers like One Stop would shut down.

It's the end of the quarter, so Qiana Williams-Winns is studying for finals.

"Next quarter is my last quarter and I'll be a certified medical assistant," Williams-Winns said. "I've learned all types of medical terms and other things in the medical field."

But learning a new craft after being laid off from a local plant two years ago wouldn't be possible without federal money.

"Without this opportunity, I mean, I would've had to pay out of my pocket to even go to school, and I don't have a job, so I wouldn't be able to do it," Williams-Winns said.

Neither would thousands of others.

"It doesn't need to be cut at all," Williams-Winns said. "So many people been losing their jobs and don't have any other means and the opportunity to go back to school and better yourself. That's what this economy needs."

More than 14,000 people came in looking for work at the East Central Georgia One Stop job center last year.

"I understand we have to cut," said One Stop's Joyce Blevins. "But we do need this program longer."

Blevins says the main reason is that the job hunt is a different game than before.

"We've gone from a industrial world to a technological world," Blevins said. "And if they can't come in and get their computer courses and get their training, then there's no way they can compete in today's market."

If lawmakers decide to cut the program, many One Stop centers will close in June.

"Everybody here would be unemployed, like the people we'd be serving," Blevins said.

Putting more people in the unemployment line.

"We have to have taxpayers, and taxpayers have to have jobs," Blevins said.

One Stop centers think the lawmakers should just wait until the unemployment rate is back up before they cut the job training.

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