Surprise: $500 million “investment” in green-job training yielded neither green jobs nor trainees

posted at 8:41 pm on August 5, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

If you’re feeling some deja vu, it’s because we have indeed been here before. Many, many, many times before:

Green-jobs subsidies bust: $21 billion, 28,854 jobs

Please, by all means, let’s keep pushing for $10 million-a-pop green jobs

Good news: Pretty much everything counts as a “green job” now

Reuters: Those green-collar jobs promises have really been a bust, huh?

Federal govt: hey, green jobs didn’t work out, but maybe green education will

Obama’s green-energy jobs success — er, failure rate

From the Government Accountability Office comes a new report on the failure of green jobs— an industry rich investors are more than welcome to pour money into to assuage their guilty consciences with Gaia or because they genuinely think it will make the world a better place, but who usually just end up giving tons of money to Obama and then wringing subsidies from the rest of us suckers to fund their green dreams. It’s a great system. A great system that spends the equivalent of an Ivy league education and then some per “green job” in taxpayer-funded training programs to place Americans in green jobs that don’t exist, even under the comically lax standard for “green job” the government gave itself. Smart power, y’all.

A federal audit shows that nearly a half-billion dollars in government funds was spent on training workers for so-called “green jobs.” The only problem is that not enough positions in the growing industry exist.

The findings — released in a June report by the Government Accountability Office — showed that only 55 percent of those trained were able to place in a new job, many of which were not technically green jobs. The $501 million in funding came from the 2009 stimulus law. The report also uncovered that the Department of Labor created a framework that led grantees to broadly interpret the program’s definition to include any job “that could be linked, directly or indirectly, to a beneficial outcome” which led to the gap between training programs and available green industry jobs.

“Our report suggests that the department identifies the lessons learned,” Andrew Sherrill, a spokesperson for the GAO, told FoxNews.com. “A lot of these programs were created before there were clear job definitions for the industry.”

Sherrill adds that other factors contributed, such as the recession hitting around the same time as the grant program and trainees having to compete with unemployed, skilled tradesmen looking for new work.

The GAO suggests in the report that the Labor Department find ways to improve job training associated with emerging industries like green tech in the future.

The GAO is also assuming there’s any incentive for giant government programs to learn lessons and operate more efficiently in the future. Alas, that is not the case, and it behooves President Obama to continue asking for more “investment” in this area, and for most everyone to get green fuzzies about it in the press corps and grumble about Republican green obstruction. So, this evaluation, like all the others, will go unheeded. Obama only likes big data when it’s your phone call metadata or can be used to get you to give him a $5 donation on his birthday or some such.

A Brookings scholar explains government idiocy:

“Basically, this is what can happen when you fund large programs amid much uncertainty and when there’s too little data available,” Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director for the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, told FoxNews.com.

“In 2009, there was very little hard, detailed, metro-by-metro data available about the particular size, nature, and growth rates of the so-called ‘green economy.’ Meanwhile, the nation was plunged into total uncertainty given the worst recession since the Depression. So it is not surprising that local grantees struggled to train people and place them in steady low-carbon jobs.

“The moral of the story is that you need to know in some detail the nature of the economy you’re serving when you fund job training efforts,” Muro added.

Stephen Moore talks about the findings, here, on “America’s Newsroom,” noting that under the ridiculous definition of “green jobs,” even lobbyists who lobby for more green job subsidies count as “green jobs.” Awesome.

Liberals think of these wasteful ventures as basically victimless crimes in the pursuit of healing. Every single cent spent here was taken from someone’s paycheck, taken from an American citizen who could have used it to educate their own kids, or even put solar panels on their house if that’s what they’re into. But that money was taken, for this. There’s no justifying it.

And, while we’re at it, this is disgusting and unjustifiable, too.


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