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More Money Could Go to Work Force Training, Report Says

The California Senate Office of Research released a report yesterday that looks at where federal funding for work force investment is going. And, apparently, it’s not to work force training.

“In California, most Local Workforce Investment Boards have reported investing little of their federal funds into work force training and instead have spent a substantial amount on other employment services,” the report stated.

There are hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to California each year under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, according to the report. Most of that money is spent at the local level, in local investment boards.

And, according to the report, those boards have spent “less on training than on administrative costs and other operating expenses.”

To some degree, the federal government mandates that some work force services be provided through One-Stop Career Centers. But just how people access these services depends on the range of services available, and the degree to which people participate in those centers can vary.

According to the report, nearly 17% of the Workforce Investment Act money goes to administration, while about 20% of it goes to job training. The rest is used for the one-stop employment centers.

The report comes at a time when state work force issues in health care have become a big concern.

One bill that’s making its way through committee is SB 635, by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), which would increase funding for medical work force training. That bill would access money that is being collected from fines and penalties on health care service plans, cash that is currently being directed to the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program.

“We need to increase the health care work force,” Gail Blanchard-Saiger of the California Hospital Association said, adding, “This would provide much-needed funding for work force training without any added expense for California.”

The bill is currently being considered in the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“California is not going to have the medical providers, particularly in the allied health fields,” Blanchard-Saiger said. She added, “We need more doctors, more nurses and providers from a vast array of allied health fields.”

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