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Sunday, April 15, 2012 - 11:00pm

Jobless Worker Training Funds Flat

Despite more than 12 million people looking for work, the nation is spending less to re-train dislocated workers.

Georgia's share of federal training funds is flat while demand is up.

The federal stimulus act in 2009 gave a temporary boost to worker retraining programs.

Local workforce development boards in Georgia say, the act nearly doubled the amount they received to re-train workers.

But that money is now gone and Catie Campbell of the Governor's Office of Workforce Development says, federal funding has leveled off.

"It definitely can be looked at as a decrease just because we do have so many unemployed," Campbell says. "I would say that the biggest priority of our office moving forward is to use what we have in the most effective manner to get people back to work."

Georgia workforce development officers say, they counted on federal stimulus funds for their worker training programs.

But now officials nationwide have less money to help get dislocated workers into new careers.

Campbell says, Georgia is trying something new.

"We actually just launched a program, Go Build Georgia, that is focusing on skilled trade," Campbell says. "There's a lot of jobs opening up in the next year to five years in Georgia within the skilled trades that may require someone to go back and get an extra certification."

But that program doesn't come with additional funds.

Nationwide, federal funds to retrain the jobless have decreased 18% adjusted for inflation since 2006.

Georgia's 9.1 percent jobless rate remains above the national rate of 8.3 percent.

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