Think tank: Trump budget cuts training key to Black workers

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    President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget includes $1.2 billion in cuts to several job training programs will hurt African-Americans and other underserved communities, a national think tank said this week.

    “A budget reflects national priorities, and unfortunately the Trump administration’s budget does not prioritize the need to ensure the American workforce has the skills necessary to compete in the changing global economy,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

    The cuts include:       

    • $700 million to Jobs Corps, a 40 percent cut
    • $400 million from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is effectively a 100 percent cut
    • $86 million to dislocated worker training, a 6.8 percent cut
    • $14.8 million to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Re-entry Employment Opportunities program, a 16 percent cut
    Detroit Women’s March, January 2019 |Ken Coleman

    “The president’s cuts — particularly to programs that serve African-Americans and other underserved communities — reflect a lack of commitment to prepare our workforce as technology and other factors change the nature of work,” said Overton. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that our nation show that we can make skills accessible to all Americans to stimulate economic mobility and to ensure American companies have the talent necessary to remain competitive.”

    Trump’s budget does increase spending on the Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program by $15 million, which is a 10 percent increase. But Overton said that increase “pales in comparison” to the other cuts.

    Founded in 1970, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a think tank that produces data, analysis and ideas to solve challenges that confront the African-American community. It recently completed an extensive survey on race and the future of work.

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.


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