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Training: A Targeted Policy Proposal - page 8 / 23





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individual training account (ITA) and contract directly with an approved training provider in the community. Local community colleges are frequently the provider of training services.

The type of services a person receives is typically decided jointly by a case worker and the participant. The original conception of WIA was for participants to initially receive core services, and then intensive services if they were unable to find a job, and eventually training services if needed. DOL subsequently made clear, however, that participants can receive whatever services they and the case worker feels are appropriate. There are substantial differences across states in who receives each of these services (Heinrich et al., 2009).

A second federal government program that provides training to adult workers is the Trade Adjustment Act or TAA program. The TAA is also administered by DOL. Workers are eligible to participate in TAA after the government certifies that they lost their job as a result of foreign competition,5 so participants in TAA are similar to participants in the WIA dislocated worker program. While TAA participants receive additional benefits, such as payments to supplement their unemployment insurance benefits, TAA workers receive training services quite similar to those provided under WIA. In fiscal year (FY) 2010 (October 1, 2009September 30, 2010), approximately $975 million was allocated to TAA and there were 234,944 TAA participants, making the cost per participant around $4,200 (DOL, 2009b).

The federal government, in conjunction with state governments, also provides training through its Employment Security (ES) or Labor Exchange program, which is administered by DOL and funded through the WagnerPeyser Act. Participants in ES receive shortterm job search and job referral services similar to the core services provided as part of WIA. In 2009, ES spent approximately $725 million and provided services to 17 million participants at a cost of around $42 per participant (DOL, 2009a). As can be inferred from the modest perparticipant figure, much of the cost of core services is fixed (such as computer terminals on which job seekers can search through job postings).

5 Workers at a firm are eligible for the TAA program if the Department of Labor certifies that the firm has been adversely affected by foreign trade.


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