Green shoots…? And misses.
A $500 million green jobs program at the Department of Labor has so far provided only 15 percent of current participants with jobs, leading the agency’s inspector general to recommend that the bulk of the money be returned to the Treasury.
The program, which was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aims to find employment for almost 80,000 people by providing grants for labor exchange and job training projects. With those grants expiring over the next 15 months, IG officials concluded that the program would fail to come close to that target.
More than $300 million remains unspent, according to the report (pdf). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who requested the Labor audit when he was ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said the findings show that Congress should focus on creating jobs in all sectors of the economy.
“This report paints a pretty bleak picture of the program’s effectiveness in job creation,” he said in a statement. “It’s hard to see how leaving $300 million in unused funding for the program in the hands of the Labor Department benefits either the taxpayers or the unemployed.”
Well, if it gets left in some slush fund account it will be available to slip out to whatever ACORN successor-group asks for it. Or the next Solyndra. Or failing that, it’s available to whatever union group wants it. So, from the Obama campaign point of view, there’s that.