The Job Training Program Is No Boondoggle

Regarding your article "90 days to learn to scrub? Sure, if Uncle Sam's paying" (Labor, Jan. 20): While numerous audits and investigations by both the General Accounting Office and the Office of the Inspector General have disclosed instances of fraud and waste in the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program, we have never contended nor implied that this program is a boondoggle. Rather, it is a large, costly job program for the unemployed and underemployed that has a number of systemic weaknesses and vulnerabilities that led to wasteful practices and fraudulent schemes.

We have documented many of these abuses over the past eight years and have recommended a number of legislative amendments. Congress has generally been responsive to our concerns, and in October of last year, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to amend the JTPA, which included needed fiscal-accountability provisions. Currently, the Senate is also considering ways to amend the JTPA.

Julian W. De La Rosa

Inspector General

U.S. Labor Dept.

Washington

Although I am no longer associated with this program [JTPA], I have been president of the Northwestern Michigan Region for five years. You make light of the three to six months it takes to train people to wash cars, but these people are, in many if not most cases, the hard-core unemployed who have made a history of living on welfare.

The solution is not just to teach them how to wash a car. The solution lies in how to get them out of bed in the morning on time and how to get them to the job site with appropriate clothes. I found it unbelievable that people did not know how to dress properly for a car-wash job or could not show up regularly at 11 a.m., but this was the case.

After having worked with the program for years, I'm convinced that if you are ever going to break hard-core unemployment in this country and get people off welfare, you need a job-training program such as the JTPA.

Robert C. Redman

Lake City, Mich.