Job retraining programs that benefit seniors and disadvantaged youth will take a hit if President Trump’s proposal to slash the Labor Department budget from $ 12 billion to $ 9 billion goes through.
The cuts could come at a difficult time for many low-earning Americans who’ve lost their jobs in the hemorrhaging retail sector.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program that helps low-income seniors find work would be slashed in Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, according to the White House.
At the same time, poor-performing centers for Job Corps., a training program for youngsters, will go away, the administration said.
But Trump’s budget would expand one arm of the Labor Department — the division that tries to reduce improper payments to those receiving unemployment benefits.
The loss of retraining programs would be a devastating blow to a large segment of low-earning Americans who’ve lost jobs due to a severe contraction in the retail industry — a sector suffering even more than the manufacturing world, said Sharon Block, former deputy assistant for policy at the Department of Labor.
“We have a retail jobs crisis, and the current administration has put the focus on manufacturing, with the president claiming he’s going to bring those jobs back,” said Block.
“I don’t think the administration is doing much for retail at all — and what’s going to happen to those people? The number of jobs lost recently in retail dwarfs those lost in manufacturing,” she added.
The latest jobs report for April showed 6,300 retail jobs added that month. It followed two straight months of declines in retail — and announcements of massive job cuts from major retailers like J.C. Penney and Sears.
The workers bearing the brunt of retail bleeding would normally be the ones the Labor Department would seek to target for retraining into healthier industries, Block said.
“The majority of the Labor Department work is in workforce training grant programs. There’s no way to get to 21% without substantial cuts,” the lawyer said.
“Imagine cutting a fifth of your personal budget without it hurting … it’s not possible.”