Forty percent of the hundreds of serious crimes committed in 11 federal Job Corps centers last year weren’t reported to law enforcement authorities, and for the eighth consecutive year, officials in the facilities often failed to let anybody above them know about significant incidents, a government watchdog said Tuesday.
“Eleven centers we reviewed did not contact law enforcement for 140 (40 percent) of the 348 potentially serious criminal misconduct incidents logged by Job Corps,” the Department of Labor (DOL) Inspector General (IG) said.
“Twelve centers did not report numerous significant incidents to Job Corps, and misclassified many of the significant incidents they did report to Job Corps. Furthermore, 41 (32 percent) of 129 centers and satellites did not establish cooperative agreements with law enforcement organizations.”
Even where centers did link up with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, none of them did so as required, the IG said.
The DOL IG has been reporting such problems since 2009.
The Job Corps is a $1.2 billion Great Society era anti-poverty program intended to provide education and employment training for disadvantaged individuals between the ages of 16 and 24. The program has been a perennial target of critics who claim such government efforts almost never work as promised and often waste billions of tax dollars.
Auditors assessing the Job Corps centers also found “inadequate and unmonitored closed circuit television (CCTV) systems, security staff shortages, and compromised perimeters.” Even though, a fourth of all Job Corps centers have physical security efforts in place, officials don’t share best practices program-wide.
President Donald Trump’s 2017 budget recommendations to Congress supports cutting the Job Corps but doesn’t specify an amount of funding to be eliminated or a number of the 130 facilities be shuttered. Former President Barack Obama froze the program’s budget in 2011 after the IG found officials had exceeded congressionally authorized spending levels.
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