Last week, a report found that the city’s workforce development initiatives are costly for taxpayers and performing worse than nearby counties — not good news anywhere, much less in a town with 10.5 percent unemployment.
If you haven’t seen the stats already: According to Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative, nearly a half-billion bucks has been thrown at the city’s workforce development programs, which serve people on welfare as well as those looking for work who aren’t on welfare. Of those receiving services who aren’t on welfare, only 59 percent found jobs, compared to 72 percent in other parts of Pennsylvania. Of those on welfare, 2 5 percent got jobs, compared to 31 percent elsewhere in the state. And only 12 percent of employers are signed up to use the programs. An average of 25 percent are registered in the rest of the state.
This made us wonder: Is the government tracking this data? Is it making sure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely to deal with the serious problem of unemployment? Or was it just throwing money into workforce development programs until Pew came along?
The answer, said Pew project manager Thomas Ginsberg, is complicated.