The most important asset to a firm is the presence of a well-trained and productive workforce. One effective way the state achieves this goal is through the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Training Program, which provides businesses and workers with customized job training.
Customized, state-funded job training funding is a vital piece in providing the resources needed to spur economic development and to make the state an attractive place to do business. They also provide a good bang for the buck. Economist Tim Bartik has shown that investments in customized workforce training are 17 times more effective at creating jobs than tax incentives like these and these.
Nevertheless, as the chart below shows, the state has reduced its investment in customized job training at the worst possible time, as the state’s unemployment rate has soared due to the Great Recession. (Today, the unemployment rate stands at a 17-year high of 9.6%.)
Figure 1: State Workforce Training Spending Lowest in History
In fact, funding for the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Training Program is at its lowest point since the program was created in 1994 by Governor Wise. The Governor’s FY 2012 budget cuts the program by over $1 million from its FY2010 levels of $2.2 million.
As Lawmakers take up the budget this week, they should consider restoring funding to the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Training Program back to its FY 2010 level. Increased investments in customized workforce training will help the state attract and retain new and existing firms relative to our surrounding states.