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June 20, 2003
Training Centers Turn Away Some Unemployed Workers
The General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, told lawmakers Wednesday that some jobless workers have been denied service at government training centers because they may be less likely to find work, which would reduce job placement rates at the centers, the Associated Press reports.

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The funding of the government's One-Stop Career Centers is based on criteria such as job placement rates and salary increases, a system the GAO says is flawed.

"The performance measurement system is flawed, causing some One-Stops to deny services to some clients who may be most in need of them," Sigurd Nilsen, a director at the GAO, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The AP notes that the training centers provide services to more than 19 million people per year. Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, which created the centers, is before Congress this year. The centers must meet certain performance levels to receive their entire federal funds, according to the AP.

"Local areas are reluctant to provide WIA-funded services to job seekers who may be less likely to find employment or experience earnings increases when they are placed in a job," Nilsen told lawmakers.

Nilsen also testified that some centers have turned away some higher wage earners if the centers believe it would be difficult for the workers to find a job paying equal to or more than their previous positions, the AP reports.

There also needs to be a universal system in place to measure the overall effectiveness of the centers, Nilsen said.

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