Job Corps Fraud Blog

Nationwide mismanagement of Job Corps calls for action!

The Issue

Recently the Department of Labor began a website that requested ideas from Americans how the DOL could become more transparent and accountable.   The following post sums up the problems with Job Corps nationwide and gives excellent suggestions on how the program might be managed in order to eradicate the rampant fraud within it.

You can read the actual post here:

“While the internet has resulted in more transparency of performance statistics there still exists an appalling lack of accountability upon the part of those entrusted with administrating various programs.

Case in point; Job Corps contractors. Please research your own OIG audits and other documentation of financial and performance statistics reporting fraud within Job Corps. At this point, fraudulent contractors are charged ”damages” and continue on as usual. There is no real accountability as they are more interested in earning bonus incentives, a practice which did not exist yrs ago. By inflating their statistics, they inflate their bonuses. The performance measurement system is convoluted and obfuscates the real effectiveness of the program. Perhaps the new Job Corps director, who, by the way, has first-hand knowledge of Job Corps performance and planning, will finally report honest statistics and do away with incentives to contractors or fight to get rid of contractors all together. How can the government increase accountability and transparency in Job Corps?

1) Get rid of contractors. The program doesn’t need contractors to run effectively. They are more interested in making money than educating and training the population they are supposed to serve. Privitizing and incentivizing this program has lead to abuse.

2)Pump the money paid to contractors into the program instead: buy decent computers and learning materials, staff the centers with qualified staff who know how to deliver good education and training programs and pay them a decent wage, treat the population with respect by providing a decent environment with enough activities to keep them out of trouble – get real about what goes on at these centers. Some of the physical facilities are in such deplorable condition, it is shameful.

3) Be honest about the actual overall performance of this program. Any psychometrician who knows how the performance statistics of this program are computed will report that those statistics are invalid and the taxpaying public is being grossly mislead. Work with Battelle and Mathematica consultants to report the whole picture.

4) Publish OIG Audits in a timely manner. Taking over a year to conduct and publish an audit that most people are not even aware of, is an injustice to the citizens who pay for this program.

5) Consider moving this program from DOL to the Department of Education.”

A Reader’s Response to this post from the DOL Transparency Website:

“Thank you for your important comment on such a distateful but utterly critical topic. Corruption wastes resources by distorting government policy against the interests of the majority and away from its proper goals. It turns the energies and efforts of public officials and citizens towards easy money or personal pleasures or vindictiveness instead of productive activities. It hampers the growth of competitiveness, frustrates efforts to solve probblems and generates apathy and cynicism. The harms caused by corruption, which are as numerous as the shapes corruption can take, have destroyed well-intentioned policies.

As President Obama has said, “The struggle against corruption is one of the great struggles of our time.” Corruption is condemned by all religions, all ethical codes, all legal systems. It hinders all development, slows all progress, impedes all advancement — both within our own countries and across our borders. It strikes hardest at the poor and vulnerable, siphoning scarce resources away from those most in need. It advances the selfish interests of a dishonest few over the interests of the great many who work hard and who obey the law and our common traditions. Corruption erodes trust in government and private institutions alike; it undermines confidence in the fairness of free and open societies; and it breeds contempt for the rule of law. Corruption is, simply put, a scourge on civil society. And yet corruption continues to flourish. All nations – all nations — struggle against corruption – the United States no less than every other nation. Despite our important achievements, the cancer of corruption remains.

Indeed, each and every one of us should be alarmed by the sobering results of Transparency International’s 2009 Global Corruption Barometer, a global public opinion survey of more than 73,000 people in 69 countries. Half of the respondents to that survey viewed the private sector as corrupt – an increase of eight percent from five years ago. More than 60 percent of respondents said that political parties, parliaments, and government civil service were corrupt. And the poor continued to pay more, largely as a result of petty bribery demands. Shockingly, in some regions, four-in-ten respondents reported having had to make bribe payments in the past year. And only three-in-ten respondents to the survey said that their government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective. This last statistic should be a clarion call to all of us here today.

So it is with purpose and urgency that your email is read—and maybe someone can chart a way forward that will make our efforts to fight corruption more effective. Let me repeat three critical steps that other agencies have suggested:

First, we must renew our efforts for ratification and full implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption. Seven years after it opened for signature, several of the world’s largest economies – including several of our close partners in the G-20 – still have not ratified the Convention. Still others that have ratified have not fully implemented the Convention.

Thank you for this stimulating dialogue about critical DOLl issues with a view to enriching public debate and promoting consensus on appropriate responses in the Administration, the Congress, the corporate and nonprofi t sectors, and the media in the United States. Good governance and economic transparency are building blocks for democratic stability. Conversely, democracy is threatened where they don’t exist. Many of us have witnessed the corrosive nature of corruption and we thus consider it one of the top challenges to encourage those who wish to integrate themselves in its structure to above all tackle issues of political and business corruption.

Not even the most developed of Western societies ever rid themselves entirely of corrupting influences. Yet, we all must hold the bar high for clean governance and realize that when corruption settles too deeply in a society it can place the system in danger. Corruption is a phenomenon present in all countries, including today’s most advanced economies and established democracies. Where it differs is in its scale and consequences. Corruption can be corrosive to public support for democratization, doing the process long term harm and trust erodes in our institutions and systems.”

From a Reader to Hilda Solis:

“Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor sought ideas from the public regarding an Open Government plan. One of the input topics was: accountability, transparency and making information available in a timely and accessible manner. An idea was submitted that addressed the on-going fraud in the Job Corps program and provided suggestions for eliminating most of it. This idea is not new. The U.S. Congress has been aware of allegations regarding financial and student performance fraud on the part of contractors for many years, but other than conduct OIG audits periodically, Congress has largely chosen to ignore the problem. 

In a time when communities and education programs are in financial peril, Congress continues to approve yearly Job Corps budgets that include fees and incentives paid to private contractors who run about 100 of the centers. If Congress can redirect billions of dollars of the Federal student loan program from commercial banks to new student initiatives, why can’t it redirect several hundred million dollars away from private contractors and back to the Job Corps program? Private contractors are not necessary to administer this program. Those of us who have worked in Job Corps center management know this to be true and we are also intimately aware of the practices of contractors and of how much abuse never gets addressed in OIG audits.

In an attempt to make the public aware of these abuses, a new page has recently been created on Facebook called Job Corps Fraud, and a web blog created that can be found at jobcorpsfraud.wordpress.com. Not only do these sites make information available, they also provide a forum for discussion, and collecting people’s experiences in the Job Corps system. In a very short while, people across the country are becoming aware of us as evidenced by the live traffic feed and number of hits our blog has received.

Taxpayer dollars are used to pay private contractors to manipulate data so that they can make millions of dollars at the expense of at-risk youth and hard-working staff, most of who actually care about delivering an effective program. Contractors don’t care about efficiency or effectiveness: they care about playing by the rules of a system they have created that in effect has “dumbed-down” the public education system even further and stolen millions of tax-payer dollars.

Please visit our Facebook page and our blog; they are just the beginning of our grass-roots action to rein in fraud and abuse in government-funded programs. President Obama has asked us to get involved and we are. We believe WE CAN make a difference in the lives of Job Corps students not by pandering to private contractors but by letting the world know the truth.”

Advertisements

3 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. […] One of our readers wrote an article that succinctly depicts the crucial issue(s) at stake pertaining to the fraud in Job Corps (see “The Issue” page) […]

    Like

  2. davon says:

    yes i agree wit oj they need to shut it down and rebuild in a different area where students will feel safe and could see nicer things not in the hood where crime is high

    Like

  3. OJ says:

    You ae both correct and have stated the facts well. It seems the more this is talked about the more the contractors profit. Fines for wrongs found on the audits and performance evaluations is not enough. If the government took control of this program and incorperated the education programs with the vocatiional components there may be a chance for success. Prehaps the only way to do this with any real commitment is to shut it down and rebuild it with the goal of making the program work the way it was intended. Fresh eyes to see through this mess of private profiteers.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: