As Unemployment Soars, Money For Jobs Program Is Cut

March 31, 1991|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff writer

Financing cuts will force Carroll and Howard counties' job services programs to serve fewer people in the coming year, even though unemployment figures in both counties have nearly doubled since 1990.

The program cuts were spelled out in a document released last week by the Mid-Maryland Consortium, which serves both counties.

"There are more people unemployed than ever before, there are more people dropping out of school, there are more people on the welfareroles. . . . We're being asked to provide and do more, and we're being asked to do it with less," said William Boden, chairman of the Mid-Maryland Private Industry Council, which guides and directs the consortium.

The deepest cut so far this year has been in a Job Training Partnership Act fund that helps low-income people develop job skills and find jobs.

The fund, which this year helped about 800 people, was cut from $130,000 to $114,000 for the fiscal year starting July1.

That will probably mean at least 10 percent fewer people will be served by the program next year, said Todd Brace, services supervisor for the Howard County office in Columbia.

Similar cuts also have been made in money aimed at youth employment programs and a fund to help pay the expenses of people in training, said Diane Arbuthnot, administrator of the Carroll County Job Training Partnership Administration office in Westminster.

She said the latest cuts are part ofa trend that began several years ago.

"In fiscal year '89, I had $143,785; in fiscal year 1990, I had $104,230." Starting July 1, the office will have to make due with a $57,010 budget to assist people who qualify under the program.

Carroll's counterpart in Howard County, the Employment and Training Center, has faced similar cuts, Bracesaid.

Consortium chairman Boden, who is also Rouse Co. vice president and director of personnel and administrative services, said he has "sympathy and empathy" for federal, state and county government officials facing the difficult task of keeping tight budgets in line.

But, he said, "we would hope that social responsibility isn't a trade-off for fiscal responsibility."

Another member of the council, Vikay Koontz, human resources director for English-American Tailoringin Westminster, said she particularly fears cuts in youth programs.

Howard's Summer Youth Employment Program served 65 teen-agers lastyear and anticipates serving only 35 this year, said Brace.

"Those children that will be cut today will possibly be on the roles of Project Independence that we will have to serve tomorrow," said Koontz,who chairs the committee for the project aimed at welfare recipients.

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