As Unemployment Rises, Jobs Program's Financing Is Cut

March 31, 1991|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Contributing 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 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 July 1.

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

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

She said the latest cuts are part of a trend that began several years ago. "In fiscal year '89, I had $143,785; in fiscal year 1990, I had $104,230," she said.

Starting July 1, the office will have to make do with $57,010.

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

Boden 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 socialresponsibility isn't a trade-off for fiscal responsibility."

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

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

"Children cut today will possibly be on the rolls of Project Independence that we will have to serve tomorrow," saidKoontz, who chairs the committee for the project aimed at welfare recipients.

The consortium is still waiting to learn if financing for Project Independence will be cut.

Howard and Carroll administrators stressed that although they will not be able to provide full services to as many clients, they will turn no one away without some sortof referral for help.

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