S.F. jobs program proclaimed a failure

A multimillion-dollar city employment development program was slammed for wasting taxpayer dollars Thursday because it is riddled with inefficiencies and fails to place desperate workers in jobs.

Last fiscal year, 11 city departments received at least $29.1 million to help fund work-force development programs, according to Budget Analyst Harvey Rose, who conducted an audit of the funds.

The millions are producing few jobs because the system “is fragmented, with inconsistent planning and coordination of resources and inadequate monitoring of programs” according to the audit.

“It’s scandalous. It looks like there’s a lot of lip service being given, but no real product,” said Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who requested the audit.

The City performs poorly when placing adults into permanent self-sustaining jobs, “which should be a primary goal of any work-force development program,” according to Rose.

For example, The City’s three one-stop centers, which are designed to place adults in jobs, had 13,157 clients last fiscal year and only 2,054 people, or 15.6 percent, ended up actually finding jobs, according to Rose. These centers also served 3,412 people under the age of 25 and only 140 found jobs, according to the report.

“The City blows through work-force dollars and is not achieving the intended results,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who has introduced legislation that would put all work-force funding and efforts under one roof, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

“There has been so much waste and so much absence of accountability. The fact is we are just not putting ourpeople to work. We have to retool this program,” he said.

Community-based organizations received $15.4 million of the $29.1 million and while 10,530 people where served, only 2,256 actually found jobs and “there was no evidence” to determine if any of those jobs were permanent, according to Rose.

Because there is a lack of coordination among the 11 city departments, there is a “duplication of services” in some communities and “significant gaps in services” in others, the report says.

Mirkarimi said fixing the system could help reduce The City’s high violent crime rate.

“This is really what violence prevention is all about,” he said.

Mayor Gavin Newsom acknowledged that there was a need to make changes and said he has met with The City’s point people in charge of work-force development to come up with a plan.

Newsom said he had a draft of a “new approach” that he would announce at some point, but declined to reveal the details. He said he agrees with the spirit of Mirkarimi’s legislation, but said he plans on implementing the changes through an executive order.

jsabatini@examiner.com


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