DOL Report Hails Louisiana's Customized Training

Hurricane Katrina's destruction did not flatten Louisiana's training program for workers even though tax revenues to support it suffered, according to a new Department of Labor report analyzing states' customized training efforts through 2006. Louisiana's two programs had a 2006 budget of $44.1 million, ranking the state third nationally both in total dollars spent and per capita spending on customized training. The report ("The Employer as the Client: State-Financed Customized Training," ) was prepared by DOL's Employment and Training Administration.

Iowa, at $62.3 million in 2006, ranked first in total and per capita spending, while California ranked second in total spending ($52.5 million) but 25th in per capita spending.

The Louisiana Department of Labor's Incumbent Worker Training Program began awarded grants in 1999 and has trained more than 206,000 workers to date, the department said Oct. 3. IWTP is funded by Unemployment Insurance tax contributions and is "one of the broadest and best-funded in the country," the DOL report says. "Our ranking confirms what we have always believed," Louisiana Labor Secretary John Warner Smith said. "Louisiana is firmly committed to keeping our workforce on the cutting edge when it comes to job skills."

The report indicates states' customized training programs are rarely evaluated but have been shown to significantly raise trainees' skills and compensation in the few analyses that have been done.

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