Austen Crowder

Surprise! Indiana Department of Workforce Development squanders funds!

Filed By Austen Crowder | April 03, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
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Should I put on my OMG face for this, or can we all agree that anyone with knowledge of Indiana's state programs could see this coming from a mile away?

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development broke federal laws and rules in writing and awarding contracts, including a rushed $7 million deal with Ivy Tech Community College in June that should be canceled immediately, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration said in a scathing report.

Surely this money's going to good use, right? Wrong. The report notably points out the Indiana Youth Institute's inability to supply a Jobs for America's Graduate program coordinator for four troubled Indiana high schools. (By the by, these are the same people assuring that bright-eyed college graduates are making their way into the classroom where they are so desperately needed.)

The list of grievances is long. In total, 41 violations of federal law were documented, and 31 concerns were raised. I'm all for making sure that unemployed workers are taken care of, and that they receive the money they paid into the system, but how can Indiana ever hope to cope with double-digit unemployment when the department in charge is managing everything so poorly?

Notable: Indiana apparently doesn't understand the idea of "average":

Indiana's unemployment agency also miscalculated jobless benefits at a rate five times the national average and may be contributing to the insolvency of the state's unemployment insurance trust fund by ignoring a federal mandate to check a national database for newly hired workers, the federal report said.

Five times the national average. Five times? No wonder Indiana's broke!

Now I'll be honest with you: I tried to collect unemployment after my previous employer laid me off. Their labyrinthine rules, combined with my stint as a Catholic educator, made sure I walked away empty-handed. From the stories I hear from my friends I know that I'm not the only one. If this department prepared for benefits five times the national average... what in the world is wrong with this picture?

It's not all bad, I guess. We did build Lucas Oil Stadium on the backs of central Indiana taxpayers, and spent money dismantling one of the most intimidating stadiums to visit in the entire NFL, and that sure paid off with a 12-4, by-the-skin-of-our-teeth Colts season. (Not that I'm a bitter Colts fan lost in RCA Dome nostalgia. Heavens no!) The legislation did debate that anti-gay marriage amendment, and banned smoking in... well, most everywhere.

All that hubbub ends up being much ado about nothing if the state goes bankrupt, though. Worse, Indiana's sub-par educational system, now strained thanks to this department's inability to understand solvency, will lag even further behind the curve. Indiana once again loses.

I'd love to say that we could drink the pain away, but apparently that's how we're going to pay off the bill.


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