Workforce programs brace for cuts

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The state’s workforce development programs could be facing nearly across-the-board cuts, members of a House division learned. 


Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s supplemental budget plan includes $10.3 million in cuts to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Commissioner Dan McElroy discussed the proposed cuts with members of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division. No action was taken.


Combined with unallotments he made last year, the governor’s plan amounts to a 4.8 percent cut to the agency’s $81 million biennial base budget, plus $6.9 million in one-time transfers from DEED dedicated funds into the state’s General Fund.


In addition to reducing the agency’s operating budget, the cuts would affect numerous organizations and programs that receive funding through DEED grants. The Extended Employment Program, the Independent Living Program and the Job Skills Partnership Program are among the many initiatives that would be affected.


McElroy said most grantees will see a roughly 6 percent cut.


“Every one of these has some impact. I would be disingenuous to say you can cut this kind of money and not have in impact. You can’t,” McElroy said.