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Cheaper waste: Manchester's Job Corps center
First the bad news. Job Corps is a federal job-training program for young people. It spent $1.7 billion in 2010, and several audits of its performance have found poor results. For instance, a 2011 Department of Labor review found that Job Corps vastly overstated its effectiveness (counting fast-food jobs that required no job training as successful job placement, for example) and understated its costs (by as much as $50,000 per student, according to one measure). It is an inefficient, less-than-effective federal program that will occupy a prime tract of Manchester land, thus wasting tax dollars while producing no property tax revenue for the city.
Now, the good news. The center itself will cost $31.5 million, much less than anticipated. That is because the federal government removed from this project President Obama's 2009 mandate that it be constructed under a Project Labor Agreement. A PLA is a requirement that contractors comply with labor union dictates on pay, benefits, working conditions, etc. They produce large cost increases for big construction projects.
So taxpayers have saved millions and a New Hampshire firm that uses a lot of New Hampshire labor is the winning bidder. It is too bad we are expanding this wasteful federal program. But at least we're doing so a little more cheaply.
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