Trust the private sector, not Washington, to get job training right

  @FortuneMagazine February 27, 2014: 7:44 AM ET
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Five years into his administration -- five years into an economy with historically high unemployment rates and a frightening portion of Americans simply giving up on the idea of work -- President Obama has finally declared plans to overhaul federal job training. That's a tall order for Vice President Biden, tapped to lead the effort.

Washington's job training is an expensive, bureaucratic, ineffective mess. Start with the more than $18 billion spent on 47 training programs across nine agencies. Job Corps alone spends as much as $76,000 per person, often to place young people in minimum-wage jobs, according to a 2012 report by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. On top of that, the nonpartisan America Forward calculates that when all workforce-development programs are included, the price tag to taxpayers is closer to $60 billion a year. Just imagine all the political interests in congressional districts with long-term addictions to those federal contract dollars. Change won't come easily.

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