City Takes One-Third of Job Funds Off the Top

Jun 21, 2013

Posted in Oakland Job ProgramsResponsive Government

By Ken A. Epstein

Nonprofit agencies that receive federal money to help unemployed workers are upset following the announcement that the city’s Workforce Investment Board (WIB) will take one-third of the total annual funding to pay for administrative overhead, while adding nothing to the pot for adult and teenage jobseekers.

The proposed budget for the WIB for 2013-2014 is $4.8 million.  The city is taking $1.5 million or 32 percent off the top.

Kathy Chao Rothberg, executive director of Lao Family Community Development speaks at Thursday’s Oakland WIB meeting

Three years ago before the city became WIB system administrator, overhead was only 16 percent or $918,000.

“The need  (in the community) is great, but the funding is actually going to the department (of) the city, and I really don’t see the justification,” said Kathy Chao Rothberg, executive director of Lao Family Community Development that provides support for unemployed youth and adults in East Oakland.

Where is the plan for providing more jobs services to the unemployed and meeting the needs of employers? She asked, speaking at the Thursday morning meeting of the Oakland WIB.

The WIB distributes Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding for job training for teenagers in school and out of school, training and placement for the formerly incarcerated and long-term laid off workers as well as supporting the one-stop job centers in downtown Oakland and in other satellite locations.

“Your training dollars are underfunded, your (job) providers are underfunded, and the city is overfunded,” said Richard de Jauregui, planning director of the Oakland Private Industry Council.
“Thirty-two percent is an unprecedented number and far beyond the guidelines that are set forth in Department of Labor standards,” he said.
The city only takes money out of the WIA funding, he said.  “All they do is take money out, there is no buy in by the City of Oakland.  If you look at other workforce investment areas, there is a lot more buy in by local authorities.”
Oakland’s WIA funding is 9 percent less this year than last, but the city’s costs have risen, said Al Auletta, a program manager in the City Administrator’s Office.

Increased city overhead is connected to the rising costs  of staff, greater health insurance costs and a new city facilities charge, he said

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Agnes Ubalde replaced Bryan Parker as WIB chair.