A Detroit-based community outreach organization says a lack of funding it to blame for it suspending some of its workforce training programs.
In a statement on their website, Focus: Hope said "federal funding cuts for job training and the ongoing budget gridlock in Washington" has forced them to suspend four workforce development programs that enroll as many as 1,200 Detroit and suburban students each year.
The organization said 70 Focus: HOPE employees will be laid off and classes for approximately 225 machinist, information technology and Fast Track math and reading students would be suspended next week. College programs for 54 engineering students may be suspended in December.
"It is ironic that federal cuts come at a time when the need for skilled job training is high and the need for machinists and other skilled workers in our region is growing," said Focus: HOPE CEO William F. Jones, Jr. "Focus: HOPE students get good-paying jobs within 60 days of completing our programs. The more than 11,000 people who completed our programs since we began job training in 1981 have contributed over a billion dollars in earnings to the local economy. In the last month alone, we had 800 people walk in looking for job training and jobs. It makes no sense to me -- the cuts are hurting people and the economy at a time when so many people are looking for training opportunities and work."
The organization said it's looking for alternative sources of funding from federal and state government, private organizations, and foundations.