Solyndra II, and More Green Jobs Failure

Emails released by a Congressional committee show, almost unbelievably, that the Obama administration was poised to lend Solyndra another $469 million loan during the summer of 2010, even as auditors “warned the company was in danger of closing due to its rapidly mounting debts and expenses.” Analysts in the Office of Management and Budget greeted the proposal for a second loan with gallows humor. One wrote in an email:

Possible to close and default on one before closing on a second??? Could be a new record.

The Obama administration is becoming a laughingstock even within the federal bureaucracy.

In related news, the Inspector General of the Department of Labor released a report on the $500 million green jobs training program that was part of the original “stimulus” act. The IG’s findings are not pretty:

ETA and grantees have reported achieving limited performance targets for serving and placing workers. Grantees have reported serving 52,762 (42 percent) of the targeted 124,893 participants with 61 percent of training grant periods having elapsed, and have reported placing 8,035 participants (10 percent) into employment out of the target of 79,854 participants 17 months after the grants were awarded. Of the 52,762 participants served, grantees reported that 20,818 (39 percent) were individuals who already have jobs and enrolled in training in order to retain their jobs, obtain new work, or otherwise upgrade their skills. In addition, according to interviews conducted early in 2011 with regional officials, grantees have expressed concerns that jobs have not materialized and that job placements have been fewer than expected for this point in the grant program.

“Jobs have not materialized”? Really? This is no surprise to anyone who understands what a boondoggle the whole “green jobs” initiative is. The report’s grimmest finding relates to job retention: the forecast for the training program was that 69,717 trainees would find jobs lasting for at least six months. So far, the actual number is 1,336. Sure, as time goes by some additional trainees may hit the six-month mark, but as of the time period covered in the report, only 6,662 had found jobs at all. With over 60% of the grant period gone by, only one-third of the amount allocated has been spent by the grantees. This chart shows how badly the green jobs training program has fallen short of its goals:

The IG recommends, in effect, that the government should try to get its money back:

We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training evaluate the Green Jobs program; and in so doing, obtain an estimate of funds each grantee will realistically spend given the current demand for green job-related skills and the job market for green jobs. Any of the remaining $327.3 million of funds determined not to be needed should be recouped as soon as practicable and to the extent permitted by law so they can be available for other purposes.

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