Sequester Could Cut Job Assistance in Mesa County
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Officials at the Mesa County Workforce Center are preparing for a mighty big cut that could be coming their way.
In less than a week, automatic spending cuts known as the sequester will take place, unless congress can agree on a solution.
If they fail to meet the March 1st deadline, that impacts many, including citizens here in the Grand Valley. If you're one of the numerous people out there unemployed, assistance in obtaining a job is one of the categories that could get hit hard.
“It will definitely be a challenge to the Mesa County Workforce Center,” said Suzie Miller, of the Mesa County Workforce Center. “We are kind of taking the conservative approach here and preparing a budget for a 10 percent decrease.”
If sequestrian were to take effect, the workforce center could see a total of up to $100,000 in slashes, with certain programs seeing anywhere between $60,000 and $65,000 in cuts.
This is would lead to cut backs in resources like the Workforce Investment Act that provides training to the unemployed.
“Here locally, we are in kind of a fragile state in hoping that the economy is going to improve but we are still seeing a high unemployment rate,” said Miller.
With an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, which is higher than both the state and nation, some folks are concerned this possible sequester will greatly hinder their ability to obtain a job.
“I have been looking for a job for a year,” said Jay Battles, Grand Junction resident.
Battles hasn't had much luck over the years finding a job in Colorado, and fears he may have to leave the state yet again to seek employment.
“I was able to work for 4 months out of the state,” said Battles. “That was the only job that year that amounted to anything.”
Officials say at any given time, there's between 9,000 and 10,000 job seekers actively searching in their data base.
“Its going to be a huge loss to our job seekers, our resident of Mesa County if we're not able to provide some of those services or provide some of those residents with the training that they might need,” said Miller.
Officials add it will take some time to evaluate where these cuts are coming from and how they will address where they are applied.
Unless congress acts, $85 billion in cuts will go into effect Friday.