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City programs offering workforce development services range from simple access to a job-listings database to a full-time, 18-week certification course that funnels graduates into union apprenticeships.
They vary widely in cost, with some intensive programs costing tens of thousands of dollars for each participant placed in a job.
For more on the city’s efforts to coordinate training and subsidy programs, see: “HELP WANTED: City Hall Focuses on Hot Job Sectors, but Struggles to Track Workforce Training Budget,” the cover story in the fall print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
Some programs are funded with federal dollars, some with local, and at least one through a tax charged to all employers in the state. The city Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office put the total cost at about $70 million for workforce development programs, but did not provide a breakdown. Details from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development were available for some programs and not for others, particularly those run out of other departments.
We did some simple math for nine city programs for which data were available to help readers decide which are worth the cost.
$5 per participant
Site provides access to thousands of jobs. Employers can also contact job seekers. Uses only non-local funds.
Average annual cost (Fiscal Year 2009-2010 to 2012-2013): $54,902
Average participants per year (FY 2009-2010 to 2012-2013): 12,034
$68 per job
Provides employment to young adults ages 16 to 24 during the summer. Uses only local funds.
Total cost (FY 2012-2013): $355,000
Job placements (2012): 5,204
$790 per participant
Layoff and Outplacement Programs
Services that place job seekers into a variety of industries including manufacturing and biotechnology. Trainees can apply to one of four “sector academies” — construction, health care, hospitality and technology. Uses only federal funds.
Average annual cost (2008 to 2013): $274,905
Average participants per year (2008 to 2012): 348
(Although the program received an initial investment of $197,781 in 2008, it served no one that year. After omitting the first year’s costs, the price per participant becomes $677.)
$1,019 per participant
Employment Training Panel
Reimburses employers for training incumbent workers, with revenue from a state tax all California employers pay. Most funding is directed to training at larger companies rather than small firms or state-run agencies. Uses only state funds.
Average annual cost (FY 2011-2012 to 2012-2013): $47,882
Average participants per year (FY 2011-2012 to 2012-2013): 47
$1,155 per job
First Source Hiring Program
Connects city residents with entry-level jobs with city contractors or public-works agencies. Uses only local funds.
Average annual cost (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): $221,738
Average job placements per year (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): 192
$4,113 per job
On-the-Job Subsidized Training
Assists employers with hiring and training new staff, and reimburses employers 50 percent of wages. Uses a combination of local and non-local funds.
Average annual cost (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): $98,700
Average annual job placements (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): 24
$6,806 per job
Mostly trains people with a technology background to re-enter the field by updating their skills and connecting them with industry employers that are hiring. Uses almost entirely federal funds.
Cost (FY 2012-2013): $1,034,480
Job and paid internship placements (FY 2012-13): 152
$30,718 per job
Provides employment resources for young adults between 18 and 24 who have minimal work experience. Uses a combination of local and non-local funds.
Average annual cost (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): $927,681
Average annual job placements (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): 30
$33,296 per job
Construction training for San Francisco residents. Based at City College of San Francisco’s Evans Campus. Works with unions to fast-track workers into journeyman jobs. Uses only local funds.
Average annual cost (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): $2,230,852
Average annual job placements (FY 2008-2009 to 2012-2013): 67
NB: At least 14 city departments operate workforce development programs — more than we could list here. Three will outspend the rest in fiscal year 2013-2014: the Human Services Agency ($24 million); the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families ($11.5 million); and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development ($14.9 million). Spending has grown the fastest for OEWD, which focuses on local voluntary training and operates most of the programs listed here.
HELP WANTED: San Francisco’s Workforce Reboot
Since the recession hit California, jobs have been the first, second and third priorities for politicians. San Francisco now spends more than ever on job training, placement subsidies and a slew of supportive services. The latest trend is to emphasize the labor needs of growth industries — technology, construction, health care and hospitality.
How well do job seekers fare? How much does this cost taxpayers? For many programs it is hard to say, because the system is so fragmented. The city has never managed to get a clear picture of who is hired, a recent audit says. That could change.This team project was produced by reporters Noah Arroyo, Alex Kekauoha, Miguel Sola Torá, Yoona Ha, Chorel Centers, Kevin Forestieri and Adriel Taquechel; photographers Tearsa Joy Hammock and editors Michael Stoll and Liz Enochs.
Other stories in the package now online:
City Hall Focuses on Hot Job Sectors, but Struggles to Track Workforce Training Budget
Noah Arroyo covers housing for the San Francisco Public Press. He has also written on government, business and crime for MissionLocal.org, a UC Berkeley-sponsored hyperlocal news publication. He is a 2010 graduate of San Francisco State University.
Check him out on Twitter: @noah_arroyo
Adriel Taquechel is a self-proclaimed news junkie, world traveler, and language lover. He focuses on community-based social and political affairs as a way of keeping people informed and engaged as much as possible. He finds that perhaps no place is better to write stories than in the diverse – and ever changing – Bay Area of California.
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