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STATEMENT BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR ROBERTS T. JONES REGARDING THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY'S JTPA PROGRAM

 STATEMENT BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR ROBERTS T. JONES
 REGARDING THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY'S JTPA PROGRAM
 WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General issued an Audit Report on March 26, 1992, identifying nearly $7 million in Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) funds improperly spent at the Toyota Motor Corporation and Budd Company facilities in Kentucky.
 The report questioned the use of $4.5 million spent on individuals who are not eligible for JTPA services as well as $2.4 million in training costs for individuals who either received no special training or were not even in need of special training.
 JTPA is designed to serve economically disadvantaged individuals -- people who have no labor market experience and who would not be able to get jobs without the training and support which JTPA provides. JTPA is the country's most successful job training program to date. Since it began operating in 1983, more than 10 million people have received training, retraining or support services through the program.
 The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), which administers the JTPA program, is prepared to work in good faith with any state, including Kentucky, when there are problems. There is a clear and well-defined process for doing that.
 ETA provided a copy of the Inspector General's report to the Commonwealth of Kentucky prior to making a final determination on the matter. Kentucky had 30 days -- until today -- to respond to ETA.
 Moreover, over the past two months ETA offered four different times to provide technical assistance to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so that it could settle its debts with the federal government. Those offers were made on Feb. 1, April 1, April 6 and April 29. At the latest meeting yesterday, ETA even offered to send high level officials to the state to provide direct, hands-on assistance.
 To date, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has neither responded to ETA nor accepted its offers to help. When ETA receives Kentucky's comments, it will evaluate them carefully and proceed with the formal audit resolution process. Once a determination is made on the validity of the audit findings, ETA will try to resolve valid issues with the Commonwealth. Should issues still remain, ETA will make a final determination on the findings which Kentucky can appeal to the Department's Administrative Law Judge.
 It must be emphasized that the situation is very serious. This is the second time the Department of Labor has identified problems with the JTPA program in Kentucky. In 1989 the Commonwealth paid back $2.6 million to the JTPA account because it improperly spent funds on 545 individuals who were not eligible for the program.
 This latest round of problems identified by the Inspector General's audit raises important questions about the Commonwealth of Kentucky's purpose and operation of the JTPA program. The Department of Labor will be looking at those questions very closely in the weeks to come.
 -0- 4/30/92
 /CONTACT: Bonnie Friedman of the United States Department of Labor, 202-523-6871/ CO: United States Department of Labor ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


SS-JB -- CH011 -- 5215 04/30/92 17:55 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 30, 1992
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