Q. How do you know when a huge, federally-funded program fails?
A. When the program's results are so abysmal that the government actually suggests shutting it down and reclaiming the money.
As the White House deals with another report of layoffs in the green energy business, we also are learning that the outlook is even darker for tens of thousands of workers who were trained in a $500 million dollar green jobs program.
The program's goal was to train 124,893 people and put 79,854 in jobs. But 17 months later, 52,762 were trained and 8,035, or roughly 1 in 10, had jobs. Those numbers come from an audit by the Department of Labor's inspector general, which recommended that the administration end the program and return unspent money.
The administration budgeted nearly $500 million taxpayer dollars to try and create a new workforce. After almost a year and a half, the money has accomplished about 10% of its targeted goals.
The is not a surprise. Back in August of 2011, The Blaze reported on "Seattle's $20 Million Dollar Green Jobs Scam." That story was an omen. The Emerald City of the Northwest claimed that they were going to create 2,000 jobs with their twenty million dollar allocation. These jobs were supposed to "weatherize" homes all over the city. Over a year into the program, KOMO4 claimed that only 14 jobs were created and 3 homes had been "weatherized."
Here is the original KOMO report from last August:
The USA Today story quotes Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates who makes the argument that we're too early in the process to label the program a failure:
"It's like coming to me three days after I join Weight Watchers and yelling at me because I didn't lose 62 pounds yet. More recent numbers are still being compiled."
Are we too early to make a reasonable comparison? Let us review some data from just a few failed green jobs initiatives:
Solyndra - The multi-pronged scandal that is typically the first name mentioned when most people talk about green jobs failures.
Beacon Power - Taxpayers on the hook for $43 million.
Willard & Kelsey Solar Group - Over $15 million in loans and grants, followed by layoffs and missed job creation targets.
Ener1 - $118 million in govt. loans, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just weeks ago.
First Solar - A public company that received $3.1 billion in loans, their CEO resigns and the stock tanks.
SunPower - The company that received $1.2 billion in loan guarantees and and was later removed from govt press releases about solar energy.
Many of these companies are also among the list of 100 potential bankruptcies posted on The Blaze last fall.
Congress might ask, how much more data is required before the "green jobs" initiative is deemed dead on arrival?