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Mother Lode Job Training’s Future Unclear

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Supervisors have sent a letter to Senators Boxer and Feinstein about the importance of the federal Workforce Investment Act.

The House of Representatives voted to cut all funding for the act as part of steep budget cuts designed to reduce the federal deficit. The Workforce Investment Act is what funds Mother Lode Job Training. If the Senate approves the House cuts, 14 fulltime employees would likely be laid off in Tuolumne County. The Supervisors letter states that Mother Lode Job Training has been instrumental in helping newly recruited businesses like Tractor Supply, Lowes, Kohl’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics and PetSmart hire new workers.

For example, Lowe’s utilized offices, telephones and fax machines for their recruitment efforts while their building was being finished. Lowe’s received nearly 1,000 applications, interviewed 300 people and hired 121 workers. 92 of the people hired were residents of Tuolumne County. The Supervisors state in the letter that ending funding for the program could negatively affect economic development in the county.

The vote was 4-1 with Supervisor Liz Bass in opposition. District Three Supervisor Evan Royce initially spoke in opposition to the letter because he said he is not comfortable asking the U.S. Government to save this program, given the massive federal deficit. Royce later changed his opinion and voted in favor. Supervisor Liz Bass spoke about the merits of the program, but had concerns with sending letters to the state and federal government regarding matters like this.

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