I wanted to let you know about the immediate and possible long-term impact of the government shutdown on the Madera County Workforce Assistance Center. We are a federally funded program, responsible for operating the American Jobs Center of California/One Stop in Madera County.
We were to receive our second allocation of funds to assist low-income adults and dislocated workers on Oct. 1. Our first allocation, received on July 1, has always been fairly small because the bulk of the federal funds are received on Oct. 1.
This year that first allocation was even smaller in that it was impacted by sequestration and now we have not received the second allocation because of the government shutdown. This exacerbates what we have already been experiencing for the last 10 years and that is reductions to our federal funds to the tune of approximately 68 percent.
What does this mean for those community residents who are unemployed and/or under-employed and are seeking assistance for training, skills upgrade, supportive services such as transportation, books and/or certification exam fees?
It means we are unable to provide those services as an immediate impact of the government shutdown. We have had to place a freeze on those services and if this shutdown is prolonged and we do not receive our allocations, we will begin to look at reducing hours and staffing at the One Stop in Madera, Oakhurst and Chowchilla, and ultimately closing the One Stops because we will not have the funds to operate.
The One Stops myriad other services, from partner agencies as well as community resources and information and that access them would be impacted. From July 1, 2012, to Oct. 3, 2013, we had 29,754 people sign in to the Madera County Workforce Assistance Center.
I know there are other agencies that provide critical services to this community because they receive federal funds and may potentially be impacted the very same way but also may be fortunate in that they have other non-federal funds to continue to operate their programs.
Either way, the fact that the government has shut down and there is not a continuing resolution for budget purposes, those of us who depend on those federal funds are significantly impacted, thus impacting the residents of this community and their ability to access critical services and programs that have a direct impact on the economic health of Madera County.
Executive director, Madera County Workforce Center