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East Side job training center seeks more funding

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-902251.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The head of a job training program on Buffalo's east side said President Obama should make more stimulus money available for hands-on education.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

As a professional painter for thirty years, Spense Gaskin knew what employers looked for when hiring workers. That is why he started the Outsource Center, a job skills and readiness training program for minority men and women.

Students are taught the skills needed to get and keep construction jobs. They get training in OSHA, as well as lead and asbestos abatement. But the program lost one of its own gigs. The Buffalo Employment & Training Center stopped making referrals to the Outsource Center. Decisions regarding which local job training programs receive funding are made by the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board.

Gaskin, the company chief executive officer, said the bar was set too high. 70 percent of graduates had to be placed in a job.

Gaskin said they place about 59 percent of their graduates. But he said any more than that is unrealistic in a city where unemployment among minorities tops 30 percent. He said, added to that, the program trains former prisoners, who are even harder to place.

Gaskin said using money from the Recovery Act for education is good. But he said more President Obama should send more of it for job training as an alternative.

He said the Outsource Center is in the process of applying for not-for-profit status. Gaskin said that would make them eligible for additional funding sources and hopefully keep the program afloat.