Let us gather the testimonies of the grateful beneficiaries of the government's concern for their career future:
"It was a waste of time," he said. "So much money wasted. It's all garbage. The training was inadequate. This is not real school. It's for kids. (But) I have to go there."
"Someone has to stop this stupid thing," said Canelas, who quit her program in frustration and is now unemployed. "Money, money, money for nothing."
Of course teaching of new skills and skill upgrading for our modern hitech economy is very difficult considering the way our social service budgets are so severely constrained in how much they can spend to l'arn recipients in these marketable new skills. Being able to afford to pay out a mere $33,000 over a 18 months to prepare one for data entry and shelf stocking, or $21,000 to prepare one to be a "customer service clerk" -- how can one expect results when our social service programs are so starved for resources?
You know of course that it would be a lot more effective to let the recipients pick a new trade and an institution to teach it themselves and just give them the money to enroll. But they're much better off deploying the whole long-assembled wisdom of the Government of Ontario in a decision that may determine the whole course of their future life.
I've been thinking of course about the budget. There will be money for job training, Jim Flaherty has said. It's a shibboleth, a panacea, a totem. Not spending money on job training is considered equivalent to saying "We don't care about people losing jobs; they probably deserved it anyway. Let them deliver advertising flyers."
About all we can hope for from the Conservatives is that they take the time and trouble to ensure that their training programs will achieve something, but that's not something I really expect to see. Expect a Star expose of useless new training programs finded in the budget by the conservatives later this year, just about the time that Michael Ignatieff decides that he wants to force an election.