The City of Oakland under the leadership of Mayor Libby Schaaf is continuing to cut funding for jobs and training programs that serve young people in need.
Federal job funds for year-round youth job programs have been reduced from $1.1 million in 2015-2016 to $886,000 in 2016-2017, a cut of $164,000 or 16 percent.
Since July 2014,the cut has been 33 percent.
The cuts have been implemented even though federal funding has been nearly steady over the past few years, and the state has not yet released what the funding levels will be for 2016-2017, which begins July 1.
This money serves low-income young people who face additional barriers to employment, whether they are teen parents, on probation, homeless or in the foster care system.
The money is dispersed by the city to nonprofits that help youth with job preparation, gaining their high school diploma or other education credential and placing them in a job.
Further, Mayor Schaaf’s administration is reorganizing youth services without discussion or agreement by the Oakland Workforce Investment Board (WIB) or the Youth Council of the WIB, which is a federal requirement for structuring and recommending funding for youth employment programs according to activists who are fighting for jobs for Oaklanders.
Mayor Schaaf did not re-spond to questions submitted by the Post,
The administration oversees these agencies, and due to lack of effective technical assistance, the city is failing to meet its state required youth performance measures. The last year in which those results were reported was 2013-2014.
Over the past several years, several of the nonprofit agencies that serve youth have been forced to shut down due to delays in city payments and the hostility of the city bureaucracy, activists say.
Overall, the Schaaf administration has reorganized the city’s job programs unilaterally, without involvement of the WIB or the agencies that work with youth and adults and provide crucial support for immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and long-term unemployed, according to the activists.
The mayor’s changes will mean that three Oakland career centers, including the ones in Central Oakland, East Oakland and West Oakland, will be closed down.
Jobs and housing activists are concerned that the mayor’s reorganization and reduction of jobs programs – combined with the city’s failure to respond to the housing emergency – will mean that low-income residents will continue to be forced out of the city.