500 Education, Training, Employment & Social Services:Eliminate Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Job-Training Programs

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings are expressed as budget authority as reported on page 233 of “Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Table 29-1. Federal Programs by Agency and Account”. Budget authority is not provided for 2025, but is assumed to increase at the same rate as the geometric mean of the previous nine years.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This proposal saves $3.4 billion in 2016, and $27 billion over 10 years.


Dept. of Labor training programs haven’t worked for 20 years. End them to save taxpayers $27 billion.

The Department of Labor has a history of operating ineffective job-training programs. The evidence from every multi-site experimental evaluation of federal job-training programs published since 1990 strongly indicates that these programs are ineffective. Based on these scientifically rigorous evaluations using the “gold standard” of random assignment, these studies consistently find failure. Federal job-training programs targeting youth and young adults have been found to be extraordinarily ineffective.

According to a 2009 GAO report,little is known about what the workforce system is achieving. Labor has not made such research a priority and, consequently, is not well positioned to help workers or policymakers understand which employment and training approaches work best. Knowing what works and for whom is key to making the system work effectively and efficiently. Moreover, in failing to adequately evaluate its discretionary grant programs, Labor missed an opportunity to understand how the current structure of the workforce system could be modified to enhance services for growing sectors, to encourage strategic partnerships, and to encourage regional strategies. ((U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Workforce Investment Act: Labor Has Made Progress in Addressing Areas of Concern, But More Focus Needed on Understanding What Works and What Doesn’t,” February 26, 2009, (accessed December 12, 2014).))

The simple fact is that there is abundant evidence suggesting that federal job-training programs do not work.

Dept. of Labor training programs haven’t worked for 20 years. End them to save taxpayers $27 billion.

Contributing Expert

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. is a leading expert on criminal justice programs in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis. A Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the think tank, Muhlhausen has testified frequently before Congress on the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement grants administered by the U.S. Justice Department.

See publications by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis

Heritage Expert

As senior policy analyst in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation, James Sherk researches ways to promote competition and mobility in the workforce rather than erect barriers that prevent workers from getting ahead.

See publications by James Sherk

James SherkSenior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics

Additional Reading