Worker training inefficiencies

A state audit earlier this year found that two Nevada boards - one northern, one southern - charged with funneling federal money to colleges and companies to provide job training had extremely high administrative costs.

In fact, eight employees with the Southern Nevada Workforce Connections Board were making six-figure salaries.

The audit "results were extremely disappointing," Gov. Brian Sandoval noted in a statement released this week. "Far too much money was being spent at the local level on overhead and administration, insufficient dollars reached the service provider agencies and worker training programs."

Given such concerns, the governor on Wednesday proposed eliminating both the Workforce Connections Board and the Northern Local Workforce Investment Board and turning over their functions to another existing state panel. The move would save $5 million, which would be directed toward worker training.

The reform makes eminent sense.

The two existing boards are, in fact, simply another layer of bureaucracy that drains money from its intended purpose. The Governor's Workforce Investment Board, which would take over the function of the northern and southern panels, already collects the worker training money from the U.S. Department of Labor before simply distributing the cash down along the bureaucratic chain to the panels in question. Gov. Sandoval's proposal eliminates that inefficiency.

Not surprisingly, members of the targeted boards don't like the plan. But many critics - including fiscal watchdog Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. - argue that federal job training spending is notoriously wasteful, with dozens of overlapping and mismanaged programs pouring billions into efforts with spotty results and minimal accountability.

If Gov. Sandoval has found a small way to make sure some of those dollars are properly spent, good for him.