It’s been nearly two month since the $85 billion sequester cuts took effect, but some local businesses and job agencies are still trying to figure out what it will mean to them.
The Clark County WorkPlus One-Stop Center could lose more than $52,000 — or 15 percent — of its program funding to train dislocated workers due to sequestration, which calls for across-the-board federal budget cuts.
The cuts might not leave the center with enough money to maintain the programs through September, said Lehan Peters, deputy director of WorkPlus.
“We’re very concerned about the sequester taking a direct hit to our allocations,” she said.
Those dollars are used to provide on-the-job training, as well as credentialed classroom training for dislocated adults. The programs are geared toward specific employers who need trained workers but might not have the funding to train new employees.
That money is important, Peters said, because it gives dislocated workers an opportunity to compete with other applicants and it is beneficial to the employer as well.
“We have an 86 percent placement rate, sometimes 90 percent, through our classroom programs,” she said. “It’s really worked well in our community.”
TAC Enterprises, a nonprofit that repairs and manufactures cargo nets for the military, was among the first to eliminate jobs in anticipation of the sequester. In March, the business cut 17 positions, and enacted wage cuts and furloughs to combat potential losses.
But in the past month, TAC recovered a long-lost contract with a foreign military division, Executive Director Mary Brandstetter said.
“We had a couple of generals meet with us a couple of weeks ago, including a general in foreign military sales,” she said.
TAC previously made nets for that division years ago, but not recently.
“We got an order for 4,400 nets, which is double what we anticipated in this line,” Brandstetter said.
Despite the good news, Brandstetter said the organization hasn’t called back any laid off workers. She said TAC has encouraged those affected to watch postings on the company’s website in case of any open positions.
TAC has also given some tours of the plant to some potential customers, she added.
Another government contractor, SelectTech GeoSpatial, has yet to determine whether the sequester will hurt the company, or inadvertently give it an advantage.
“We have some ongoing programs under the threat of delays or cuts, but we may be a lower cost option that (the military) can use if there is a program they already have a contract on,” said Frank Beafore, SelectTech executive director.
Recently, SelectTech, which operates at Airpark Ohio near the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport, has been able to grow its programs, he said. The business currently makes parts for unmanned aircraft systems and hopes to eventually manufacture commercial unmanned systems for use by law enforcement, agricultural producers and more.
About 75 percent of SelectTech’s business is government contracts, Beafore added, and the remaining 25 percent is made up of civilian companies.
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who represents Clark County, said in a statement on Friday that sequestration is bad policy.
“That’s why the House voted twice to replace it with smarter cuts,” he said in the statement.