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Federal cuts devastate Focus: HOPE

About two-dozen people learned Wednesday would be the last day of their Information Technology certification course at Focus: HOPE. Some were nearly in tears, and most were reluctant to leave.

In all, about 225 people face an abrupt end to job training courses like this one. That’s because of Congress’s inaction on the Workforce Investment Act.

That Act provides most of the funds for Focus: HOPE’s job training programs. Since it’s not clear when or if Congress will approve additional funds, the programs are shutting down for now.

 Focus: HOPE says in the meantime, it must cancel classes. And that's devastating news to people like Jeniffer Clements, who quit her job last week to focus on getting her Information Technology certification.

“You know, I let my job go," Clements said tearfully. "I have five children at home. I'm trying to better myself so I can make more money.

"I am absolutely hurting right now. And I’m not sure what to do at this point.”

Focus: HOPE CEO William Jones admits this is a huge setback, but insists it’s temporary.

“We are gonna figure out what it’s gonna take to get the necessary funds to support these programs, and we will get them re-established, " Jones says.

Jones says Focus: Hope is looking elsewhere for funds to sustain the programs.


Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.