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Another California example of government waste and cronyism – Pasadena Star News

California’s new program offering college financial aid in exchange for volunteering is the perfect government program if you’re trying to find one that sums up everything that’s wrong with government programs.

In fact, if there was any government waste equivalent to the Best Picture Oscar, this program would win it. Everyone involved really should dress in formal attire and order dinner at a restaurant owned by Wolfgang Puck.

Let’s start with the fact that the government will spend $159 million on this program, but only $66.7 million will go to college students to reward them for their volunteerism. About $92 million will be spent on overhead.

It’s classic Hollywood accounting. The more tickets he sells, the more money he loses.

Then there’s the careful storyboarding of the content to make sure no one’s sensibilities or jobs are put at risk by the production. Students will be paid for volunteering on selected and approved projects only.

So don’t be afraid that those with a job in the public sector will be replaced by enthusiastic newbies trying to make their way to a good education. It is very important that volunteers do work that no one would pay a union member for.

The up to 6,500 California College Corps Fellows will only be allowed to volunteer for “community organizations” working in “three priority areas: K-12 education, climate action, and food insecurity”.

In case you didn’t know, Governor Gavin Newsom has script approval.

Why, you might wonder, does it cost the state $92 million to give $66.7 million in “education prizes” to students who volunteer?

On the one hand, the state program California Volunteers “will lead a statewide campaign to increase the visibility of the College Corps.” This campaign, rest assured, will look absolutely nothing like a political ad campaign promoting the Governor’s efforts to help students pay for their college education by “volunteering” for money, otherwise known as work. .

There is more. For $92 million, the California Volunteers program “will cultivate an esprit de corps for participating students across the state.”

So t-shirts and caps. It’s in the budget. Probably another untendered contract.

California volunteers will also “connect campuses with potential community host partners in their area,” which is obviously critical, since college administrators obviously have no other way to learn about nonprofits. of their region, not to mention the difficulty of connecting with them. I guess you think everyone has a phone or one of those new Google machines. Obviously, you haven’t been following the story of the state’s technological problems. California runs on systems so old that the training videos are black and white.

Finally, the California Volunteers program will focus on “engaging research partners to support campuses in data collection and evaluation,” otherwise known as writing a report to justify the program’s eternal continuation. . It is currently planned to last only two years. If we haven’t solved climate change and food insecurity by then, we can always increase the budget and hire more administrators.

The program, as described on the state’s website, californiavolunteers.ca.gov, places particular emphasis on “networking” opportunities. Campuses will “participate in regular networking opportunities.” Students who complete “450 Hours of Service” will have “access to training, networking and professional development opportunities.” Organizations that host College Corps Scholars will receive “networking opportunities provided by partner campuses and California volunteers.”

It looks a lot like a political party operation. The governor’s office has implemented a program that provides free labor for community organizations, paid for with your taxes, to promote its camera-ready policy priorities. Participants benefit from having access to people who can help with future jobs, or funding for programs, or something the state government controls, like contracts.

Is it “networking” or cronyism?

If it wasn’t a political party type operation, but rather volunteering, students could volunteer in many other areas to receive education funds. But there is no place in this program for anyone who wants to volunteer, for example, with a law enforcement agency.

Remember that it is not legal to use taxpayers’ money for political campaigns. In other words, except in California.

Email Susan Shelley at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @Susan_Shelley.

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