Canton of Zurich cuts contributions for work integration again
The demand for courses and programs for disengaged people has been low for years: The money made available by the canton has by no means been exhausted. Is it the financing model?
The Canton of Zurich plans to spend 4.4 million francs between 2022 and 2025 on courses and employment programs for those who are out of control. This is again significantly less than in the previous four-year periods: from 2011 it was 20.9 million, from 2014 it was 10 million as part of a cantonal austerity program, from 2018 the cantonal contribution fell to 7 million – and now to 4.4 million, like Birgit Tognella (SP, Zurich) said yesterday in the Cantonal Council. Nobody from right to left denied that the courses and programs are important for the work integration of people who have long since lost their jobs. “The longer unemployment lasts, the more difficult it is to reintegrate into working life,” said Christian Müller (FDP, Steinmaur). The costs of around 4,000 francs per participant in such training programs are therefore money well invested.
The reason for the cut is less to be found in the intention to save. Rather, there is a lack of demand, as the government council wrote in its application, which has now been approved by the cantonal council.
Only a third of the funds were used
According to the Economics Director Carmen Walker Späh (FDP), two thirds of the loan remained for the years 2018 to 2021. And of the 10 million that were available from 2014 to 2017, the canton only spent 2.7 million francs, as Beat Bloch (CSP, Zurich), President of the responsible cantonal council, explained.
Bloch also indicated why this low capacity utilization is likely: The work integration courses and employment programs are financed half by the canton and half by the municipalities. “On the part of the canton, additional efforts are necessary so that the municipalities can make better use of these further training opportunities,” he said.
Melanie Berner (AL, Zurich) added that the cost divider between the canton and the municipalities may have to be adjusted. In addition, the Office for Economics and Labor should check whether the wrong courses are being offered. “Since the money is available, the dog must be buried somewhere else. Please dig it up, “said Berner.
Corona prevented presence offers
Government councilor Walker Späh cited the corona crisis as another reason for the recent low utilization of the course offers for outsiders. In 2020, demand had collapsed. This was also due to the fact that, due to the pandemic, many courses could no longer be offered as face-to-face courses, as the government further stated. And since their target audience is often people with poor knowledge of German and IT, online offers have not been of much use either.
Walker Späh expects that the demand for courses and employment programs for the outcast will increase after the pandemic. “Because when the Corona support measures expire, the number of those who are controlled should also increase,” said the FDP government councilor. Courses that increase the digital fitness of the participants are very important, stressed Walker Späh.
The cantonal council approved the credit line of 4.4 million francs for the next four years without a dissenting vote. In addition to the work integration of those who have been controlled, those of temporarily admitted and recognized refugees can also be financed, as the government wrote. “It can be assumed that this credit will be used well,” said Jasmin Pokerschnig (Greens, Zurich). That would be a trend reversal compared to previous years.