While the president has been urging “insourcing,” the government has been sending money to the Philippines to train foreign workers for jobs in English-speaking call centers.
According to New York Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, this is unacceptable and “shocking.” The pair are calling on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to immediately suspend what is known as the Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) program. According to Jones’ office, in 2010, after the two men compelled USAID to end a similar training program in Sri Lanka, the agency assured the congressmen that they would “conduct a review to ensure the project will not take any jobs away from Americans.”
In a letter to the USAID administrator, Rajiv Shah, Bishop and Jones expressed their displeasure at learning of the effort they thought the agency had explicitly promised against. “I believe it was reasonable to conclude from that statement that your agency’s outsourcing training program was terminated, particularly in light of President Obama’s ‘insourcing’ initiative announced earlier this year,” the pair wrote. “Therefore, I was shocked to learn that USAID has used taxpayer dollars to invest in outsourcing training programs in the Philippines at the expense of American workers.”.
According to Bishop, more than 4.5 million Americans currently work in call centers, but since 2007 more than 500,000 call center jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries.