On Monday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) hosted a job fair in his district at Germanna Community College. Like his last job fair in August, Cantor used it as an opportunity to gain positive local press and launch attacks against President Obama.
At the fair, Cantor told reporters that the stimulus has been an “utter failure.” But as the Washington Post has noted, nearly half of the “30 organizations participating” in Cantor’s event “were recipients of the stimulus.”
ThinkProgress attended the event, which attracted more than 600 people. Victor Zapanta produced a video report on Cantor’s stimulus-fueled job fair. Watch it:
So far, the stimulus has injected over $5 billion into Virginia, creating or saving at least 5,900 jobs. The money has helped local governments avoid budget cuts and layoffs, while spurring private investment by funding infrastructure and other critical projects. Many of the employers at Cantor’s job fair were a clear demonstration of the success of the stimulus:
— The Culpeper County School system will have a total of $4.1 million in stimulus funding to work with for the fiscal year 2010. The school system is hiring 7 people and the stimulus is helping to retain the over 700 people employed by the system. In March the Culpeper School Board, which is not authorized to levy taxes, approved a $70.6 million budget. As the Culpeper Star-Exponent reported, “the school budget includes $2.2 million in recently approved stimulus money.”
— Higher education institutions at the fair were encouraging job-seekers to go back to school. Many of universities, like Grand Canyon University, touts federal TEACH and Pell grants as a way to attend. The stimulus provided $14 million in Pell Grants.
— The Orange County Public Schools received at least $340,000 from the stimulus and is hiring 7 people.
It’s worth noting that among the job fair participants, more than half were from the public sector, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the CIA, FBI, Army and the FAA –- even though Cantor previously has criticized the stimulus plan for placing too great an emphasis on “preserving jobs in the public sector.” In Virginia alone, the Department of Defense has 83 projects totaling $75.7 million in stimulus money. It’s no wonder Cantor would feature the Culpeper Army recruiting center at his fair, especially since the Army in Virginia has received $61 million in stimulus money.
As the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen observed, “the job fair at which Cantor trashed the stimulus wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the stimulus.”