(From USA Today) -- Companies have dramatically cut training programs for new employees, experts say, worsening a skills gap that's keeping them from finding qualified job candidates and pushing up unemployment.

Employers "want people to hit the ground running," says Wharton School management professor Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs. "They don't want to train anybody."

The cutbacks coincide with a 16% drop in federal funding this fiscal year to train unemployed workers vs. five years ago. As a result, the onus to enhance skills falls on financially strapped workers themselves. The jobless rate last month ticked up to 8.3% from 8.2%.

Particularly affected are manufacturers, which have pared back apprenticeships even as they're seeking multiskilled workers, says Michael Collins, head of consulting firm MPC Management.

Thirty-eight percent of companies said they cross-train employees to develop skills not directly related to their job, according to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). That's down from 43% in 2011 and 55% in 2008, past SHRM surveys showed.

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