From the same folks who brought you the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973 comes a new, improved and leaner version: the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982, the latest cure for the escalating jobless rate to receive a congressional blessing.
Proposed rules for the new $2.8 billion program are being written by the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration.
At the same time, that office is overseeing the death of CETA, which expires in 1983 after creating millions of federally subsidized jobs for the disadvantaged at an overall cost of $66 billion over 10 years.
The Reagan administration considered letting CETA die without reincarnation, but a coalition of business groups and members on both sides of Congress convinced the White House to support the idea shortly before the November elections.
The result, said William H. Kolberg, president of the National Alliance of Business, which lobbied for the jobs bill, is a renovated CETA with more stress on the T.
"The problems with CETA and the bad name that it got were largely due to problems in public service employment . . . . " said Kolberg, who served as assistant secretary of labor for manpower during the Nixon administration and helped launch CETA. "Despite what people say, a lot of good training went on in CETA and the basic training strategy is still good."
The biggest difference between the new program and CETA, explained Albert Angrisani, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, is that the new program requires local business leaders to get involved in the job training. It also concentrates on giving unemployed youths marketable skills rather than simply providing them with a job.
"This bill has nothing to do with job creation," said Angrisani. "What we are trying to do is much more difficult than a public service jobs bill. We will be trying to change years of a person's deficient educational training, rather than handing them a brush and paying them to paint city hall."
Under the new program, private industry councils (PICs) could be created in cities of 200,000 or more and in communities designated by the governor. These would be similar to CETA sponsoring groups, but a majority of the members of a PIC and its chairman must be business leaders.
The council will decide what kind of jobs are available locally and then create a training program to fit those needs. The educational program, which could be offered at a school or business, must be approved by the governor before the federal government will fund it.
The Labor Department's role will be limited to oversight, Angrisani said. It will make sure that 40 percent of the program's funds are used to help disadvantaged young people between 16 and 21, and that at least 70 percent of the federal funds are spent on actual training, not administration.
Officials hope to train at least one million young people during the program's first fiscal year.
One of the reasons that CETA was beset with problems, Kolberg said, is that it depended upon a "prime sponsor," usually an elected official or the local government, to organize the training program. As a result, Kolberg said, "We found a lot of prime sponsors simply substituting federal dollars for local dollars," and that meant "CETA paid for a lot of improvements at fire and police departments."
Angrisani said the department hopes to change that by putting business executives in charge.
"Training is a long-term investment," said Kolberg. "I don't think they business leaders would feel comfortable . . . running a revolving-door training program."
If a community doesn't have any jobs available once the training is over, Angrisani said, participants "should be able to find work elsewhere" because they will have been taught a marketable skill. The department's Bureau of Labor Statistics will supply the PICs with information so they can better project what fields will need workers in the future.
Kolberg, who has been studying manpower needs since 1963, expects that there will be few participants who won't be able to find a job. "There are jobs out there," he said. " . . . I can't believe that any community is in such sad shape that there is no activity in employment. The problem is getting people trained for those jobs."