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CETA abandoned: government starts new job-training for poor people

By DREW VON BERGEN, UPI Labor Reporter

WASHINGTON -- The government will shut down the scandal-marred CETA program Friday and replace it with a jobs-training plan that puts more emphasis on helping hard-core unemployed prepare for full-time jobs.

The old Comprehensive Employment and Training Act expires at the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, to be replaced Oct. 1 with the Job Training Partnership Act.

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The Republican administration followed through quickly on its campaign promise to end CETA, which at one time paid for as many as 750,000 public service jobs, but also led to numerous abuses and scandals.

In its place, Congress and the White House last year worked out a compromise law that has no jobs attached, and requires the vast majority of funds to go directly for training purposes, instead of support and administrative costs.

Reagan signed the bill on Oct. 13, 1982, after much wrangling with House Democratic leaders and Sens. Dan Quayle, R-Ind., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. the chief proponents on the Senate side.

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Assistant Labor Secretary Albert Angrisani said in an interview that the new program is designed almost exclusively to help about 1 million persons yearly in three categories: welfare recipients of Aid for Families with Dependent Children, disadvantaged youth age 14 through 22, and displaced workers.

'If you are an AFDC recipient, if you are a minority youth, if you are a displaced blue collar worker you have got a better than fair chance of being served under this program,' he said.

'It was intended to be a rifle shot at the problem, instead of a shotgun like CETA,' Angrisani added.

Under the program, $3.5 billion would be authorized for use by state governments to develop training programs in various localities under the auspices of Private Industry Councils. The figure is far above the $2.4 million initially sought by the administration.

Angrisani said the government hopes to reduce abuses by 50 percent to 75 percent compared to the old CETA system, but added quickly that whenever public money is spent 'the potential for abuse or scandal exists simply because the financial control process in government just doesn't have the same accountability as in the private sector.'

He said the department issued instructions to states that those in a CETA program at the time of the changeover who have not completed their training, can complete it under the new program, and estimated that initially about 60 percent of the people in the new JTPA will be CETA carryovers.

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'Each day that goes on, the proportion of CETA dminishes, the proportion of JTPA goes up,' he said.

An area Angrisani said he feels the new law is more responsive to the needs of recipients is in the use of discretionary funds available to the secretary of labor. The new law provides $15 million for that purpose, while Angrisani said there was as much as $500 million in that category under CETA.

Angrisani said that 'means that the secretary of labor has no longer been given the appropriate reigns of patronage.'

He also predicted a higher rate of placing trainees in jobs.

'Under CETA, 15 percent of the people found jobs in the private sector,' Angrisani said. 'We're hoping to place about 50 (percent) the first year, year and a half.'

Individuals desiring to participate in the various training programs should do so through state employment offices, welfare offices, state job centers, local Chambers of Commerce, and community-based programs, Angrisani said.

Although the Reagan administration fought hard against any stipends, the compromise with Capitol Hill does allow local PICs to approve such programs as part of support services, if the individual does not receive other forms of public assistance or unemployment benefits.

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'The problem with CETA was people were going into the program to be paid,' Angrisani said.

'No bones about it, this program is for the man or the woman or the young person who says: 'I really want to get a skill. I really want to learn to read and write, and I'm willing to spend six or nine months',' Angrisani said. The program includes on-the-job training, whereby employers can receive reimbursement from the government of up to one-half of the minimum wage.

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