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Job Training Partnership Act Addresses Some of the Nation's Toughest Problems

November 13, 1988

Regarding the Oct. 18 labor column, "Quayle's Legislative Pride and Joy Nothing to Brag About":

The Los Angeles County Private Industry Council's experience with running one of the largest employment and training programs in the nation simply does not jibe with labor columnist Harry Bernstein's view of the Job Training Partnership Act.

JTPA participants in Los Angeles County do, in fact, benefit in measurable ways from having been trained and placed in jobs by the community-based organizations that have contracts with the Private Industry Council.

A recent study we undertook to learn more about program results, for example, shows that 81% of our participants were still employed 13 weeks after placement. This figure includes participants who were enrolled in both on-the-job training and classroom training programs.

Moreover, wages for on-the-job participants increased substantially over time, averaging $6.70 an hour 13 weeks after placement and increasing to $7.70 following eight months of employment.

Such results should not be minimized given the hard-to-serve population we--the Los Angeles County PIC and our contractors--are committed to helping: 32% of our youth enrollees were high school dropouts in program year 1987-88; 20% were young offenders.

JTPA is trying to address some of the nation's most complex problems. The Los Angeles County PIC is working hard to meet the challenge, which is why we are concerned when the debate about issues of such import are treated in a trivial manner such as in Bernstein's column.

In fact, someone could learn a lot about the JTPA program by talking to one of our South Central Los Angeles contractors, Cathy Tate. She's from the Charles Drew Child Development Corp., and she manages to describe what makes her organization tick in simple, though eloquent, terms:

"We are working toward the preservation of our community. We don't like to see people hanging out on the streets with no place to go."

Our sentiments exactly, Cathy.

ROD D. HANKS

Los Angeles

The writer is chairman of Los Angeles County's Private Industry Council and director of human resources for Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co. in Burbank.

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