Statement on Signing the Job Training Partnership Act Amendments of 1986
October 16, 1986
I have signed S. 2069, the Job Training Partnership Act Amendments of 1986. Four years ago I signed into law the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). This law put into motion a new public-private partnership to address the job-training needs of disadvantaged young people and adults and displaced workers who have lost their jobs because of technological changes in modern industry. JTPA marked a major departure from earlier programs by shifting authority to the States, focusing resources on meaningful job training, emphasizing performance, and, most important, involving employers in all phases of the design and implementation of the program.
I believe that the JTPA has more than fulfilled our expectations. It has helped millions of youth and adults. States have shown that they can manage the training and employment system under a block grant approach. Thousands of private sector volunteers have donated their time and energies to make sure that the training provided meets the real needs of employers. This has paid off in terms of the performance of the program: About two-thirds of those assisted find jobs in the private sector.
The Job Training Partnership Act Amendments I have approved are the first revisions to the law since the program began. Consistent with the proposal in my 1987 budget request for the summer youth employment and training program, this legislation promotes literacy training for individuals in the program who need it in order to be able to find and hold a job. States and local areas should be concerned about the problems of illiteracy and lack of basic educational skills. Those who are entering the workplace need to be able to read, write, compute, and reason in order to get along in today's jobs. The amendment to the summer youth program directs resources toward those problems and continues flexibility for the States and local areas in deciding how to structure their programs under the JTPA to address them. The other changes made by the Job Training Partnership Act Amendments fine-tune the program, but in no way compromise the sound principles on which the JTPA is based. They should make the program work even better, and I commend the Congress for the bipartisan support it has given the JTPA.