I AM signing into law today the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973. I do so with great pleasure, as it is one of the finest pieces of legislation to come to my desk this year. This act makes Federal monies available to State and local governments for their use in providing a wide array of manpower services to their citizens, thereby putting an end to the patchwork system of individual, rigid, categorical manpower programs which began in the early 1960's.
Manpower services which State and local governments can provide under this legislation include: employment counseling, supportive services, classroom education and occupational skills training, training on the job, work experience, and transitional public service employment. These services are not new ones. What is new, however, is the fact that funds to provide these services will, for the first time, be made available to State and local governments without any Federal strings as to what kind of services or how much of those services should be provided. From now on, State and local governments will be the decision makers concerning the mix of manpower services which they make available.
The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973 represents a significant shift in intergovernmental responsibilities. The first legislation to incorporate the essential principles of special revenue sharing, this bill represents an important companion piece to the general revenue sharing legislation I signed last year. It also marks the culmination of almost 5 years of manpower reform efforts which began with my proposal for a new Manpower Training Act of 1969.
The Federal manpower program is a vital part of our national effort to conserve and develop our human resources and to help individuals adjust productively to changing economic conditions-including whatever temporary dislocations may ensue from the current energy shortage.
One important feature of this new act provides an extra share of money for communities in which unemployment is high. Such added funds can be used by State and local governments to provide transitional public service jobs or any of the other useful manpower services authorized in the legislation. In order to carry out this feature of the act forthwith, I will include in my budget to be transmitted when the Congress reconvenes, an amendment requesting $250 million for the current fiscal year.
In my State of the Union Message 3 years ago, I urged the Congress to join in the enactment of new and more creative approaches to government. As I phrased it then, "... let us put the money where the needs are. And let us put the power to spend it where the people are." This long-overdue shift in intergovernmental responsibilities is now a reality in one key area of government domestic programs--manpower.