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Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters During a Visit to the OIC/IBM High Technology Training Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts

January 26, 1983

Q. Mr. President, do programs like this need some Federal money as well to get going?

The President. Yes, and this is what we meant last night and what I was talking about, of the using of Federal funds in collaboration with the private sector, with the community and all—and what our job training program is all about, aiming it at areas and aiming it for the jobs that are available and open in those areas. And Boston has become one of the centers of high technology.

Q. You won't be seeking to cut any of this?

The President. What?

Q. You won't be seeking to cut any of this when you freeze the budget?

The President. No, what we originally cut was CETA, but that was more than made up by the private sector. And our own job training program, where we think it is superior to CETA—is that out of CETA on the whole only about 18 cents out of the dollar actually went to training. And our one job program that has already passed, we figure that more than 70 cents out of every dollar is going to go into training. And so, what we've been trying to do is make a change into what we think are more efficient ways to get the job done.

Q. Mr. President, some of the officials here and at the plant, the Digital plant, complain that because of the cuts in things like urban development grants and industrial bonds, that they don't have the resources that they used to have before you came in.

The President. Well, there is one group that had a grant—has a grant still, except that it has never been able to get a client for the building that it wanted to put up here in one of the centers. And under the law, as it was passed, and long before we got there, there comes a time, if they cannot produce a client, in which then that grant is withdrawn. Now, I don't know what the status of it is right now. It has not been withdrawn as yet.

Q. Mr. President, as you know, you're in an area of high unemployment. And for those who may not have seen your speech last night, what can you tell those unemployed people in this particular area—not in the building, but in the surrounding neighborhood?

The President. What I said last night. And, apparently, in a poll taken after the speech, a great majority of the people believe that we are on the mend.

It is true that in all the recessions we've ever had, the last thing that improves is unemployment. But we have a different situation than maybe some of the previous, or earlier, recessions. This has been coming on for some time. It isn't unique to this particular period. But we have an employment situation that is only part recession. If the recession were ended tomorrow, we would find that in this country there is a need for just what we're seeing here, for retraining, because we're in a great transition period.

There are some people that will never go back to the jobs they had because those jobs will no longer exist. But there will be new jobs. And you—all of you—seem to take it the wrong way when I say it, but, again, let me refer to any Sunday metropolitan newspaper and to peruse the help wanted ads. When I say that you've distorted it somewhat, you've indicated that I'm trying to say that there are people who don't want work. No, it isn't that at all. If you look at them, here, in a time of great unemployment, are employers looking for people to work. And the reason those ads are there is because we still have not met the problem of training people for the job skills that need to be filled, that they're advertising for. In the last 2 years, some 3 million new people entered the job market. They weren't people laid off from other jobs. They are newcomers to the job market. And we have not been producing at the rate we should the new jobs to take care of that upsurge.

But right here, I've just been handed a message from the computer—the date and then "Good afternoon, Mr. President. Welcome to the High Technology Training Center. America is on the mend. Americans can still pull together for the common good." That's in quotation marks. I thank you very much. We can. And we're going to.

Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Thank you, sir. No more questions. I'm sorry. Sam [Sam Donaldson, ABC News], that's enough, please.

Q. But, Mr. President, does it bother you that Democrats are already saying on Capitol Hill they're not going to make the cuts in some of these domestic programs that you asked for last night.

The President. Well, as I said last night, we know it hasn't been easy ever since we've been there. There are going to be legitimate differences of opinion, but we're going to continue to work with them and, as I said, in a bipartisan way.

I was quite heartened by that film they made some weeks ago that they ran right after my speech, because they didn't know what I was going to say in the speech. But they said all the same things in their film that I'd already said in the speech that I wanted. [Laughter] So, maybe, we're going to get along all right.

Reverend Sullivan. I've said to the President that the unemployment is vast and high in our cities. We have hundreds of thousands of people in unemployment lines and on street corners all over this country. We need jobs. And we need training. And we're looking to the Government and to the President to help us get that job done-and the private sector.

The President. Dr. Sullivan started a project of this kind on his own—one man starting it—and it is spreading all over the country. And as you just heard, these young ladies here are already placed in positions now as a result of this training. And congratulations.

Student. We'd like to keep those programs running so that other disadvantaged people may be able to—

The President. And we are going to.

Reverend Sullivan. We want to expand them, not cut them—expand them to help our people.

Q. Reverend Sullivan, are you satisfied with what the President said in the State of the Union about jobs?

Reverend Sullivan. I always listen and then wait and see.

Q. Sir, is it true that you won't let Mr. Begin come here until he withdraws from Lebanon?

The President. Oh, that's a whole

Q. There's a story that you won't set a date for his visit until they withdraw.

The President. Sam, there's an answer to that question, but I'm not going to take it now, because I'm only going to talk about computers and young people and jobs today.

Q. But there is an answer. It is either yes or no, sir.

The President. We do our best.

Note: The exchange began at 1:20 p.m. as the President was touring several classrooms in the training center. Among those accompanying the President on the tour was Dr. Leon Sullivan, chairman of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, Inc., whose organization, in partnership with the IBM Corp., opened the training center in Roxbury.

Following his appearance at the center, the President went to the Roxbury plant of the Digital Equipment Corp., stopping briefly at the Eire Pub in Dorchester.

Ronald Reagan, Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters During a Visit to the OIC/IBM High Technology Training Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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