Jimmy Carter photo

Remarks on Signing Into Law the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act of 1977

August 05, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. I think this is a good week for my administration, for the Congress, and for the whole Nation.

This morning I will sign the final legislative act which implements the stimulus package that the Congress has approved to add to our economy crucial elements that it lacked 6 or 8 months ago.

We are now adding in public service jobs throughout our country 15,000 per week. In June, the taxpayers of our country began to receive permanent benefits in tax reductions amounting to $5.2 billion a year. Public service jobs that will improve the quality of neighborhoods and cities, towns, and provide additional jobs for our people are being contracted now at the rate of 1,000 per week. This is the first practical application of the beneficial legislation that Congress has passed.

This morning I want to express, first of all, my deep thanks to the congressional leaders who have been involved in the passage of a program to put our young people to work. Chairman Carl Perkins, Chairman Gus Hawkins, Senator Pete Williams, Senator Gaylord Nelson-all the chairmen of major committees have been very helpful; the Conservation Corps chairmen, Scoop Jackson and Lloyd Meeds, and I particularly want to recognize Senator Humphrey, who has been in favor of a Youth Conservation Corps for the last 20 or 25 years.

I think it's good to point out, too, that we have with us this morning Congressman Roybal and perhaps many others, including my own cousins--I was not quite old enough--who benefited from the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the Depression years, implemented under President Franklin Roosevelt.

This House of Representatives act 6138 does four major things to correct a very serious deficiency. Although the unemployment rate has dropped in our country more than one percent already since last December, we still have enormous unemployment among young people. More than half the total number of unemployed in our country are under 24 years of age. And of course, this falls much more heavily on minority young people than it does those of us who are male and white.

This bill will take a great stride forward in trying to correct this serious affliction on our Nation's economy which is mirrored within the nations of all the Western democracies. I think all of us realize that if a young person reaches the age of 16, 17, 18, all the way up to 24 years of age and can't get a job in the formative years of a life, there is a feeling of despair, discouragement, a loss of self-esteem, an alienation from the structure of society, a lashing out against the authorities who are responsible, which can shape that life for years to come.

We are trying to address that now in the first major step forward. We will not only provide jobs under this program, but we will also learn about the best mechanisms for increasing jobs even more in the future.

The Young Adult Conservation Corps will permit young people from areas of high unemployment to go in the open spaces, in our farmlands, forest lands, parks, and work in constructive and enjoyable surroundings under the supervision of the Interior Department and the Agriculture Department.

During this summer, prior to the passage of this legislation, we have already run experimental programs so that the transition period will be very brief. In addition, the Youth Community Conservation and Improvement projects will provide similar job opportunities in the urban areas when, because of practical considerations, we can't and do not want to transfer young people away from their own homes.

We'll conduct pilot projects with the major part of the funds available, over a billion dollars in all, to provide innovative approaches to correcting this chronic unemployment among young people. In the process, we'll more than double the Job Corps, which is one of the programs that's already proven to be effective.

So the cumulative effect of this legislation will single out young people and give them a chance in life and is the last in a series of programs that have now been approved and funded by the Congress, whose beneficial impact is just beginning to be felt in our country.

I think there has been a restoration of trust among the people of our Nation. This has been indicated by an improvement in the economic circumstances throughout our country. These new programs will provide additional incentives for the people to believe that in our own country, that there is a chance to lead a productive life as part of a system; at the same time, to correct the deficiencies which we all deplore.

Saturday morning in Plains, I will reveal the proposal for changing in a beneficial way the confused welfare system. And we have worked on this at length.

But the cumulative total of all these efforts, which have been passed by the Congress and which will be addressed by the Congress, are extremely beneficial to our country. And I want to express my deep thanks to the Members of the Congress in the House and Senate, to the mayors and Governors who are here, to representatives of business and labor, to young people who have already benefited from these programs and who look forward to doing it even more in the future, for their support in the passage of this fine legislation to cut down the blight of youth unemployment in the United States.

REPRESENTATIVE CARL D. PERKINS. Mr. President, to my way of thinking, your affixing your signature to this most important legislation is one of the greatest days in the history of our Government insofar as the employment of needy youth is concerned, which in that particular area in the forest is gradually becoming a lost art.

I certainly feel that the whole country wishes to compliment you for taking the lead in seeing that legislation of this type became law. You certainly deserve the compliments of all the youth in this country and all the taxpayers in this country in getting these youth off the streets. Thank you.

SENATOR HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, JR. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

In your message, I think you addressed yourself to all of the thoughts that were on our minds as we fashioned this program to reach out to youth and to give them that start as productive citizens, believing in the system, believing in themselves.

I'm one here--and there aren't many that remember the Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC. We still hear, from people who were part of that, that that President Roosevelt measure, in that case, made men of poor boys that had a productive job. We have included that as part of this program.

I think that it's a message of great hope to the young people of our country, and I was glad to be part of it and applaud this administration and you, Mr. President, for passing it.

THE PRESIDENT. So many Members of Congress have helped, I think I will be safer if I don't call on other people to speak. [Laughter] But these were the two key chairmen, and there were at least six different congressional committees that played an instrumental role in this. And I want to express again my thanks to them all. Thank you and congratulations.

Note: The President spoke at 9:15 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House.

As enacted, H.R. 6138 is Public Law 95-93, approved August 5.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks on Signing Into Law the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act of 1977 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243736

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