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Remarks Upon Signing Bill Amending the Manpower Development and Training Act.

December 19, 1963

I AM very glad to approve these amendments to the Manpower Development and Training Act. I would especially like to compliment Senator Clark and Congressman Holland who conducted the hearings on this legislation, and I want to congratulate the entire Congress for acting with such dispatch, particularly the members of both parties.

Under this legislation we are taking some very necessary and very important steps to continue the success achieved thus far under the Manpower Development Training Act enacted last year. We are making it possible for those who lack sufficient education to take advantage of the act to obtain the basic education that is essential to the undertaking and profiting from occupational training.

Second, we are lowering the age limit for youth training activities to permit payment of allowances to young people of 17 and 18 years of age because workers under 19 years of age account for 16 percent of our unemployment. We are providing a modest increase in training allowances for family breadwinners and postponing for another year the requirement for State matching so that we may have time to properly appraise the program further. All these steps of course are important. They are important in principle as well as in the practical terms of the 93,000 additional persons these provisions should permit to be trained.

We are especially grateful to Senator Clark for the leadership he has assumed in this field. It was his suggestion, you will recall, that resulted in establishing the manpower subcommittee in the Senate. For 7 months he has been conducting intensive hearings on what he calls staffing freedom, a problem of getting the right people in the right place in the right job at the right time. I believe with him that the manpower revolution may have more far-reaching effects than the industrial revolution of the 19th century.

Senator Clark's efforts have helped us to find the scope and recognize the importance of this problem. In approving and concurring with these measures I would like to emphasize that all we have done may still be only a small measure of what we must yet do to assure the promise of American opportunity to our young people, to the undereducated, to the family breadwinners that are caught in the dilemmas of our changing technology. Our society surely faces in this decade a rendezvous with a most demanding challenge in these areas. We cannot know what the final answers must be or will be. These steps are first steps but we have a long way to go and it will require the best efforts of us all to meet this challenge during this decade of the sixties.

I am especially honored to have the distinguished Speaker who early in my administration took effective steps to bring this legislation to the place where it could be passed present here this morning. I am grateful to each member of the House and Senate of both parties who contributed toward making this act possible.

Note: The President spoke at 10:30 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. During his remarks he referred to Senator Joseph S. Clark and Representative Elmer J. Holland, both of Pennsylvania, and to Representative John W. McCormack of Massachusetts, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The bill (H.R. 8720) to amend the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 is Public Law 88-214 (77 Stat. 422).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Amending the Manpower Development and Training Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241721

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