Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Manpower Act of 1965.

April 26, 1965

Members of the Cabinet, Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen:

Several weeks ago I was privileged to sign the educational legislation that was enacted so promptly by this hard-working Congress. As I said at that time, I believe that the education bill will be the most important measure that I shall ever sign into public law.

This legislation before me this morning is a wise and necessary companion to our efforts in the educational field.

The manpower development and training program has already proved itself decisively with a most impressive record.

In 3 years, training has been authorized for 340, 000 individuals. Another 67,000 have been made employable through special projects helping them overcome what would otherwise be lifetime handicaps.

I was in South Carolina last week and the distinguished former Governor of that State told me that he had in training some 7,000-odd trainees, and of those 7,000-odd that had finished their training he had already secured jobs for more than 5,000 of them.

As a nation, much of our strength comes from our dedication to wise and prudent policies for conserving our resources, but the most valuable of these are human resources. By this program we are rejecting the wastage, and the erosion, and the loss of human talent and human ability.

So, I am very pleased that this program has worked so remarkably well. We have reached down into the ranks of the hard core of unemployed and we have given men and women training to equip them for useful and productive jobs. The results thus far show that three-fourths of those trained have found employment--three-fourths of the total number of people who were taxeaters have now become taxpayers.

If this program is to work successfully it requires, as do all of our efforts, the support and the cooperation particularly of business, of labor, of every department of the Federal Government, and of all of our communities throughout the Nation.

We must make certain that there are jobs which graduates of this program can fill. I am determined as President that this administration will make every possible effort to assure such jobs. We have a Cabinet committee of the highest level devoting its efforts to this end. This Cabinet committee is chaired by the distinguished Vice President, who for many years has showed his concern for human resources. Along with him sit the Secretary of Labor, Mr. Wirtz, and the Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Connor.

Because of the huge number of employers that they deal with, I am asking this morning Secretary McNamara and Mr. Webb to join this committee, to visit some of these training programs, to interview some of the trainees, to relay this information to contractors with whom they deal, and to attempt to formulate with this committee programs for certain types of training where the graduates can fit into the contractors' employment pattern.

We have had some very good economic news the first quarter of this year, and some particularly good news on the employment front. But summer is just ahead of us, and hundreds of thousands of young people will be out of school and again they will be looking for jobs.

So I hope to appeal to every employer in this country, private and public, to take the time to apply effort and imagination and responsible civic spirit to the task of bringing into being the jobs that we need to fill the needs of our society.

America has always been the land of opportunity and we must make sure that this is a fact and not just a slogan. This vital extension of the Manpower Development and Training Act, which the Congress has so wisely and so promptly acted upon, is one such effort. But this effort must be made by all of us in every segment, in every section, in every city throughout the Nation.

So I congratulate the Congress on its prompt and prudent action on this measure. I particularly thank those here with me this morning who have been the mainstays of this program, who have been the wheelhorses, who have led the way to what we find before us today. And I am especially pleased that this bill reaches me this early in the session, before the end of April. If we hold to this pace, maybe all of us will get to spend the last half of the year out with the people that we mutually serve, talking to them, listening to them, setting our course to serve their aspirations more fully.

And as for myself, I intend to visit some of these retraining operations in the various States. I intend to ask some of the Cabinet committee, and some of the authors of the legislation and members of the committee who have made this possible, to go with me. I know that the Vice President will do likewise and will give particular attention to a coordinated program with employers that will result in their helping to plan the projects and will result in their being ready to file requisitions for trainees as soon as they have completed their course. This is a pleasant experience for me, and this is a good day, I think, for all America, because the people who have heretofore been denied jobs because of lack of training now will have an opportunity to get the training that they need so much, and the jobs that they want so much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:37 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. During his remarks he referred to Senator Donald Russell of South Carolina, former Governor of the State, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor, John T. Connor, Secretary of Commerce, Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense, and James E. Webb, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

As enacted, the Manpower Act of 1965 is Public Law 89-15 (79 Stat. 75).

See also Items 99, 100.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing the Manpower Act of 1965. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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