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Statement on the Merger of the National Alliance of Businessmen and Plans for Progress.

June 13, 1969

THIS MORNING, in the Urban Affairs Council meeting, Mr. Donald Kernal, Chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen, and Mr. Roger Lewis, who has been serving as Chairman of Plans for Progress, presented reports on the roles of their organizations.

Both of these organizations, one of them now 8 years old and the other less than 9, have as their goal the employment of our disadvantaged and minority group Americans.

Plans for Progress, which was formed in 1961, now has 441 cooperating corporations, which employ a total of over 10 million persons in more than 22,000 plants across the country. The organization cooperates closely with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and seeks to foster voluntary adoption by American business of plans to hire more minority group members and upgrade their skills.

The Plans for Progress organization has met with important success in these efforts, for more than 10 percent of the total employed by member organizations come from minority groups, and, since 1965, two out of every seven jobs in companies which have adopted Plans for Progress have been filled by minority group members.

The National Alliance of Businessmen has concentrated the attention of the business community on the high unemployment rates in our inner cities, and has mounted an impressive attack on the predicament of the hard-core unemployed. Some 15,000 participating companies have about 102,000 formerly hard-core unemployed persons on the job. The NAB has pledged that by June 1970, it will have found jobs for 218,000 persons, and the hope is that over 600,000 will be generated by June 1971.

In many respects, the purposes of the two organizations have been related if not identical. Some of the programs sponsored by the Plans for Progress organization, such as their Vocational Guidance Institutes, have now consciously been established in many of the 125 cities in which the National Alliance of Businessmen is organized.

Both organizations represented an attempt by the American corporate and financial community to contribute in efforts to break the cycle of unemployment and dependency. Both represent efforts to reduce the barriers to employment opportunities which for so long stood in the way of many simply because of their accident of birth.

Today, Mr. Kernal and Mr. Lewis told the Urban Affairs Council that their respective boards of directors have approved a merger of the two organizations. To both the members of the Urban Affairs Council and myself, the merger seems an appropriate means of rationalizing and focusing the attack by American business on the problems of unemployment and minority group employment.

The merged organization will permit some of the Nation's most public spirited companies to combine their efforts so that there is a single thrust and focus--total employment and advancement opportunities-throughout every level of industry for members of minority groups and the hard-core unemployed.

Mr. Kernal will be Chairman of the merged organization which will take the name of the National Alliance of Businessmen. Mr. Lewis will serve with him as Vice Chairman. Mr. Lynn Townsend also will serve as Vice Chairman.

To insure that the Federal Government puts its full resources behind the important work of this organization, I have asked that Vice President Agnew work closely with the Alliance, and that future meetings of the NAB board will be held at the White House.

Note: A news briefing concerning the merger was held at the White House on the same day by Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan, Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Donald M. Kernal, Chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen, and Roger Lewis, Chairman of Plans for Progress.

An announcement on March 13, 1969, naming Lynn Townsend as Vice Chairman and Paul W. Kayser as Executive Vice Chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, p. 399).

Richard Nixon, Statement on the Merger of the National Alliance of Businessmen and Plans for Progress. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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