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White House Fact Sheet: Youth Skills Initiative

August 24, 1992

The President announced today his Youth Skills Initiative, a new strategy to prepare our Nation's non-college-bound youth for success in the rapidly changing workplace. The President's Youth Skills Initiative consists of four major elements:

Youth Training Corps (YTC). A new residential and nonresidential training program for economically and socially disadvantaged youth;

Treat and Train. A comprehensive youth drug treatment program that will tie rehabilitation together with the Youth Training Corps to ensure that rehabilitated kids get the training needed for a new start in life;

National Youth Apprenticeship Program. A comprehensive school-to-work transition training program for high school juniors and seniors.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Doubling the size of the existing voluntary instructional program for high school students that emphasizes self-discipline, family and social values, citizenship, and personal responsibility.

The Problem

Put simply, the United States needs an increasingly better trained and skilled workforce for the remainder of this decade and the next century. International competition, the expansion of new and complex technologies into the workplace, and a dynamic labor market require a well-trained and highly-skilled work force. One of our greatest challenges in creating such a work force is to facilitate the transition from school to work for non-college-bound youth.

Of the students enrolled in the 11th and 12th grades this fall, approximately 40 percent will not immediately go to college. Of those who do attend, half will fail to complete their first year. Moreover, roughly one-fifth of American high school students either drop out or do not complete high school graduation requirements on schedule.

These young Americans need to acquire the vocational training and workplace skills that will allow them to compete successfully in the job marketplace.

The President's Proposal

In January, the President announced a comprehensive initiative to streamline the Federal job training system designed to implement "one-stop shopping" for job training in every community. Building upon this concept, the President has proposed a comprehensive plan to expand and improve job training for non-college-bound youth.

The President's Youth Skills Initiative consists of four major elements:

Youth Training Corps (YTC)

The Youth Training Corps will provide economically and socially disadvantaged youth with intensive vocational training and workplace skills. This training will be combined with community service and conservation work in rural areas and on public lands.

The Youth Training Corps will create 25 new YTC centers patterned after the Job Corps' 30 existing Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) centers to create a total of 55 residential YTC centers nationwide.

These residential centers, located primarily in rural areas, will utilize converted Department of Defense facilities, where appropriate.

Hiring preference for YTC staff will be given to individuals leaving military service. This will allow the YTC to take advantage of the military's high level of leadership and training expertise.

The President's proposal will add 29,600 new training slots that will help 43,000 additional kids each year. Of these additional slots: 16,600 slots will be residential, located at the 25 new YTC centers; 13,000 slots will be non-residential, located at existing Job Corps centers.

The President's proposals will serve an additional 43,000 disadvantaged youths (ages 16 to 21) annually. This will bring the total number of youths served annually by both the YTC and Job Corps to 113,000: 18,700 additional youths would be served at the 25 new YTC centers; 24,300 additional youths would be served on a non-residential basis at new or existing centers.

The YTC will utilize an expanded Job Corps model, relying on a combination of remedial education, technical training, life-skills training, counseling, and other support services.

The YTC participants will spend an average of 7 months as a resident at the Youth Training Corps center and receive both applied learning experiences and basic job training. Participants will work to help improve parks, recreation, or community facilities, and public/low-income housing.

The YTC would have an initial, start-up cost of $200 million (FY 1994 and FY 1995), expanding to $385 million per year when fully in place.

Treat and Train Program

This initiative will strengthen existing youth drug treatment programs and complement the Youth Training Corps. The President's proposal will fund 10,000 new drug treatment slots at intensive drug rehabilitation centers. Two-thirds of the new slots will be residential. Participants stay in the residential centers an average 9 months. One-third of the new slots will be out-patient. The President's proposal will serve an additional 28,000 youths annually, increasing the number of youth served by Federally-funded treatment by roughly 30 percent. Successfully completing the treatment program will give participants priority status for admission to the Youth Training Corps (YTC). The program will cost $150 million per year beginning in FY 1994.

National Youth Apprenticeship Program

This initiative will substantially expand the President's "National Youth Apprenticeship Act of 1992," which was initiated in January as a component of the Job Training 2000 proposal and transmitted to the Congress in May. This plan is a comprehensive, voluntary program for high school juniors and seniors that combines classroom instruction with a structured, paid, work experience program. The Department of Labor will provide community organization funding, planning, and curriculum design using the current six-State demonstration program as a model to expand the program to all 50 States. Students who successfully complete the program receive a high school diploma and a widely-recognized certificate of skill competency. Students will also have the opportunity to continue training at the post-secondary level. The Targeted Jobs Tax Credit will be available to employers to cover participating students that meet current TJTC economically disadvantaged eligibility criteria. The National Youth Apprenticeship program will cost $100 million per year beginning in FY 1994. The TJTC expansion will cost an estimated $10 million in FY 1994 and $160 million over 5 years.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)

This initiative will more than double the size of the present JROTC program, a very successful and popular partnership between the military services and the public and private schools. JROTC emphasizes self-discipline, values, citizenship, personal responsibility, and staying in school among high school students, and provides an alternative to drugs and gangs. The President's proposal will add 1,500 new JROTC units to the present 1,482 units, and will include as many as 225,000 more high school students. The program will emphasize increasing the number of inner city high school JROTC programs initially, but plans call for JROTC to be made available to every high school across the country that requests it and qualifies. The goal is to establish 2,900 units by 1994. JROTC is a low-cost education program that provides those who participate in it with positive incentives to stay in school. Well-trained, highly motivated former military personnel serve as instructors. This initiative will provide job opportunities for highly qualified personnel retiring from military service. The Department of Defense will help local school systems absorb some of the costs for the new inner-city school JROTC programs.

George Bush, White House Fact Sheet: Youth Skills Initiative Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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