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J.T.P.A. Dropout Plan 'Unworkable'

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Washington--A Senate proposal that would establish a bonus system for local Job Training Partnership Act programs that train and place high-school dropouts was termed "unworkable" by a Labor Department official testifying before a House subcommittee last week.

The "jobs for employable dependent individuals act", or jedi, was passed by the Senate last spring; a similar version is now being considered by the House Education and Labor Committee. The program's goal is to increase the number of current or potential welfare recipients being served through jtpa. programs, which have been criticized for a failure to serve the most disadvantaged.

The voluntary program, offered as an amendment to the jtpa, would financially reward states for training and placing long-term welfare recipients and dropouts under age 22 who have been unemployed for a year or more.

But Robert T. Jones, deputy assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, told members of the Subcommittee on Employment Opportunities that if the "inherently unworkable piece of legislation were enacted, it would only create false expectations that would not be fulfilled."

Mr. Jones said that because bonuses would be paid for all eligible recipients, rather than new clients only, program coordinators might simply assess existing clients rather than undertaking the difficult task of searching for, serving, and placing additional clients who could qualify for the bonus.

He also expressed concern that the bonus system does not take into account geographic location and general economic conditions that affect placement. States with booming economies, he suggested, could thus be more likely to receive bonuses.

The bill's "cumbersome" eligibility system also might substantially increase states' adminstrative costs, Mr. Jones said.--rrw

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