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Youth-Training Modifications Are Outlined

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WASHINGTON--The Secretaries of Commerce, Education, and Labor will hold a joint meeting July 11 with business leaders and educators to discuss how schools can produce more employable graduates, Labor Secretary Ann McLaughlin said at a Senate hearing last week.

The meeting will "focus on the gap between the basic skills young people are bringing to the job market and the needs of employers, and how businesses can help schools bridge that gap,'' Ms. McLaughlin told a Subcommittee on Employment and Productivity hearing on the Job Training Partnership Act.

Ms. McLaughlin also said that more JTPA resources should be devoted to at-risk young people between the ages of 14 and 21.

To give localities more flexibility, she proposed that funds provided under Title II-B of the program--now earmarked for summer jobs and learning programs for disadvantaged youths between 16 and 21--also be used for year-round, comprehensive services for at-risk youths.

No new funds are included in the proposal, she noted, and local areas would still have to fund their summer-jobs programs.

The department also proposes, Ms. McLaughlin said, that the Title II-B funding formula be modified to take into account the relative number of disadvantaged youths living in each state and service-delivery area.

The current formula, which was strongly criticized at the hearing by social-service professionals, is heavily weighted by an area's total unemployment level. Critics claim that it overlooks pockets of youth unemployment in areas with low levels of adult unemployment.--EF

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