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Labor Department To Set New Job-Training Rules

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The Labor Department, nudging the Congress for changes in federal job-training programs, last month said it will issue new rules for the Job Training Partnership Act in an effort to improve services for poor youths and tighten the program's accounting procedures.

The Congress had considered similar changes during its two-year debate over jtpa amendments that died last year. Lawmakers are expected to revisit the topic this year.

Despite delays in the Congress, the department's Employment and Training Administration has been pressing for changes in the federal job-training program from more than a year. The department last year revised the jtpa's performance standards, and the Bush Administration built its fiscal 1991 budget request around the concept of an expanded youth program.

In the Feb. 21 Federal Register, the department said changes in the jtpa's fiscal-management requirements are needed to answer criticism from the General Accounting Office and other groups that have studied the program.

The Bush Administration last (week released its version of a bill to counter job discrimination.

According to an analysis by the Justice Department, the bill would nullify the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 decision in Wards Cove v. Atonio, which held that to support charges of non-intentional job bias, minorities must demonstrate a link between employment practices and workforce statistical imbalances.

"The burden-of-proof issues that Wards Cove resolved in favor of defendants is resolved by this [bill] in favor of plaintiffs," the analysis states. "On all other issues, this act leaves existing law undisturbed."

Efforts to pass a civil-rights bill last year failed following protracted bickering between the White House and the Congress. (See Education Week Oct. 31, 1990.) Democrats in the Congress have reintroduced a bill similar to the one that failed last year, and hearings have already begun in the House. Their bill would reverse several other Supreme Court rulings in addition to Wards Cove. 3

In an effort to shift attention from the burden-of-proof provisions, which the Administration claims would force employers to institute hiring quotas, proponents are focus ing on provisions that would give women and ethnic minorities the ability to receive punitive damages in cases of egregious discrimination, a remedy now available only in race-bias cases.

Representative Patricia Schroeder, Democrat of Colora do, is the new chairman of the House Select Committee on Chil dren, Youth, and Families.

Representative George Miller, the California Democrat who has headed the panel for eight years, said in a letter to the Speaker of the House that expanded duties on the Interior and Insular Affairs ComL mittee would prevent him from re taining the chairmanship.

The ailing chairman of the Interi or panel, Representative Morris K. Udall, Democrat of Arizona, has been gradually transferring more responsibility to Mr. Miller, who is next in line for the chairmanship.

Mr. Miller, who is known as an advocate for children's programs as well as an environmentalist, is also a member of the Education and La bor Committee, which he rejoined in the last Congress after taking a three-term absence to sit on the Budget Committee.

Ms. Schroeder sits on the Armed Services Committee, and is best known as a critic of military spend ing and a champion of benefits for military personnel and their fam ilies. She is also chairman of the Civ il Service Subcommittee, and is rec ognized as a spokesman for women's and family issues.

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