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Bush Proposes Job Training, Voc. Ed. Merger

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President Bush was scheduled to announce the plan Jan. 17 during a visit to a youth job-training project in Atlanta.

The initiative, dubbed Job Training 2000, would "streamline the maze of federal job-training programs currently dispersed across numerous federal agencies" and create a "one-stop shopping center" for participants, according to a White House fact sheet.

The proposal calls for Private Industry Councils to expand their roles in managing local job-training and vocational-education efforts. The councils of business and community leaders currently oversee the federal Job Training Partnership Act program.

The councils would coordinate the delivery of more than $11 billion in federal vocational-education services from a variety of existing programs, such as the J.T.P.A., Perkins postsecondary vocational training, and even Pell grants and Guaranteed Student Loans.

Local employment-service centers would become "skills centers" managed by the local councils, with testing, job-placement, and counseling services.

The proposal also calls for the federal departments of Education and Labor to work with the private sector to develop "core proficiencies and standards" for what employees should know for different occupations. Voluntary "skill certificates" tied to those standards would be offered.

The initiative also calls for development of youth-apprenticeship programs to be offered to students in the 11th and 12th grades.

A student would set up an apprenticeship plan with his high school and employer, getting a mix of classroom instruction and on-the-job training that would lead to a diploma, a skills certificate, and employment. The apprenticeship programs would also be monitored by the local councils.--M.W.

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