Simon's Bill Focusing Job Aid on 'Forgotten Half'

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Washington--Senator Paul Simon has proposed establishing a "Fair Chance" demonstration program designed to stimulate the development of ''an integrated approach for education, training, and service needs of all youth."

The initiative by the Illinois Democrat, which he has offered as an amendment to the Job Training Partnership Act, would target grants to programs for youths who are not college bound. It draws on a plan described last year by the William T. Grant Foundation in its report "The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America's Youth and Young Families."

The proposed amendment was a topic at a hearing last week before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Productivity,4which Mr. Simon chairs.

The demonstration program, which would be administered by the Labor Department, would provide $100 million to fund one or two projects in each state. The program would include the following provisions:

A cooperative agreement among youth-service agencies and other public and private agencies to ensure coordination of resources and avoid duplication;

Outreach efforts to target "harder-to-serve" youths;

A "case management" system to ensure that each participant received such services as ongoing assessment, counseling, placement, follow-up, and advocacy; An independent evaluation of various program approaches to measure their respective costs8and effectiveness.

Speaking at the hearing, Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund, said the proposal was "not just another categorical program which would add to the duplication and bureaucratic morass."

"To the contrary, Fair Chance would give communities a powerful incentive to come to the table and seek to coordinate their fragmented resources," she said.

Another amendment Mr. Simon has proposed for the j.t.p.a. would change the funding formula for the act's youth programs. The change would give more weight to the number and concentration of economically disadvantaged youths in a given area, and less weight to the area's youth-unemployment figures.--rrw

Vol. 08, Issue 26

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