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Forty-two percent of the American workforce will need additional training over the next decade to keep up with technical changes in the workplace, but few are likely to get it unless U.S. industry changes its lukewarm commitment to on-the-job training, a study released in Washington last week says.

The 49.5 million employees in need of training are in addition to the 37 million workers who require entry-level training every year, according to the report by the American Society for Training and Development.

The four-year study, supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, concludes that the lack of commitment among U.S. industries to on-the-job training has contributed to their fading competitiveness in the world marketplace.

Moreover, the report says, a vast "training gap" exists between existing workplace knowledge and the knowledge the nation's workers will need to keep American business profitable.

To fill the gap would take $15 billion annually, or a 50 percent increase over current training expenditures, the study says.

To help address the problem, the national training organization launched a public-awareness campaign to push businesses to strengthen their commitment to training. The "Train America's Workforce" campaign will be disseminated to all 50 states and to more than 160 communities, organizers said.

American Indians are one of the most rapidly growing ethnic groups in the United States, as well as one of the most diverse, yet statistical information about them is highly unreliable, according to a new report.

Writing in "The Demographics of American Indians: One percent of the People: Fifty Percent of the Diversity," researchers for the Center for Demographic Policy argue that the U.S. Census Bureau and similar surveys overlook Indians because of their relatively small populations and because data on them tend to be lumped into a category called "other."

"When we ask about any group of human beings, a natural question is, 'How are they doing?"' the report states. "At the moment, the question can just barely be asked of American Indians, in that information about them is so uncoordinated and fragmented."

The report notes that, although Indians constitute just 1 percent of the U.S. population, they speak some 200 distinct languages and dialects, roughly equal to the number of tongues spoken by the remainder of the population.

The document notes that, even as their cultures continue to become endangered, growing numbers of Indians are seeking admission to college.

The report asserts that more Indian-centered education will improve the lot of Indians.

"Our hope is that as more tribal colleges and [Bureau of Indian Affairs] schools are infused with Indian leadership," the authors conclude, "more Indian youth will be proud to be Indians and U.S. citizens.''

Copies of the report are available for $12 each from the Center for Demographic Policy, 1001 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 310, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Vol. 10, Issue 13

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