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The Labor Department in The Carter Administration:
A Summary Report — January 14, 1981

By Ray Marshall

Employment and Training Administration (ETA)

During the Carter Administration, spending for Department of Labor jobs and training programs totaled about $34 billion, more than a two and a half fold increase over the amount of funds spent for employment and training activities during the period 1973-1976. Each year during President Carter's term in office about 4 million economically disadvantaged persons received training and job opportunities under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act alone.

Particularly impressive were the gains in employment opportunities and services by the most disadvantaged groups in our society — over 90 percent of the persons receiving employment opportunities and services in 1980 were economically disadvantaged, as compared with 63 percent of the participants in employment and training programs during 1976.

Numbers alone, however, do not adequately reflect the Administration's accomplishments in the employment and training area. The Carter Administration initiated and was successful in getting enacted major new programs designed to fill previously missing gaps in meeting the needs of the Nation's unemployed workers.

The Economic Stimulus Appropriations Act of 1977, which was signed by the President on May 13, 1977, made available $20.1 billion in new obligational authority. Nearly half that was for employment programs. Public Service Employment programs, authorized by Titles II and VI of CETA, received the largest share of the economic stimulus funds, resulting in a doubling of the size of the public service employment program — from 310,000 to 600,000 jobs by the end of Fiscal Year 1977, and to 725,000 jobs for Fiscal Year 1978.

In addition to the expansion of the Public Service Jobs Program, the major employment and training components of the program were:

An expansion of training and youth programs under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, including the Jobs Corps, in order to meet the needs of young, unemployed, underemployed or low income persons between the ages 16 and 21. This eventually resulted in the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act legislation.

New Initiatives for Migrant Workers to develop and test new approaches to meeting the employment related needs of the rural labor force;

New Initiatives for Indians directed at the chronic economic and employment related problems of Indians and other Native Americans;

On the job training programs for veterans through the HIRE (Hope through Industry Retraining and Employment) program.

Establishment of Veterans Outreach Units, staffed in large part by disabled veterans, to identify and assist other disabled veterans.

Upgraded Skill Training Programs to upgrade the level and quality of skill training available under employment and training programs, and to provide experienced but permanently displaced workers with new skills;

New Initiatives to expand apprenticeship programs throughout the country. 

The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Amendments of 1978 culminated the Carter Administration effort to extend and revise legislation authorizing federally funded employment and training programs.

The reauthorization continued the decentralized program, designed to be responsive to the diversity of local needs.

Program initiatives and services included a new Title VII emphasizing private sector participation in employment and training programs, and new special programs and services for segments of the labor force facing particular disadvantages in the labor market, such as displaced homemakers and middle aged and older workers experiencing severe problems in obtaining employment.

The new Title VII was designed to increase prime sponsor participation in the Department's employment and training program, and intensive assistance efforts to train the disadvantaged people filled a missing gap by providing to private industrial firms in their structurally unemployed and other

The Title VII Private Sector objectives were to increase private sector employment and training opportunities for CETA participants; to establish Private Industry Councils to plan training and placement activities directed toward private sector employers; and to provide a vehicle for redirecting CETA's emphasis toward finding private sector jobs for the unemployed.

One of the major accomplishments of the Carter Administration in the employment policy area was the formulation, in cooperation with the Congress, and the enactment and implementation of the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects  Act of 1977 (YEDPA), the most carefully designed attack on the unemployment problems of a single targeted group ever mounted.

The two major new operational programs — Youth Community Conservation and Improvement Projects (YCCIP), and Youth Employment and Training Programs (YETP) — stressed the role of neighborhood and community based organizations, and encouraged the involvement of local labor organizations. The Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects (YIEPP) was the cornerstone of comprehensive and systematic experimentation to test a variety of innovative approaches to youth employment and training. The Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) was administered under an agreement between the Department of Labor, Agriculture and Interior, and provided disadvantaged youths with work in needed conservation projects on Federal, State and local public lands and waters.

During Fiscal Year 1979, over 450,000 youths were enrolled in YETP and YCCIP programs; over 325,000 youths were terminated from the program, and approximately three quarters of those terminations were favorable, i.e., the enrollee entered unsubsidized employment or returned to school.

Another key step to stimulate increased employment opportunities in the private sector was the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (TJTC), allowing employers to claim a tax credit in each of the initial two years of employment for hiring workers from specified target groups.

From its inception in January 1979 through September 1980, the TJTC program issued just under 617,000 vouchers (determinations of eligibility) to qualified workers and over 305,000 certifications.

In the area of veterans employment programs, a broad variety of programs were implemented to fullest range of job opportunities for veterans.

On October 17, 1980, President Carter signed the Veterans' Rehabilitation and Education Amendments of 1980 into law, upgrading the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans Employment to that of Assistant Secretary, and providing a simplified, standardized set of definitions for groups of veterans in need of services. The Act also established the Disabled Veterans outreach Program (DVOP).

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