Labor Secretary Calls for More Job Training

THE members of the Clinton Cabinet keep dropping hints about what will be in the president's economic stimulus package.

Speaking Wednesday at North Carolina State University's Emerging Issues Forum, Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggested the new administration will focus on job training programs for non-college-graduates. He singled out the type of apprenticeship programs found in countries such as Germany.

Mr. Reich, however, did not say the administration intended to duplicate the German system. "I don't even know if the German system would work here," he stated, but then described that system in detail to about 1,200 business and political leaders.

"German businesses work with the high schools and they give students particular training, which is related to jobs that are guaranteed if the students get a certificate that shows they completed the program," Reich explained.

Reich seemed to indicate that most new programs would be geared toward the underemployed. "We cannot any longer afford to not invest in the non-college-graduate," said Reich, who blamed both the public and private sectors.

American companies invest $30 billion in training. But two-thirds of this money goes toward training college graduates, the labor secretary said.

The government provides retraining programs. Yet Reich was noncommittal about continuing these. In a press conference before his speech he said it was cruel to train workers for jobs that do not exist.

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