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The roots of the problems are deep, and the efforts to meet it by helping those who are already its victims are proving only moderately effective, if that.
The Department of Labor, acting upon one of the recommendations in "One-Third of a Nation" instituted a program through which Employment Service counselors are stationed at 73 Armed Forces examination stations to interview those draftees rejected for educational deficiencies or for administrative reasons.
At the same time, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare program provides interviews for medical rejectees at the examination stations and refers them to cooperating agencies for treatment. This is an entirely voluntary program which is offered to most rejectees.
I am about to give you some statistics, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. Let me put them in their right context in advance. They may seem a little large. They are a story of substantial nonaccomplishment, as far as this program is concerned.
From February 1964 through July 31, 1966, 616,828 young men examined at the Armed Forces examination stations, were unable to meet the mental qualification (educational) standards.
Of these, 165,805 took advantage of the Labor Department offer, were interviewed about their career plans and were registered with the Employment Service. About a quarter took advantage of the opportunity which was offered to them.
Professional counselors were available and 22,917 of these young men were placed in employment; 4,830 were referred to MDTA training, 8,333 to other training programs, including Job Corps and Neighborhood Youth Corps; and 3,362 were referred to other types of assistance, such as welfare and mental hygiene.
This program still misses too many rejectees. Furthermore, some 140,000 young men were rejected last year at the local draft board level, and several thousand more rejected after they reported to their duty stations, are not even offered this help.
We have also been trying to deal with this problem in a variety of other ways. A series of major youth programs have been launched in the last few years; such as youth training under the Manpower Development and Training Act, the Job Corps and Neighborhood Youth Corps under the Economic Opportunity Act, and improved programs under the Vocational Education Act of 1963.
One experimental program now provides basic education training. and employment counseling for young men in Washington and Baltimore who volunteered for the Armed Forces but failed to pass the enlistment screening test.
As a direct result of this pioneer project, an overwhelming proportion of these rejected volunteers are now benefiting. Some have received jobs; others are now in school or in special intensive training programs. Fourteen percent have secured entrance into the Armed Forces.
There is plainly much more to be done to meet the problem this "rejectee" record reflects. I stop with it here only because it involves a much broader problem, and not central to the subcommittee's concern in today's hearing.
The "checkpoint" possibilities presented here have, nevertheless, a very substantial relevance to the ways and means of reaching the broader poverty and youth unemployment problems.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Now, Mr. Secretary, on that point, that you are only really covering about 39,000 who were actually placed, of the 616,828 registered.
Secretary WIRTZ. That is right of the 616,000 rejected for educational deficiencies.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. And that is, as I understand, through a voluntary system. Would you suggest that it be other than voluntary; that it be compulsory?
Secretary WIRTZ. Oh, whenever you suggest something now that is compulsory as far as youth in this country are concerned, the only reaction is one of horror, and objection, and protest.
I don't like it. As I suggest in a minute here, and this is an approach to the answer to your question. I know I don't like it when a boy has made something of his life, who has worked on his life, comes up to the draft board, and is taken in; and somebody else, whose life has been thrown away, either by himself or by somebody else, comes up to that point and does not perform military service because he hasn't educated himself or he hasn't kept himself in condition. I know, I don't like that, and I have suggested here that in one form or another, and really, this is a broad affirmative answer to your question, Mr. Chairman, it ought to be the situation that we take a responsibility for any boy of that kind, to put him in shape to the extent of curing a remedial defect. I really have no problem with a square, affirmative answer to your question; and that there ought to be an obligation on that individual boy and on the society with respect to curing any curable defect, so that he then goes on through.
Senator CLARK. Would you yield, Mr. Chairman?
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Just continuing on this pointthen I will yield-would you follow the suggestions which you recommended, I believe, in your Catholic University speech last year when you talked about youth opportunity boards? Do you see this as being an opportunity to utilize these boards; and if so, would you expand very briefly on that?
Secretary WIRTZ. All right, a personal position, as you know. And it is a broader position. I would find the right answers to all of these things in a much broader context, which includes various kinds of service possibilities, in addition to military service.
I appreciate the fact that we can't do that right now. That suggestion to which you refer, Mr. Chairman, was for the registration of all boys and girls at age 18, and it was a suggestion that there be alternatives, military service, work service, civilian service, educational or employment opportunities for all of them.
It was misinterpreted, and it is my fault. It was misinterpreted as a suggestion for a compulsory system. I would not require at that point, surely, in the life of this country, all 18- to 20-year-olds to go into service or employment or something of that kind.
I said there that I think it is something that we keep in mind. I don't recommend it, just in pragmatic, political terms, as far as being compulsory. I would, in tying the two together, have no difficulty
with requiring that a boy who comes up for draft service, and is found to have a remediable defect, be required, with the cooperation of the public, to remedy that defect. I would have no trouble at all. from it.
Senator JAVITS. Would the Senator yield?
Senator CLARK. Would the Senator yield?
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Senator Prouty.
Senator PROUTY. Mr. Secretary, Secretary Morris testified yesterday that he anticipates that there will be about 175,000 each year.
Senator CLARK. Each year? $616,000 for 2 years, plus, going up. Secretary WIRTZ. It is about a third of the group that is examined and depends on how much of them you call. But with a universe of a million and a half to two million, in each age group and if all were examined, it could be about that.
Senator PROUTY. Do you think, if the miltary had the time and manpower to do it, this training could be handled by them as well as by some of the civilian training programs?
Secretary WIRTZ. I support the project for 100,000 to the extent it has already been outlined. I would like to reserve a fuller answer on that until we see what happens with that particular one.
Senator PROUTY. Senator Javits and I yesterday tried to determine why we should stick to that arbitrary figure. Why could not it be 200,000, or 250,000?
Secretary WIRTZ. I think it may very well be that, but I think that is a decision that can well be made after we see what happens as far as the 100,000 are concerned.
Senator PROUTY. I might point out that the cost, according to Mr. Morris, was half or less than is required to maintain a boy in a Job Corps camp. I think it was $3,300 against $6,800, or whatever the Job Corps figure is. So we are doing it for less. It seems to me that the armed services have the facilities to carry out these programs to keep some of these boys in, rather than taking them out, and then let them voluntarily seek help or do nothing.
Senator JAVITS. Would the Senator yield?
Senator PROUTY. Yes.
Senator JAVITS. I would like to join with Senator Prouty as we did yesterday in this view, and I would like to ask you this, Mr. Secretary: There is one salient example of this technique in the world, and that is the Army of Israel, which has trained tens of thousands of people far more illiterate and disoriented than the ones we are talking about, coming from Arab lands, where they have been kept in the most abject ignorance, of even the elements of sanitation, and the army has been the leading training vehicle for them in Israel, and it seems to me, with that kind of an example available, we certainly ought to take your thoughts on this, with the greatest seriousness, and I hope very much that we can do something about it in the course of these hearings, as a very major improvement.
Now, morally and ethically, I could not agree with you more, that there should be no discrimination, and the boy should not be just thrown out, because the armed services just don't want to be bothered with them.
That is all it comes down to, and whereas, he should serve, and be trained, just as much as the boy who is literate and who has kept on the ball, and is able to qualify.
Secretary Wirtz. May I comment just a couple of responses to that point, Senator? I appreciate the Israel experience to point out that it is part of a national service program, which includes both the civilian as well as the military service, which does affect the point that we are talking about. It takes it a little out of the military context. It bothers some people, frankly, more than it does me, a concern that I respect. But let me say this: I have tried to make clear in this statement, and in the statistics that I have just given you that these are hard cases.
The testimony talks about taking them by the shoulder. There are some of them that would have to be taken by the scruff of the neck. And there is just no point in ducking the difficulties of this situation.
The reason for these statistics, Mr. Chairman, and I am not trying to avoid responsibility, is that they are thumbing their noses at us at these employment centers. We are doing as much, not all we can, and we are going to do more, but they don't want to come, a good many of them, into the employment service and some of them, because they don't want to get back into the armed services.
Senator JAVITS. Mr. Secretary, the thing that I am trying to pinpoint, and I think all of us are, and you are helping us enormously, is that in the mawkish liberal mind, there is the thought that this has got to be voluntary. There is a failure to distinguish between the involuntary service of the boy risking his life, and the involuntary service of a boy who is just going to get trained, up to the point where he should give the same kind of national evidence of responsibility.
Now, the mawkish liberal, somehow or other, slips off at that point. Training has got to be voluntary, because he has been rejected by the armed services. I see no such moral or policy distinction. You are helping us to pinpoint it, and that's what I was just trying to emphasize.
Secretary WIRTZ. I can't agree more.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Senator Clark.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Secretary, I am very much interested in this testimony, and Senator Javits' comments, with which I am in substantial accord.
I want to turn you back to the statement, that there are 616,828 registrants who could not meet the mental qualifications, and after that, you put in parentheses, "educational," and then you point out that about three-quarters of them either didn't want to or could not do anything about it.
I assume, in the course of that draft examination, that something in the nature of an aptitude test for IQ was given them, wasn't it? Secretary WIRTZ. That is right.
Senator CLARK. And I wonder if you would have any view, it would have to be an empirical view, I guess, as to what proportion of those three-quarters which is somewhere in excess of 430,000 of them, were
of such low mental capability that the chances of teaching them an employment skill in our somewhat more complex situation, was a complete failure?
In other words, are these the strong back and weak minds?
Secretary WIRTZ. No, I don't know the statistic, and it isn't available, but I know I have got an operating one in my mind, as everybody must have, and it is below 10 percent.
Senator CLARK. You mean, those who are not educatible are below 10 percent?
Secretary WIRTZ. That is correct, and that figure is not one anybody can rely on, but you have got to make a working assumption about the answer to your question in order to know what to do, and my answer is that some place below 10 percent, so low that the bulk of the problem is a very difficult one.
Senator CLARK. So that 90 percent of these kids can, with proper training, if they will respond-and that is a big question-can be trained in an employable skill so they won't spend the rest of their lives either in a mental institution or on relief?
Secretary WIRTZ. Senator, this is a group which has already gone through one screening. They have gone through the local draft board screening, those people that you are talking about, and have been screened out there.
Senator CLARK. So this 616,000 have all gotten by the local draft board?
Secretary WIRTZ. The country just does not realize the impact of this figure. It is a fantastic figure.
Senator CLARK. No, I didn't until this second.
Secretary WIRTZ. And if it did, it would not pass up this opportunity as a checkpoint for moving in on juvenile delinquency and unemployment, and all the other things involved. We just can't afford to pass it up, and very little of the answer to the question lies in the incapacity of the individual. It is a higher percentage, Senator Clark, if you take into account the effect of a generation or two of abuse as far as the motivation of the individual is concerned.
I understood your question to be in terms of the intelligence quotient.
Senator CLARK. That is right, not motivation.
Secretary WIRTZ. That is a very low percentage, but, again, we would have to recognize that there is a larger group on whom the scars are so great that we are not going to kid ourselves about the possibility of the complete rehabilitation.
Senator CLARK. Well, to perhaps reiterate the obvious, in your opinion, at least 90 percent of the 616,000 can be, with appropriate training, brought up to the point where they would be qualified for the armed services?
That approach, using my conversational statistic, is all right if you leave out the motivation point, and I suppose you can leave it out, as far as the military is concerned.
Senator CLARK. Well, I don't think in that matter you can leave it out, but at least you are dealing with raw material, and here I agree with Senator Javits, which ought to have a god deal of pressure put on it, to acquire sufficient motivation, sufficient training, to move into