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VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1974
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 1974
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
GENERAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION OF THE
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR,
The subcommittee met at 4: 45 p.m., pursuant to notice in room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., the Honorable Carl D. Perkins (chairman) presiding.
Present: Representatives Perkins and Quie.
Staff Present: Jack Jennings, counsel; Eydie Gaskins, special assistant: Charles W. Radcliffe, minority counsel.
Chairman PERKINS. The General Subcommittee on Education is resuming hearings today in Washington on H.R. 14454, a bill to extend the Vocational Education Act of 1963 through fiscal year 1980.
The subcommittee has already conducted three very fruitful days. of field hearings in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and is planning further field trips later in the year. We also had a hearing here in Washington on May 6, when we received testimony from a number of youth organizations.
It is my hope that after extensive hearings this year, the subcommittee will report a bill early next year to renew and improve the Vocational Education Act of 1963. I am looking forward to our testimony today, and to the rest of our testimony in these hearings, for ideas and suggestions on how to improve the act of 1963 and the amendments of 1968.
It is also my hope that from our hearings this year we will be able to generate sufficient support in the Congress to double the Federal appropriations for vocational education within the next several years.
I believe that this is a realistic goal, and one that we must attain if we are to provide our youth with employable skills and meaningful lives.
Our witnesses today are from the American Vocational Association. That organization has, for decades, been in the forefront of the efforts to improve vocational education in our country.
I am, therefore, looking forward with a great deal of interest to its testimony. Dr. Burkett, I notice you have a panel of witnesses with you. Will you proceed in any manner you prefer.
And, without objection, all the prepared statements will be inserted. in the record at this point.
[The documents referred to follow :]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. LOWELL A. BURKETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN VOCATIONAL ASSOCIATION
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of the 53,000 members of the American Vocational Association we thank you and the members of Congress for your interest in and support of vocational education.
Since 1917, Congress has recognized the importance of federal legislation to establish priorities for education and training. In 1963, legislation was enacted that set the stage for great renovations in vocational education and refinements made in the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 are indicative of the foresight of members of this committee and the Congress. Mr. Chairman, it is encouraging to note your support for vocational education and the progress you have made in providing relevant vocational education programs to the people of this Nation.
As we appear before this committee in oversight hearings for vocational education, we realize the validity of the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968. They have stimulated great advances for vocational education and should be continued with increased funding.
We know; however, that more than a decade ago a point of view developed that, at periodic intervals, the national program of vocational education should be studied with the objective to adjust federal legislation for vocational education according to social, economic and technological needs. The Vocational Education Act of 1963 determined (as recommended by the Panel of Consultants on Vocational Education) that the interval should be five years. Accordingly, in 1966, the President appointed an Advisory Council to make a study of vocational educaton, and required that the Council make its report not later than January 1, 1968. This report was made on schedule and subsequently the Congress designed and passed the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968. No legislative procedure now exists for periodic reviews of vocational education and seven years have passed since the last major study of the legislative needs of vocational education.
Early in 1974 a group of State Directors of Vocational Education joined with the American Vocational Association to conduct a study of vocational education to provide a base of information for Congress to use in connection with proposed oversight hearings on vocational education. In addition, we sought to determine if changes in federal legislation would be needed to enable vocational education to serve more effectively all people as they prepare for. an advance in their employment. It is a credit to the foresight of this committee that the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 remain effective. We do: however, feel that vocational education must assume a greater role in serving all people with education and training programs and it is this expanded role that any refinements in federal legislation should address.
There have been great advances in vocational education in recent years. Currently the enrollment exceeds 12 million people including youth, young adults and mature productive Americans receiving training to develop or improve their employment skills. The vocational education enrollments shown below indicate that vocational education is for all age groups and serves adults as well as secondary students.
1 Summary Data Vocational Education, Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C.
The dramatic impact that vocational education has had upon the United States population is shown by the substantial increases in enrollement per 1,000 total population.
1 Summary Data-Vocational Education, Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C.
In addition to growth, the statistics show that vocational education programs are enrolling more people from target groups.
According to the U.S. Office of Education, 13.3% (1,601,634) of the students enrolled in vocational education in FY 73 were disadvantaged and 1.9% (228,086) were handicapped.
Total enrollment in vocational education has increased at approximately 9% per year. This has been a sound, healthy growth with federal funding increasing at a corresponding rate.
The chart below illustrates the growth in vocational education since 1960. It is interesting to note that should the present rate of growth continue, vocational education will enroll more than 21 million students in FY 80.
1 Summary Data-Vocational Education, Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C.
The President's Panel of Consultants on Vocational Education in 1961-62, came to the conclusion that vocational education should serve 8,000,000 students. Five years later, in 1968, the President's Advisory Council on Vocational Education studied vocational education. Between these two studies the Nation experienced major social distress. Consequently, the Advisory Council reported its findings to the Congress with full knowledge of the contribution vocational education could make toward social and economic stability. Of particular concern were persons who had fallen through the cracks in the social, economic and educational structure.
To serve disadvantaged and handicapped students in particular, and more students in general, and to provide specialized services to some, the Advisory Council recommended that vocational education serve 10,950,000 students.
In effect, when Congress passed the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968, they gave the education community a mandate to place emphasis upon vocational education as a preventive measure for many of the social, educational and economic problems of the Nation. Unfortunately, neither the funding authorization, nor the appropriations, are presently large enough to enable vocational education to carry out its Congressional mandate.
We know that federal funding for vocational education has a magic that causes state and local expenditures to be increased at a greater rate than increases in federal funds. The effects of the 1963 Act and the 1968 Amendments show this clearly. Nationally, $1.00 of federal money for vocational education causes $5.00 of state and local funds to be expended." This ratio varies among the states reaching high values, for example, of 1 to 11 in Massachusetts and 1 to 10 in Connecticut.
The concept of vocational education representing a matching "dollar for dollar” partnership between the states and the federal government has exceeded all expectations. The states have so overmatched the federal investment that federal funding would have had to exceed $2.2 billion in 1972 before matching would have been on an equal basis.
While we are aware of advances in vocational education and greater interest displayed by the population as a whole, the needs are still evident. Many jobs requiring skilled people are available while unemployment rates are unacceptable for unskilled individuals. Due to the nature of general education programs in this country, many students have left the secondary schools without marketable skills. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that young people age 18-19 have the highest unemployment rate of any group. In addition, the unemployment rate of young adults 20 to 24 years is unacceptable at 8.6%. (In some areas this is higher than others). We suspect there must be special factors that create exceptionally high unemployment rates among disadvantaged groups or in certain metropolitan areas. Due to the fact that 91% of the vocational program graduates are placed in a job, it may be advisable to charge vocational education with a more active role in alleviating these conditions than we have in the past. In recent years, federal, state and local governments have addressed the problem by making vocational education available to more people. In the U.S., there are 2,148 institutions that have a primary emphasis on vocational education for secondary students. There are, in addition, 1,756 technical institutes and community colleges with a substantial portion of their enrollment in vocational education. Most of these institutions enroll adults for supplementary and/or preparatory work as a part of their service to the community. Even with these institutions in operation, there are people who need and want vocational education that have not been enrolled. Enrollment figures show that 58 out of every 1,000 total population are enrolled in vocational education. This is remarkable progress; however, U.S. Department of Labor statistics show there are approximately 17 million people who are currently unemployed or underemployed. Perhaps more of this 17 million could benefit from job training programs in vocational education. Vocational education must serve more people and in more occupational areas to increase its social and economic contribution to the Nation. Changing concepts of vocational education and the way these programs are perceived by people, make it an opportune time for vocational education to assume a greater role in human resources development. Local and state governments are seeking direction and support from the federal-state partnership so they can impact on unemployment and the economic problems found in the community. Business, industry and labor are seeking the assistance of vocational education to solve their manpower needs. It is an economic fact that vocational education graduates are removed from welfare roles and strengthen the tax base of a government. For these reasons, vocational education is becoming more attractive to government, business and industry.
The attractiveness is also apparent because too many youngsters are dropping out or leaving high school. Twenty-five percent of the fifth grade school population in 1964 left school prior to graduating in 1972.3 These individuals are ill-prepared for the world of work. In addition to keeping these students in school with job training programs, we must seek those already out of school and provide adequate incentive for them to enroll in adult vocational education. The prime reason for adult education is to prepare people for employment or to supplement their education for economic or social improvement. We estimate that there is a need to expand our present enrollment by an additional 100.000 young adults in supplementary and preparatory programs in FY 76. By 1980, it is feasible to
2 Vocational Education, State by State Analysis, FY 72, Office of Education, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C.
3 Digest of Educational Statistics, 1973, Office of Education, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C.
expect program growth to exceed 200,000 over the present enrollment. In order to do this, complete programs and outreach services must be available to young unemployed or underemployed adults.
Accessibility to schools both in the rural and urban areas is of prime concern to AVA. As you know, Mr. Chairman, there is a waiting list for the area vocational schools in Asheville and Paintsville. When we talk of expanding the role of vocational education we must consider the distribution and accessibility of vocational education institutions for both commuter and residential students.
While the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 contained provisions for residential schools the potential of this type of institution has not been realized. There may be a need for residential facilities in rural states where local communities cannot support an institution. In addition, there are occupations that will not require large numbers of people and instructional programs in a few residential schools may serve the need. Also, there are many young people that may need a residential school designed to remove them from a detrimental environment and provide education for productive employment. Oklahoma State Technical Institute, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, has demonstrated what can be done with residential schools. Mr. Chairman, you may wish to inquire further into the need for residential vocational facilities. We would be happy to assist with ths inquiry.
Concepts to Strengthen The Role of Vocatonal Education
The Vocational Education Act of 1963 and its Amendments of 1968 have been effective legislation for social and economic change. As time passes; however, people profit from experience. In addition, we realize that the social and economic problems of the 70's and 80's may be different from those in the 1960's. For this reason we have attempted to analyze the concepts that might improve the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968. Mr. Chairman, the next part of my statement addresses these concepts with complete agreement as to the value of the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 and the hope that the role of vocational education may be expanded.
Comprehensive State and Local Planning.-The most important concept to strengthen vocational education at this time is that of comprehensive state and local planning.
The AVA recommends strongly that the previous "State Plan" (largely a compliance document and not a state plan for vocational education) be replaced by a state-wide planning document representing 4-6 years of forward planning that would be updated biennially. This type plan must take into account all provisions of vocational education legislation and the state must be accountable for progress based upon the state-wide plan.
Comprehensive planning is needed for vocational education to relate to the public school systems and to other public agencies and private institutions and industries within the community. Comprehensive state and local planning must be cognizant of and include all agencies impacting on the education and training of the individual. It should be an operational plan that yields a functional document to coordinate the efforts of all programs delivering vocationa education services with that of the job development agencies and those providing supportive services to students and programs.
The State Board for Vocational Education should have the primary responsibility for the preparation of comprehensive state-wide plans for vocational education and should be accountable for progress in relation to such plans.
There should be consultation with and involvement of other state boards, agencies, and councils (such as the State Advisory Council on Vocatoinal Education) in their planning activities. In addition to the involvement of formally constituted state boards and councils, the planning group should actively seek advice and suggestions from a variety of "other publics."
State plans must make provision for full utilization of postsecondary vocational education (training and retraining) to prepare persons for employment; and such plans must provide for supplementary vocational education for adults who have entered, or are re-entering, the labor market and need job training, employability skills or retraining to achieve job stability or to advance in employment, and provide preparatory instruction for adults who are entering the labor market for the first time.