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NEW STUDY EXAMINES STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EUROPEAN APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ADOPTION IN U.S. WOULD HAVE ON BLACK YOUTH

 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study of apprenticeship programs in Europe, prepared by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, states that if a similar program is to benefit black youth in the United States, it must include specific elements to ensure their success.
 "Congress would be well-advised to approve and fund President Clinton's proposal for a national apprenticeship program, but it must include provisions to ensure that minority students have an equal chance to secure desirable work placements," stated Joint Center President Eddie N. Williams.
 According to the summary of findings, released today, five provisions must be included in an American apprenticeship system if it is to succeed generally and guarantee that black students have a useful, rewarding experience: (1) business, government and labor must enter into a collaboration that includes serious and coordinated investments in the education and training of American youth; (2) vocational education as redefined under an apprenticeship system, must be highly valued and rewarded by society; (3) the new system must be accompanied by essential improvements in academic education at the pre-vocational levels; (4) the system must be implemented to include safeguards that prevent discriminatory tracking, testing and hiring practices; and (5) incentives must be in place to ensure participation by minority-owned businesses.
 The study, titled "Youth Apprenticeships: Implications for Black Youth," also notes that the current European system traps some students into low-level job tracks and recommends that components that contribute to this tendency be avoided when structuring an American system.
 Williams said, "While we recognize that apprenticeship programs can provide a better school-to-work transition for non-college bound students, such programs must take into account the current labor market and education problems of disadvantaged and minority youth."
 The findings are based on a study tour of European apprenticeship programs in Germany, Denmark and Sweden conducted Nov. 7-18, 1992, by two Joint Center staffers, Drs. Margaret Simms and Barbara McCloud, and a group of 10 black leaders from across the country. Their purpose was to examine the possibility of adapting these programs for use in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the impact that these new programs might have on the employability of black youth. European apprenticeship programs are regarded as effective models for replication in the United States because they have been in place for an extended period of time and have earned a reputation for teaching skills that enable students to obtain high-wage jobs in their areas of study.
 Simms, the Joint Center's director of research programs, said, "The time has come for a major overhaul of the American system of work force training, and the European programs provide a good model for reform, as long as the disparities and shortcomings outlined in the study are heeded by policymakers."
 The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a non- profit public policy research institution founded in 1970 that focuses on issues of particular importance for black Americans.
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 /NOTE: The study findings will be the topic of a day-long conference sponsored by the Joint Center and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on Tuesday, March 16, from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Conference Center, 2400 N St. N.W., Washington. A press briefing will be held in the General Session room from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Williams, Simms and several tour participants will discuss the findings at the briefing.
 A luncheon featuring U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich as the speaker will immediately follow the press briefing./
 /CONTACT: Maria Archibald of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 202-789-6364/


CO: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

DC-IH -- DC022 -- 5688 03/12/93 17:40 EST
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