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We would like very much to be placed on your mailing list to receive six copies of the hearings when they come from press. Sincerely yours,
M. D. MOBLEY, Executive Secretary.
STATEMENT FROM THE AMERICAN VOCATIONAL ASSOCIATION, INC.
Mr. Chairman and members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, the American Vocational Association, representing approximately 30,000 vocational and practical arts educators in the United States, is on record favoring the passage of legislation to extend veteran educational benefits to those who served in the Armed Forces since January 31, 1955. This action was taken at a business meeting of the house of delegates at an annual convention of the association. In support of this position I am happy to submit in behalf of the association, the statements which follow. These statements are from those who have administered and who have benefited from educational programs conducted under previous acts providing educational benefits for veterans.
We would appreciate it very much if you would insert this letter and the statements in the hearing. Sincerely yours,
M. D. MOBLEY, Executive Secretary.
STATEMENT BY DR. KENNETH E. CARL, DIRECTOR OF THE WILLIAMSPORT TECHNICAL
INSTITUTE, A DIVISION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF WILLIAMSPORT, PA.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is indeed a pleasure to submit the following statement on behalf of the American Vocational Association and the American Technical Education Association. My professional responsibilities at the Williamsport Technical Institute are concerned with the administration of an extensive program of vocational-technical education of less than college grade. Many veterans have been enrolled in my school since the incep tion of the veterans' educational benefits program. The organization which I represent strongly urges the enactment of legislation to extend educational benefits to veterans serving during peacetime.
The Williamsport Technical Institute has developed from a small vocational department in the Williamsport High School, established in 1920, into a separate school which still handles the vocational high school students and in addition has a full-time enrollment of 941 adults.
Since 1920, when we had a small program of training for the veterans of World War I, we have trained (and in many cases retrained) thousands of men and women for business and industry in skilled occupations where critical shortages exist. During the 1930's we participated in educational training pro grams with the WPA, NYA, and CCC in training and retraining of the unemployed. Relief clients were sent to us from many areas in Pennsylvania for this training and we found that even in the depression there were jobs in the midst of high unemployment, and we still believe this to be true.
Many of our courses came into being during World War II when we worked around the clock training for the Army Signal Corps, the Navy, and the war industries that were desperately short of semiskilled, skilled and technical per sonnel in the mechanical and electronic fields.
All through these years we have been very much interested in the training and retraining of the physically-handicapped adults. Here we are probably the largest facility for such training in the United States. Many States regularly send their handicapped and blind students to us for this training when they are unable to find suitable training facilities in their own States.
We enrolled disabled veterans of World War II before Congress passed the GI bill in 1946. Naturally when this bill was passed we saw quite an influx of veteran students, both disabled and nondisabled.
We presently are offering courses in the following fields: aviation mechanics, automotive, diesel, heavy construction equipment, carpentry and building construction, wood and metal patternmaking, electrical construction, industrial electronics, radio and television, welding, sheet metal, machine shop, toolmaking, plumbing, masonry, business, distributive education, agriculture, architectural drafting, mechanical drafting, structural drafting, tool and die design, office appliance repair, industrial power sewing, sign painting, neon sign fabrication, letterpress printing and offset-lithography. Some of these courses are on a craftsman basis and others prepare for higher technical occupations. Much of this equipment has been secured from Government surplus, for which we will be eternally grateful.
We maintain close relationships with business and industry. We always have, because we are not merely training our students—we are training them for existing jobs; we are not merely giving courses—we are giving courses designed for the needs of today's industries and they are continually being modified as the requirements of industry change.
While our adult courses are on a posthigh school level, they do not lead to a college degree, nor do they carry any college transfer credit at the present time. They do, however, lead to jobs.
Our present adult full-time (30 hours per week) enrollment is as follows: Public Law 550 veterans Public Law 610 veterans.
30 Public Law 634 veterans.
8 Physically handicapped civilians..
234 Recent high school graduates and others.
402 Foreign students--
929 Since the beginning of the World War II GI bill, we have enrolled 6,681 veterans of all types. Of this number, 1,138 have had service-connected disabilities, including the totally blind.
We are proud of the veteran students we have had and now have enrolled. Most of them have proven to be excellent students. While we have not kept accurate records of the placement of all of our veterans, I can say that since January 1, 1957, we have graduated 735 veterans and all, to the best of our knowledge, have been placed or secured jobs on their own, in the occupation for which they were trained in or in an occupation related to their training.
To the best of our knowledge, every disabled veteran whom we have trained in our school has been placed in a position in the occupation for which he was trained or in a related occupation. This statement includes the totally blind veterans we trained in production machine operation. This statement may easily be checked by contacting the Veterans' Administration office in WilkesBarre, Pa., through which office all veterans enrolled in our school are processed.
The veterans we have had have applied themselves diligently to their studies. They have not been coming to school to collect checks from the Government. The Public Law 550 veterans feel that their educational allotment which is paid to them after they start to school is “their” money to pay their school costs and room and board. Since this money is usually insufficient to pay all costs and it costs them an additional sum of money beyond this allotment, they feel that they must "take home" some learning each day. In some cases, if the school did not live up to their expectations, they transferred to another school that did. The Korean Public Law 550 bill was an improvement over the World War Public Law 346 bill in this respect.
In our local State employment office there were in March 1959, 4,200 people registered as unemployed. Of these, 1,902 were veterans, most of whom had no veteran educational entitlement, inasmuch as they served in the Armed Forces after January 31, 1955. In the State of Pennsylvania as of January 31, 1959, there were 446,754 unemployed people. Of this number, 128,115 were unemployed veterans. We do not know what percentage of these veterans have no educational entitlement under the GI bill, but we may safely assume that a very large number of them lack the skills which are the passports to jobs in modern industry. Moreover, unless they soon receive the training necessary toward acquiring these skills, it will be too late, because as time goes on they will take on obligations of marriage and family, which will make it virtually impossible for them to gain the education they need to obtain worthwhile employment, and thus raise their economic level above that of the unskilled laborer, for which we are seeing a marked declining need in the employment picture.
I should like to mention a survey I completed in June 1959 for the Pennsyl. vania Department of Labor and Industry. I found that in Pennsylvania, with one-tenth of the unemployment of the United States in January 1959, we had jobs available. Through a survey of the 14 major labor market areas of Pennsylvania I compiled a list of 228 occupations for which there were jobs open, and 197 of these occupations were seeking people with less than college training but with very definite skills. All of these occupations were listed with the Penn sylvania State Employment Service. Jobs are going begging in the midst of sertous unemployment. But, I emphasize they are skilled jobs—jobs for which prior training or experience is a "must."
The answer surely is in training our unskilled, and perhaps equally, in retraining those among our unemployed whose skills have become less important to our economy due to the swift changes that are taking place in our industries as a result of technological advancements and automation.
Permit me to turn to the economic aspects of the situation. I speak only of Pennsylvania. From 1950 to 1958, a matter of 8 years, the taxpayers of this State paid almost one and a third billion dollars in unemployment compensation. During these same years a further $870 million was paid in direct relief by the department of public assistance. I could not attempt to calculate the loss to the State and the Nation by this state of affairs. An unemployed citizen pays few taxes. He takes from the pot rather than contributing to it. The skill of the worker is in a very real sense a brick in the foundation upon which the prosperity of our Nation is built.
We are greatly concerned about our unemployment problem in Pennsylvania. We know the occupations we need to train for; we have surveyed the unemployed people and find that 65 percent of them are interested in learning a new occupation or further updating in their skills. We inventoried our educational facilities and the numbers that can be accommodated but we simply do not seem to be able to find the money that we need to do the job. We are hoping for some assistance from the national Congress in this problem.
I believe that unless we educate our youth to their capacity, continually upgrade the skills of our present workers, and retrain those persons whose skills have become obsolete in our scientific and technical society, we will continually be faced with an ever-increasing expenditure for public welfare.
We today are quite concerned with the numbers of our superior students that have been found are not continuing their education beyond the high school. Minnesota found, for example, of the 3,368 seniors in the class of 1950 whose test scores placed them in the top 15 percent of their class, more than 1,000 did not attend college.
This Nation cannot afford the loss of many of our best minds by not carrying through with their training and education beyond the high school. We need them in our skilled occupations and in our technical fields. The extension of the veterans' entitlements which you are considering is one method by which this country can educate further those who served their country, whether in war or peace. Not every veteran wants or needs an educational entitlement, but there are those who do want it and do need it.
We hear comments by some people that Federal aid will lead to Federal control of our schools. I have never heard such a comment concerning any veterans' education benefits.
In conclusion, the extension of the veterans' educational entitlement which you are considering will make it possible for thousands of young men and women to obtain further education and training. This Nation cannot afford not to give these young people who have served their country well the opportunity to secure the education which will assure their entry into the economic life and prosperity of their country.
STATEMENT BY RAY C. PERROW, PRESIDENT, Young FARMERS OF VIRGINIA, ROUTE 3,
LYNCHBURG, VA. Mr. Chairman and members of committee, my name is Ray C. Perrow. I am a farmer in the Concord community near Lynchburg, Va., and a former president of the Young Farmers Virginia, an organization of young farmers enrolled in vocational agriculture classes in the high schools.
I am a veteran of World War II and, as one of some 20,000 Virginia veterans who received institutional on-farm training offered veterans of service in the Armed Forces during the past 12 years, I am happy to relate my experiences as a Young Farmer and to tell you how this type of training has benefited me. I am sure my story is no different from that of thousands of young farmers throughout our State and the Nation.
Unlike most young farmers, I was born and spent my early years in the city. Although my family moved to the country when I was a young man, my father did very little farming. He is a carpenter and is still engaged in this type of work. Upon completing high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After 3 years in the Armed Forces, I returned to the farm. With my limited farm experience, but with a desire to live and work on a farm, I realized I would need training in this field. I enrolled in the institutional on-farm training program for veterans at my local high school. While in this program, I determined more than ever to make farming my life's work. I also found out how much one has to learn to be successful in the business of farming.
With the instruction received in this program and with the advice and guidance of my teacher of vocational agriculture, I have been able to establish a grade A dairy farm. In 1952 I purchased a one-half interest in the home farm and in 1958 the other half. I now own 153 acres, and have a 36-cow herd. Ours is solely a family farm operation. I have continued to keep up to date in farming methods and latest improved practices by attending Young Farmer classes regularly. Menibers of these classes are affiliated with the Young Farmers of Virginia, of which I served as president last year. Although this organization has no direct relationship to on-farm training for veterans, it is an outgrowth and one result of that program. A majority of our Young Farmer class members are veterans who received on-farm training under either Public Law 346 or 550. Without the training and benefits received from the veterans farm training program, I could not be farming today. I can name many others in this same category.
I would like to give you a summary of accomplishments of veterans enrolled in institutional on-farm training in Virginia during 1953–54. Enrollment for this period was 1,469, which was many times smaller than the peak enrollment of 8,418 for 1949–50. I use figures for 1953–54 because during that year about half of the enrollment was made up of veterans training under Public Law 550 and the remainder under other GI training provisions.
Significant accomplishments of the 1,469 veterans in on-farm training classes in Virginia in 1953-54 are: Number who were farmowners.
614 Number breeding animals purchased (dairy, beef, swine)
11, 080 Number items made in school farm shop--
11, 952 Number farm soil conservation plans developed.
638 Number home orchards established.
529 Number acres of pasture developed..
7, 785 Number tractors purchased.--.
553 Number other farm machines purchased..
3, 284 Number acres of forestry improved.
1, 796 Number new homes constructed.
200 Number homes in which running water was installed--
403 Of course, some of the above would have been done if no training had been available; however, I know from experience that a major portion of these accomplishments was a direct result of instruction and assistance made possible by our veterans' training program.
If training for veterans was important 12 years ago, it is even more important at the present time. Changes in the business of farming are taking place more rapidly than at any time in the history of our Nation. When a young man was called to serve in the Armed Forces 15 years ago, even if he served 4 years, farm practices and methods were changed very little while he was away from the farm. Now when a young man is called to serve his country, he will not even recognize many of the practices being conducted when he returns. It is no longer true that a farmer must know only how to perform a certain practice-he must also know why. In other words, science as well as mechanization has completely changed the farming picture. We hear much about the increased population that this country faces. We also hear that the need for young men in farming is decreasing. This may be true, but it is only part of the story. With increased mechanization and fewer but larger farms, the need for increased education and training opportunities for these young men who remain on the farm is greater than ever before. We in Virginia and throughout this Nation are not beginning to train the number of farm operator replacements needed.
We are losing the “cream of the crop” in agriculture and will eventually face an extreme shortage of young men on farms. Let me illustrate what I mean. A young man is called to serve 2 years in the Armed Forces. He has probably been out of high school 2, 3, or 4 years, where he has made a small start toward becoming established in farming. He has accumulated some assets in the farming business. When he goes into service he probably disposes of his livestock or whatever he may own as his share in a farming business. When he returns to the farm, adjustments have been made during his absence, the cost of starting to farm has advanced and new methods have been introduced. Rather than start all over again, he seeks employment elsewhere.
Let's take another case. A young man completes his high school training and would really like to become a farmer. He realizes that in a short while he will be drafted into the Armed Forces. Rather than spend that period trying to make a start in farming, he finds employment elsewhere and never returns to the farm. These examples illustrate how compulsory military service has reduced the number of outstanding young farmers continuing in the business of farming.
We must maintain and increase our productive capacity in agriculture not only for our increased population but for national defense. Many specialized types of farming are coming into existence which require highly skilled and trained farm operators. We realize that it is most difficult for older farmers to adjust to change. It is, therefore, necessary that we keep our young men on the farm. We feel that making available certain educational and training benefits will induce more of our young men to stay on the farm.
We realize that our country is not engaged in a military conflict and we hope it will never be. We understand that the purpose of the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944 and related legislation since that time was to aid veterans of the armed services in making the necessary adjustments to civilian life. It was not simply a means of remuneration for serving their country in time of war. If this was true in 1944 and again in 1952, it should still be true in 1960. The adjustments in farming are much more difficult today than in either of the previous periods.
In view of the invaluable contributions of the veterans' training program to young farmer veterans of service in World War II and the Korean conflict, and in view of the continuation of the draft, we urge the enactment of legislation that will continue the benefits of this training for veterans of service in the Armed Forces who entered the service since January 31, 1955.
STATEMENT BY JOHN FUSARO, JR., VETERAN OF WORLD WAR II, TRAINED UNDER
PUBLIC LAW 346 BY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, PA. Gentlemen, I should first like to express my appreciation for the opportunity of being able to submit a statement to this committee and contribute in any way I can to further the extension of veterans' benefits to those men entering the Armed Forces after January 31, 1955. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate the benefits of the Veterans' Readjustment Act is to become somewhat autobio graphical. I feel that I was pretty much the average serviceman, and in giving my history it should present a rather fair picture. After attending the Philadelphia public schools up to and including the second year of high school, I left to go to work. During these depression years it was difficult to find employment, and not possessing any particular skills, my first job was serving newspapers. I then worked as a delivery boy for a grocery chain, after which I became a busboy at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. For the 2 years immediately prior to my entry into the service I worked as a chauffeur. I cite these incidents of floundering around in the employment field primarily to demonstrate the importance of having a trade or vocation.
My 5 years in the Army were not particularly impressive. I served as technician fifth class in the field artillery with the exception of 10 months spent in the hospital due to a truck accident. The major portion of my military career was spent in the United States. During the final year I was stationed in the South Pacific.
Upon my separation from the service I was again faced with the problem so common to many other veterans. I had been married in 1943, and the question of a job was most vital. Here again my lack of specific training proved to be an almost insurmountable handicap. I finally obtained work in a machine shop as a shipper and stock boy-not a very promising future for a man 27 years of age. Now that the war was over, orders at the shop were few and I was faced with numerous layoffs. It was then that I decided to avail myself of the training offered under the GI bill.