« PreviousContinue »
By so doing we will have paid a tribute to Dr. King and built for him a living memorial for justice and freedom in the United States.
I would like to ask everyone in the room to observe a few seconds of silence in memory of Dr. King.
(Moment of silence was observed.)
Mr. Esser. Senator Clark, I think on behalf of NACD and on behalf of myself, personally, I feel that your statement is a very fine tribute to a great American and that the action that you propose in his honor is the type of action that we need in this country to make the ideals that he set forth actual reality for all Americans.
Senator CLARK. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Esser. I believe the legislation which you have introduced goes a long way toward meeting the needs of not only all Americans but particularly the Americans for whom Dr. King was most concerned. These types of opportunity for individuals and their families are most essential at this time.
In looking at this legislation we are aware that there are several ideas before the subcommittee, all of them good.
We endorse the scope of the legislation, the purpose and objectives of the legislation, the involvement of industry because only industry can best define the jobs in the private sector and can best handle the training in the private sector.
We endorse the fact that the legislation aims at both urban and rural areas.
We believe it is important that the capacity for manpower administration that has been built up in many communities through the community action programs be utilized.
We believe that the concept of developing more jobs in the public sector is important not only for those who cannot qualify for jobs in the private sector but in improving the services in the public sector.
We recognize there will be many problems in implementing legislation of this scope. We recognize the necessity for better coordination of the affected Federal agencies, better communication to the local areas and we believe it is very important in the local community that all of these programs continue to involve to the maximum extent possible the participation, the planning, the implementation by representatives of the poor themselves.
We have a statement which is being placed in the record and I would be very happy to try to answer any questions which you might have.
Senator Clark. Thank you, Mr. Esser.
If you will turn to your prepared statement, the first full paragraph, you say that you believe that the effort to deal with our manpower problems must eventually result in regional schemes, in some parts of the country. You say that these schemes should be capable of coordinating rural and urban job creation, training, placement, and supportive services. I agree with you. I wonder if you have any positive thinking as to how we can do that.
As we dealt in this subcommittee with the poverty program, we have come to realize that despite the stress which is given to poverty in our larger cities and smaller cities, an enormous amount of poverty in America is rural poverty. How can we assure that the rural and the urban efforts are properly coordinated in the face of our incredibly complicated framework of local, State, and National Governments, and our city councils, borough councils, State legislatures, Congress, the various bureaucratic hierarchies? I don't use the word "bureaucracies” in the invidious sense at all. This diffuse funding bothers me more than anything else because it is so complicated.
Can you contribute toward dissolving somewhat my pessimism?
Mr. Ésser. I am sure I share the sense of frustration you have been expressing. I do think we have had some experience which is helpful.
Of course, obviously, the first objective that people in rural areas want is jobs and in my State, which is passing from agriculture to industry, where industry is in the Piedmont section we have the jobs, and where agriculture was we have a great surplus of people.
The first objective always seems to be to encourage industry to come into the rural area. While this can be successful to some extent, it is my belief that it will never be completely successful because industry tends to go where economic advantages are and where other industry and services are located.
Senator CLARK. Also, does it not tend to go where there is a skilled labor force?
Mr. Esser. That is correct.
The rural areas are also the areas with the fewest resources for public education. We do not have the facilities, technical or general, for producing skills in those areas, such as Appalachia.
We have to provide the resources to improve education in rural areas in my part of the country, not only in Appalachia but in the Southeast and in plantation country.
Senator CLARK. Would you put a good deal of emphasis on technical and vocational education?
Mr. Esser. I think that technical and vocational education is an essential part of good education. There must be additional technical and vocational institutions for those who are beyond the ages of public school.
It is quite obvious that we need tremendous resources that do not now exist in these areas.
Senator CLARK. I do not know where those resources can come from except from the Federal Government.
Mr. ESSER. I agree with you, sir.
Serondly, I think we can do a much better job of learning where job opportunities are in the urban areas. This applies not only to the larger urban areas but also to the smaller urban areas which are closer to the rural areas.
It has been our experience that we do not have a good exchange of information between the rural area and the nearby urban areas as to what jobs are available, what skills are required.
Wo established in North Carolina with the assistance of the Office of Economic Opportunity last year a nonprofit manpower development corporation which is experimenting with how the computer might be used with the new testing devices for quickly identifying both the job opportunities that are available and the people in the State away from the locus of the job who have potential for training and for filling the jobs.
Senator Clark. The largest single group of the hard-core unemployed in your State would be the rural Negro, would it not?
Mr. Esser. That is correct.
Senator CLARK. I take it, without being invidious, I think that North Carolina has done extremely well as a whole, but the level of educational opportunity for the rural Negro does not result in turning out very skilled young men or women.
Nr. Esser. It is difficult to take a young man or young women who has all of the desire in the world but has had a poor education which may range from 2 to 8 years and then not a very good quality of education and expect him to go into an industrial firm.
We have experimented with this again, with mobility schemes of identifying people in eastern North Carolina who are unemployed and of matching them with jobs in the Piedmont.
Senator CLARK. What do you see is the role of the State in this problem of coordinating rural and urban job opportunities for skilled training?
Mr. Esser. I think one of the roles which the State must play is this role of information. Second is the role of emphasis on education and helping to develop in the rural areas education for skills that are marketable where jobs are located.
The third is to try to develop types of economic enterprises in the rural areas that make sense for the type of labor force that is in the rural areas.
While this may be only a transitional measure, we have not begun to use up the ideas for the use of low-skilled labor for relatively simple type tasks such as packaging, the production of simple items that we find in our own industry are often in demand that can use low-skill labor but for which we need capital and management to develop.
Senator CLARK. Let's hope that will come to pass.
In your statement you say industry has the responsibility and is best qualified to provide on-the-job skilled training to enable the individuals to fill these jobs.
I would view with something less than complete agreement that statement.
One of our witnesses the other day, Mr. Riessman, challenged this conclusion and pointed to the high dropout rate in industry where onthe-job training has been offered.
He made the comment that industry had never been tooled up to attempt to retain an individual to whom they gave a job, or to create any motivation. He felt that there was great effort needed to persuade industry to look at on-the-job training in terms of the qualifications and problems of the hard-core unemployed in light of the type of job that industry had available.
In short, he took a rather dim view of the potential of industry in this area and felt that public service employment, including nonprofit, civic organizations such as hospitals and the like was a much more fruitful area.
As you know, the emergency employment bill allorates the poten. tial jobs equally between private industry and the public sector. I wonder if you would elaborate on your view, which is somew luat eu! trary to that of Mr. Riessman, that our best hope is in private industry,
Mr. Esser. I would agree with Dr. Riessman on the need for public sector jobs. The largest number of existing jobs is in industry, and where industry is willing to call on or does call on the supportive services that are available in a community to help provide additional motivation, education, adaptation to the community, that certainly in the smaller cities of the South, and in my part of the South we have been successful in reducing the turnover rate.
I would not for a moment question the difficulty of this. You simply cannot take a man from a rural area, bring him into a city, place him in an industry, no matter how much he wants a job and expect him easily to adapt to the job or for the supervisor in industry to easily understand the employee.
But, with supportive services arranged between industry and public or private agencies in the community, I believe we can reduce this turnover substantially.
Senator CLARK. You would put a lot of emphasis on supportive services which generally you cannot expect private industry to create?
Mr. Esser. That is correct.
Senator CLARK. Perhaps if we turn to the subsidy of private industry it ought to be expanded so that support for such services would be reimbursable.
Mr. Esser. That is correct, with the situation of either direct grants to the supportive service organization or with industry.
I heard industrialists talking the other day proposing the idea of industry contracting with private or public agencies for the supportive services.
Senator (CLARK. And being reimbursed for them.
Senator CLARK. There is another aspect of this where I got into a discussion with Dr. Riessman. He is much more of an optimist in this area than I am.
He felt the greatest emphasis should be placed in terms of creating motivation for the hard-core unemployed in either public service or private industry, with the lure being held out that it would be a new career. He could march on up the ladder to higher and higher compensation and job content along with other rewards of success.
I have been very much concerned about the garbage strikes in a number of cities lately. It seems to me that we are always going to have to have people to collect garbage. To be sure automation has made the collection of garbage a lot simpler than it was and it has cut down on man-hours.
Nevertheless, garbage collection seems to me to be an example of a real nasty job which does not have much career opportunity to it.
Yet, it is one where you have to create at least minimum standards of pay and work conditions to the extent that there can be sanitary, decent working conditions.
Are there not a wide variety of very menial jobs which somebody is always going to have to do and where many among the hard-core unemployed will find themselves?
Or, is this too pessimistic a point of view ?
Mr. Esser. It is quite true that we have many tasks in this country which are not pleasant tasks and where it is difficult to build a career ladder.
On the other hand, if we apply some thought and ingenuity to tasks within the same community, I think we can being to develop some ladders for those who show the intelligence and the motivation to find other opportunities.
I think this is going to require some rather great changes in public personnel administration.
Senator CLARK. In other words, it is better, is it not, to try to create adequate pay standards and working hours for the hard-core unemployed at a menial task than to leave them in the slum on relief and not motivated to take any job at all!
It would be pretty hard for me to see how you could motivate a high school dropout to join the garbage collection force of a city.
Would you react to that in one way or another?
Mr. Esser. If those tasks provide adequate compensation and I think we must reconsider compensation for tasks of this type, we must reconsider the fringe benefits, we must reconsider the investments we make as citizens in tasks that we demand, and that people who do difficult and unpleasant jobs must be compensated for them, not solely according to what skill they bring to it but also in recognition that men accomplishing these tasks must raise families, provide homes, and lead a satisfying life in this country.
I think we have to reconsider not only sanitation workers but many other jobs.
Senator Clark. Another very important one is the city policeman. Maybe Mayor Walsh will cover this subject when he comes up to testify.
I am of the opinion that qualified policemen are in short supply and yet this is an important situation in view of the crisis today.
I don't know if you would think there is potential among the hardcore unemployed, many of the Negroes, to become good policemen.
If they could, it would be helpful because to a large extent they are dealing with people of their own race. We do not seem to be able to recruit them.
Do you see any problems here?
Mr. EssER. One of the difficulties is the lack of confidence that many poor people have not only in the police department but in gorernment generally and particularly the black poor.
I think there is a great opportunity for developing different types of initially subprofessional jobs in the police department that help community relations-type functions that help provide links of communication between the police department and the poor community.
Senator Clark. I agree that there is great opportunity for satellite work in a police department, supportive services, but in the end it is the cop on the beat who is going to maintain order. We are just not getting enough of them, and our cities do not seem to be able to provide the money to induce them to apply.
Here in Washington we have a great many vacancies in the Police Denartment.
Mr. ESSER. I think this is true. We have to raise the image of law enforcement as a career because we are demanding skills, we are demanding intelligence, we are demanding understanding and we cannot expect a young man to find law enforcement an appealing field