THE BOUNDLESS RESOURCE: A Prospectus for an Education-Work Policy by Willard & The National Manpower Institute Wirtz

THE BOUNDLESS RESOURCE: A Prospectus for an Education-Work Policy

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Secretary of Labor under JFK and Johnson, Wirtz was one of the instigators of all those brave 1960's programs intended to ""retrain"" ghetto dropouts to compete in the job market. Since the unemployment rate among minority youth is currently around 40 percent, the problem of young people stranded in some nether region between the schools they despise and the jobs they can't get seems even more acute. Meantime there are millions of adults locked into jobs they find stultifying, berating themselves for lost educational opportunities. Wirtz suggests reshuffling the entire educational structure to break ""the three time traps--education, then work, then obsolescence."" In practical terms this would mean year-round schools with students taking holidays at times other than the conventional summer period; a variety of ""work experience"" programs built into something called ""career education"" which would be ""infused"" with vocational and liberal arts elements. Wirtz recognizes that, unlike some European countries, the U.S. is not ready to provide ""sabbaticals"" for education renewal for adults who want a chance to learn new skills but must also feed families. The diagnosis--that work and education schedules are seriously out of phase; that presently our projections of future manpower needs are hit-and-miss--is unarguable. But given the current paring of school budgets, a wave of teachers' strikes and the prevailing ""hold the line"" mentality, Wirtz' call for radical experiments to enhance the ""quality of life"" seems ill-timed at best, at worst a way of impressing young people with few options into unpaid labor service dressed up as ""community internships.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1975
Publisher: New Republic