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Public Papers - 1992

Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Youth Apprenticeship


To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit herewith for your immediate consideration the ``National Youth Apprenticeship Act of 1992.'' Also transmitted is a section-by-section analysis.

This legislation would establish a national framework for implementing comprehensive youth apprenticeship programs. These programs would be a high-quality learning alternative for preparing young people to be valuable and productive members of the 21st century work force. Although this framework has been designed to be comprehensive and national in scope, it is also flexible enough to allow States to customize the model to economic, demographic, and other local conditions.

I am proposing this legislation in order to promote a comprehensive approach for helping our youth make the transition from school to the workplace and strive to reach high levels of academic achievement. The lack of such an approach is one very important reason that a significant proportion of American youth do not possess the necessary skills to meet employer requirements for entry level positions.

There is widespread agreement that the time has come to strengthen the connection between the academic subjects taught in our schools and the demands of the modern, high-technology workplace. Work-based learning models have proven to be effective approaches for preparing youth at the secondary school level.

Under my proposal, a student could enter a youth apprenticeship program in the 11th or 12th grade. Before reaching these grades, students would receive career and academic guidance to prepare them for entry into youth apprenticeship programs. Particular programs may end with graduation from high school or continue for up to an additional 2 years of postsecondary education. In addition to the high school diploma, all youth apprentices would earn a certificate of competency and qualify for a postsecondary program, a registered apprenticeship program, or employment.

A youth apprentice would receive academic instruction, job training, and work experience. The program is intended to attract and develop high-quality, motivated students. Standards of academic achievement, consistent with voluntary, national standards, will apply to all academic instruction, including the required instruction in the core subjects of English, mathematics, science, history, and geography. Students also would be expected to demonstrate mastery of job skills.

My proposal provides for vigorous involvement at the Federal, State, and local levels to ensure the success of the program. It also requires that employers, schools, students, and parents promise to work together to achieve the program goals. Enactment of my proposal will result in national standards applicable to all youth apprenticeship programs. Thus, upon completion of the program, the youth apprentice will have a portable credential that will be recognized wherever the individuals may go to seek employment or pursue further education and training.

I believe that the time has come for a national, comprehensive approach to work-based learning. The bill I am proposing would establish a formal process in which business, labor, and education would form partnerships to motivate the Nation's young people to stay in school and become productive citizens. It will provide American youth the opportunity to gain marketable and portable skills while establishing a relationship with a prospective employer.

I urge the Congress to give swift and favorable consideration to the National Youth Apprenticeship Act of 1992.

George Bush

The White House,

May 13, 1992.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
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