Box 3, Folder 12, Document 36

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Box 3, Folder 12, Document 36

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‘Kansas City Industry

Taps a New Labor Source

Training the Unemployed and the Underemployed for the World of Work

Is the Objective of the Training Corporation of America (TCA)

Cia 250 Kansas Citians —
hitherto ignored as part of our po-
tential labor forcee—are discovering
a new world for them these days in
the five-floor building formerly occu-
pied by the Missouri State Employ-
ment Office at 1411 Walnut. This
new world is a familiar one to most
of us, so familiar as to be taken for
granted, but to these — the unem-
ployed and underemployed — the
World of Work is a world that de-
mands whole new attitudes and back-
to-basic education.

The very location of this industry-
supported effort is significant. Most
of the 350 now enrolled with the
Training Corporation of America at
1411 Walnut have visited the same
building often in the past, fruitlessly,
when it was the State Employment
Office. For these are what are often
referred to as the “hard-core” un-
employed, men and women, young
and old, whom even the most strenu-
ous effort could not place on jobs, or
keep on jebs. Educaticnal deficiencies
or unrealistic approach to the world
of work or (in a few cases) a minor
police record while young have
closed the doors normally open to
any able-bodied applicant. The task
of dissolving this hard core, of
changing attitudes, of supplying edu-
cational deficiencies is the challeng-
ing job that TCA is tackling.

How successfully it is performing
its job is indicated by the fact that
in less than a half year, 173 people
previously considered unemployable
are gainfully employed, with nearly
25% of them taking on-the-job
training to develop needed skills
while earning. Enrollments have in-
creased from 177 to the maximum
desired of some 350 in late January.

“Education for Living” is the key
to the philosophy of TCA’s employ-

LEARNING WHAT THE WORLD OF WORK expects of workers, a typical

class at Training Corporation of America gets some practical pointers from

instructor Charles Royston.

ment support program. Noting that
the Department of Labor estimates
at least 10,000 people in the Kansas
City area are either unemployed or
working at jobs beneath their ca-
pacity, Edward W. Scaggs, Project
Director, points out that TCA’s mis-
sion is twofold: to place these people
in good, solid employment situations
and to discover what it takes to re-
habilitate a person so that he can
become a productive, self-respecting
member of society.

“Because of this twofold mission,”
Scaggs commented, “TCA is de-
pendent on Kansas City business,
industry and labor. On the other
hand, TCA has something good and
durable to offer the Kansas City
community. Our trainees come from
all over the Kansas City metropoli-
tan area, including Olathe, Platte
County and Wyandotte County.
They come in all shapes, colors and

ages, but their aims are the same:
they want to work, and they want a
decent wage. Our aims for our
trainees are the same as theirs: we
want them to work and we will do
all in our power to prepare them,
place them, and assist them, with
the cooperation of the employer, to
adjust to the job.

“To serve its purpose, TCA must
be known by the entire community,
and even more important, must be
trusted. I believe this kind of trust
in us by business, industry and labor,
is not too much to ask. Like them,
we believe that a man should give
a day's work for a day’s pay, and
that industry must make a profit to
survive. We believe that a worker
should be qualified to do the job he’s
placed on, and that if he does not
perform that job, he should be fired.
Since our beliefs are compatible, why
should we not trust one another?”

at) ae

sidered unemployable, proves good
employee at bank job. Edward W.
Seaggs, TCA Project Director, at
left, discusses her progress with
Charles Shewalter, Sr., Vice Presi-
dent, Commerce Trust.

Ed Scaggs is the kind of man to
inspire confidence, a big, friendly,
outgoing personality whose impact
is immediate on trainees, business-
men or visitors to the Training
Corporation’s headquarters.

Visitors Are Welcomed

TCA welcomes visitors, even in
the course of setting up classrooms,
work sampling rooms and offices.
Some of the staff is always ready to
show people around—and it is obvi-
ous that they see beyond the tempo-
rary partitions that are being put up.
the hand-made signs, the confusion
and noise cf construction going on
around them. They can tell you that
TCA is a subsidiary of Melpar, di-
vision of Westinghouse Air Brake
Company, that it also operates the
Excelsior Springs Job Corps Center
facilities, and that both are results
of the MDTA (Manpower Develop-
ment and Training Act of 1962).

As Seaggs and his staff are quick
to point out, theirs is not a course
in training for job skills, but a
mental, emotional, social conversion
of the individual trainee from an em-
ployment “discard” to one who is
ready and eager to work. The work
sampling Laboratories are more to
familiarize the trainees with the
machines and equipment and pro-
cedures in various phases of the
workaday world than to develop
actual skill on the machines.

Introducing the World of Work

The first class began on August
15, 1967, with 177 men and women
enrolled—all classified by the Mis-
souri State Employment Office as
unemployable, many through edu-
cational deficiencies. At the time,
classes were held in temporary space
at 1330 Grand. It was immediately
obvious to Mr. Scaggs and his staff,
all experienced in job placement
work, that even more important than
remedying poor educational back-
grounds was altering the attitude
toward work and its desirability.
Many had lost hope, many more had
unrealistic views of the kind of work
they should be doing.

TCA, industry-connected and sup-
ported, felt it could devise a more
workable training program for such
people than a government agency
might. General Motors, ITT, IBM
and other labor industries are also
involved in the program, for which
TCA was awarded a 2.2 million dol-
lar contract for operating the Kansas
City Project by MDTA as part of the
Ten Cities project of the Department
of Labor.

All trainees accepted are given an
orientation period of approximately
ten weeks, a basic introduction to
the “World of Work.” Under the di-
rection of Joseph Rucker, coordi-
nator of the World of Work program,
the trainees spend at least one hour
daily in classrooms. The _ topics
covered are significant, with every
effort made by the leaders to indi-
vidualize the approach and to involve

the entire group in discussion and


typically informal, brings together (lL.-r.)
(Employment Adjustment Counselor). Richard Nadeau (Coordinator of Coun-
seling), Phyllis G, Tiffany (Trainer Psychologist), Ruth Calata (Nurse), and
Michael J. Kellerman (Psychometrist).

Relieving the Relief Rolls

Since a large percentage of the
women were on relief, or other pub-
lic assistance, and many of the men,
it is obvious that getting them em-
ployed is to the community’s benefit
as well as to their own self-respect.
Some of the trainees have definite
skills, but have not been able to hold
jobs through faulty understanding of
work requirements (punctuality, de-
pendability, impatience with own
qualifications for advancement).
Most, however, have had no oppor-
tunity to develop skills, since they
lacked the minimum requirements
set up by many industries, such as
a high school diploma,

Under Rucker’s direction, the first
consideration is altering the attitudes
toward steady work. To most of the
community, prepared from childhood
for regular employment, the despair
and frustration of the “hard-core”
unemployed may be hard to under-
stand. Implanting the attitude that
work is a necessary good—an attain-
able first step upward—is the posi-
tive approach on which each indi-
vidual’s success in the project hinges.

Practical Basic Guidance

The World at Work classes, dedi-
cated in every session to upgrading
the trainees’ self-respect and pride
in even simplest abilities, works on
very practical projects. Personal
hygiene and good grooming are en-
couraged by example, as part of suc-
cessful applying for a job, and keep-
ing the job.

Typical was the class visited one
day recently, where the class worked

Ken Neal

+ with the teacher to suggest the best
way to write a letter applying for a
job. With fourteen trainees in at-
tendance, the teacher skillfully
guided the class to select the kind
of job the greatest number might
expect to qualify for, and worked out
with them what the letter should
contain and in what general arrange-
ment. The active participation was
notable, and the native intelligence

Other classes stress what are the
important things an employee is ex-
pected to do if he intends to hold a
job permanently. Being on time,
avoiding absenteeism, getting along
with other employees and employers
are basics. Trainees are also in-
structed in the labor market, where
and how to look for jobs, the facts
about labor unions, and hear speakers
from both industry and iabor, Oc-
casional tours of plants are scheduled
to show working conditions and re-

A final key factor in the intro-
duction to the World of Work is
money management, the proper use
of credit when earning.

Enrollees Receive Allowance

During the training period, which
may take up to 26 weeks where se-
vere educational deficiencies must
be made up, the adult enrollee is
allowed $39 a week, plus car fare,
while youth enrollees receive $20 a
week. Extra allowances are paid
where there are dependents. Obvi-
ously, good money management is
required even befor the trainee is

On graduation from the Project,
and placement on a job, the work of
TCA is not ended. The employed
TCA graduate remains under obser-
vation and maintenance on the job,
for a substantial period until the
complete transition is made from
student to steady worker. A coun-
selor is assigned to every trainee
when he or she enrolls and maintains
close contact throughout.

Dick Nadeau, coordinator of coun-
seling, points out that every trainee
has at least four hours per week of
group counseling to motivate proper
attitudes and a positive concept of
himself. In addition, trainees are
provided individual counseling on
personal problems as needed. For in-
stance, the counselors work with the
Council on Alcoholism on this preva-
lent problem, and have regular con-
ferences with TCA’s own staff psy-
chologist, Phyllis Tiffany, a doctorate
eandidate in psychology at the Uni-
versity of Kansas. Mrs. Tiffany's

chief concern is in-service training
of all personnel to handle the daily
problems of the enrollees. She
also arranges for trainees with deep
psychological problems to receive
expert help from the agencies best
fitted to handle those problems, such
as the Mental Health Clinic, or Me-
norah Medical Center for speech and
hearing therapy or psychological
evaluation. She also sets up special
seminars and laboratory training for
the counselors, such as with the Mid-
west Group for Human Resources
and a special program by Dr. Russell
Doll of UMKC on the sociology of the

Work Sampling Labs Installed

TORY helps familiarize a potential

salesgirl or supermarket checker
with cash register and other equip-
ment, with Joseph Rucker, Co-
ordinator of the World of Work
Program, supervising.

To familiarize trainees with the
machines, tools, equipment and pro-
cedures they will find in offices or
industries, six Work Sampling Labo-
ratories are being set up:

1.S5ALES (Cash registers, adding

machines, etec., common in super-
markets, offices, stores.)

basics only of electrical equip-
ment and wiring.)

ground materials for nursing,
hospital or doctor's offices.)

4. APPAREL (Fabrics and ma-
chines used in garment trade.)

(Equipment and tools for jani-
torial or building supervision

6.CLERICAL (Office machines,
forms and general supplies most
commonly used.)

Active Job Placement

The project has its own job place-
ment staff, in constant contact with
local labor unions, businesses and
industries, including two follow-up
counselors who check on trainees
placed when there is any problem
connected with their performance on
the job, It is their responsibility to
see that the TCA trainee justifies the
investment that is represented by his
being on the job, and to iron out any
difficulties that may or may not be
his fault.

TCA is also qualified as a prime
contractor for the Department of
Labor, authorized to write sub-con-
tracts with industry to train people
on-the-job while enrolled in the pro-
gram, As such, it offers special ad-

1. Testing, medical examinations,
counseling and basic education

2. Partial reimbursement of train-
ing expenses: TCA pays up to
$25 per week to the on-the-job
employer for as much as 26

3. Minimal paper work — chiefly
done by TCA.

4. Immediate approval of the con-

5. Follow-up and supportive serv-
ices by the TCA staff.

The Businessman’s Role

With the clearly constructive work
program of TCA, it is obvious that
business should be interested. Such
men as Les Milgram, Charles She-
walter, Jr. (Commerce Trust), Max
Keith (Wilcox Electric), Phil Metzker
(KCP&L), Norm Stuckey (SW Bell),
Hank Williams (AT&T), John Erick-
son (Ford), Jim Hughes (GM) and
over 200 other firms have agreed
that this is either close to the solu-
tion or the actual solution.

It does, however, make the same
demand on industry that it does on
the worker—a change of attitude
toward the ones who, for one reason
or another, have been considered un-
employable or employable only at
certain levels.

What Ed Scaggs and industry
leaders can wholeheartedly agree
upon is that in backing TCA, the
government is finally realizing that
industry knows more about industry
than government does, and local in-
dustry feels that this program can
get the job done for industry.


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