Box 3, Folder 16, Document 10

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Box 3, Folder 16, Document 10

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“Manpower and Employment in Georgia"


= Clint Rodgers
Deputy Administrator
Economic Opportunity Atlanta, Inc.
101 Marietta St., N, W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

October 4, 1969
Critique of
Manpower and Employment in Georgia" “
by Clint Rodgers
The structure of this erltique on the ahove nomed nanuseetoe will
_be under the three. major headings of Statistics, Interpretation of Data,
and Conclusions and Implications. This etructure itself ig indicative
of the areas in the manuscript lending themselves és questions and

critical analyeis.
Generally the statistics referenced and used in the manusexipt
are the best avallable and represent a broad spectrum of sources and
disciplines. A word of caution, however, must be fishies in that
practitioners and administrators in. the manpower field consistently
descry the lack of adequate data on which to base decisions. Further —
more, Wwe must constantly remain aware that such data and statistics,
aside from their incompleteness, represent historical situations and
their use for making predictions is increasingly endangered by a4 multi-
tude of social.and cultural forces exerting ever accelerating change on


thie aeonedtes of the Nation as well as the State. ,
The manuscript is one of few that recognizes the existence and
magnitude of what the author calls the “wnidentified unemployed". This
phenomenon cannot be overstressed, especially in terms of its implications
for manpower and education. It probably represents the single most urgent
symptcimn of the decpex problema fim the educational and manpower systems.
This will ke further discussed in the later parts of this critique.
Another extremely important symptom mentioned in Dr. Fulmer's
paper was underemployment. Significantly no complete statistics were

given. Two major problems relative to underemployment prevent an
adequate assessment. Fitst, a consensus on what constitutes undere

employment is lacking. The U. S. Department of Labor roughly defines
underemployment as piocement of a ‘person in 4@ job which requires less

ekill than the employea posscesed. However, most poor people and civil - - -
vights groups usually speak of underemployment: as working in a job. which 2
pays less than is required to maintain a minimal standard of living. ia

Lack of understanding and/or acceptance of a definition makes commini-
cations and data collection virtually impossible. This results in
. statements such es the one on page 28 of the manuseript which. says, .- 00. .=
"Obviously many workers, especially shone fomales failed to work full- -
time through Among poor women, what may appear to be a
failure to work by choice often represents overwhelming obstacles to
cnployment created by less then subsistence level wages coupled with
a multitude of social and pexsonal problems. Secondly, there is curently
ua proven adequate technique of data collection on Rat en ee enE even.
ce the semantics were clarified, The degree of confusion on this is
demonstrated by a question ta this writer by a businessman who asked,
“Sow many able bodied black men are there in the ghettye that have not
been counted?" Although much speculation has been done, the only absolute
response is that as socom as they are counted, there will fat be any.

You may have noted that several times the word “symptom!! has
been used in this critique, whereas thes game phenomenon in the manu~-
script was usually stated in tho implied context of a "problem, + Here~
im lies the clue to the major thrust of criticism of the manuscript.
Yet this thrust te extromely difficult to communicate because it re-

quires a frame of veference alinost contradictory to many accepted

values which serve as an a priori, departure for the manuscript. Or |,
Lia +

to state this another way, much of tha manuscr “ptt s interpretation

of the data becomes the best example of its own lack of validity.

Before proceeding with cxamples which demonstrate Eke above POSE)

please note oe Paces ls absolutely no intent to queation oy impugn
the integrity or character of tha manuseript weitere “Rather theresa
lies the adienine dgicboabion o£ oux times « ae interpretations axe

guite valid for a white, middie class epieurdted society, but we are

faced with the growing self averences of subculture Broups comprised

Bee ee tee ~ es

of both iiliack and poor white chtizens. Without argueing the velubive

_mevits of the value systems of these various groups, the fact nanetne

that conclusions and interpretations based on majority cultural outlock
are not necessarily valid for the subgroups, and plans and programs based
on such eriteria axe in Large measure falling and will ilkely continue

to fail, all ..


It is quite naturat for anyone imbued with dominant cultural view

‘point to assume that a public school system which has been fairly success-

ful in educating the majority of the dominant white middle class should
succeed with other groups as well. ‘hus it follows that anyone who fails
in the system does so because he is incapable or unwilling to learn.

nus the manuscript continues to the next logical step of praposing

additional education, training and counseling for the dropouts and failures. ..

This is treatment for the symptom wher the cause is perhaps more related
to lack of bhellevable opportunities even with adus sition, hostility toward
the educational and economic systems which fall to recognize the minority
cultural values, etce

The paper also cites transportation as a job barrier when in
reality this is often a symptom of the real problem which is the

economle and seclal restrictions on housing patterns for the poor and

mee sects =

the black which separate them from job opportunities.
Other exemples could be cited, but the point is that the
explicit and implicit interpretations In:ithe manuscript must be

questioned since they reflect the educational and economic value

systems on waich program goals and dixectfons will te based and wa’ shew. |

are, to various degrees, rejectiad bysthose-to be benefitted. The purpose

of this approach is to suggest that writing educational preseriptions

for symptoms Will not likely cure-the causes of economic illness. A

“Case CHi ba hades for ErGating aypiptoms For short range Felief, but the ~

major danger comes only if we believe that wa ara treating the Causes.

Lf the approaches to the interpretation of data sugrested in
this cxitique are valid, the conclusions and implications for educaticaa
are rather extensive. Althoush any of the following points deserve more
space and attention than is available here, the purpose of this critique
ie to cugeest some. new approaches to viewing the problem bused Bt eee
periences of one Lovolyed in administering progxams designed to educate
and train the hard core unemployed and underemployed. Alsa since this
discussion centers around the educational system, wo nust recognise that
education does not exist in a vacuum, but is a part of the total aoeial
and aconemle value systems. Therefore education atone cannot solve all
the problous or symptoms visible in its structure, but must, if it is to
survive, assume more positive leadership beth tnside its structure ag
well as in the total comunity.

Vhea education establisiment must reexamine its attitudes, both
conscious and unconscious, toward the dropout. It is easy and calming
to one's cso to assume that a student who fails or drops out is ine

ecapnbie or unwilling to learn. It fs somewhat disquieting to say that

a *
Far + i
the school system does not know ox understand how toe teach the student,

Tt is easy to offer compensatory cducation because that implics that the

system is valid and the student is just slow. To suggest that the system

may not be Pavan to the sshudent is often viewed as uninericans To

expell a poor performer and cebu Snatiae is to reintored and mainta iit 13

the system's self image, ‘To explore the pososbithity that the Tenteie

Hc *

falis to poxforn and nicbehaves because his view of the school's imace .

is one of hostility toward him is painful. Although the ptudent Fromm

a a

4 disadvantaged background adalttedly brings eae probiens,. “the challenge
to the future of education igs to Learn how to succeed with hin.

Dre. Fulmer suggests that more emphasis be placed on vocational
education both in the oxisting public schools as well es through the

Area Vocational Technical Schools. in the pubiie schools such a program

is needed, however, a real danger exists that this will be instituted - ~ -

primarily in schsele with hich dropout rates, This very Bpupsestion was
reeently ade by an Atlanta educator. ££ this happens, Lt will agai

reinforce the attitude that these students arc incapable of academic

work. ‘his approach would ineure failure and an eventual confrontation

along racial Lines. 4, onesie aeplititt program is needed tn’ all public

schools as well as vocational education.

As Dr. Fulmer pointe out, the Arena Vocational Technical Schools
have done an excellent job in training people for succesuyful job places
ment = for those who can and will attend. Last year one such vocational
school in the State published statistics which revealed that over 95%

£ ites emitieas were high school graduatas. Obviously this school was
not serving the hard core unemployed. This fact can probably be attrire

buted to at least two major factors, the high entrance requirements for

many of the courses, and hostility toward the educational establishment

on the part of the dropout, Skilla centers axa being proposed to meet

the needs o£ the hard core unemployed. Such centers have had sone success

elcewhere, but only where there has been a considerable departure from

traditional vocational education's philosophies, attitudes aia teclnaaics,
Tn sunmary, the manuscript being reviewed did-an excellent SHugtan<

revealing many pertinent factors relative to the future af ianpeweietn

Georgiae The wain thrust of thig erfitidque is to provide the reader with

another interpretation of the datd based on experience with those whom


‘the educational system failed. Tha tima and epace restrictions in this —
eritique made impossible the full development of the ideas and concepts
outlined, but the hope is that adequata stimulation for further thought

has been presented,


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