Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Targets Training He Seeks More Help for Laid-Off Workers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Targets Training He Seeks More Help for Laid-Off Workers

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton had some good news Wednesday for workers like John Hahn, who lost his job in Niagara Falls, N.Y., because of defense cuts.

Clinton said the budget proposal he would send Congress next week would include more money for the kind of job training programs that helped Hahn begin a new career.

"In a time in which we have to cut domestic spending, we have to find more money to spend on this," Clinton told Hahn and 400 others who attended a job-training conference in Washington. The president said his budget proposal would eliminate overlapping and unsuccessful jobs programs, "so that we can squeeze the money out to put more money into people who get jobs in the private sector."

Clinton and Labor Secretary Robert Reich said they wanted to streamline and consolidate jobs programs to create "one-stop shopping" for the unemployed to get help. One reason for the conference was to begin the administration's push for the jobs bill that it plans to present to Congress later this month.

Hahn, who is in his 50s, was laid off recently by Bell-Aerospace, where he had worked for nearly 30 years. "At my age it's very discouraging. I felt pretty lonely when I got laid off . . . wondering, where can I go from here?"

With the help of a federally funded jobs training program, he took some courses in telecommunications at a community college and got a job as a hospital technician.

Success stories like Hahn's were in abundance at Wednesday's conference, which brought together workers, employers and government officials. But there also were tales of the tape - red tape and bureaucracy that make it tough for the unemployed to connect with those who want to help.

Hahn's story is a familiar one to Jerry Stockman, who directs the worker Re-Entry Program at St. Louis Community College. The program won recognition Wednesday for its success in helping laid-off McDonnell Douglas Corp. workers find new jobs.

"Older workers have a particular difficulty, especially in the defense industry," said Stockman, who runs a "one-stop" jobs center on the McDonnell campus near Lambert Field. …

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