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TRUTH ON STATE OF NATION

Concord Coalition: Congress Fibs on Budget

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Workforce Development is here, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Check out what it is, and ask questions.


Reader questions new boards
Dear Editor:
Our county commissioners have been busy appointing individuals from the business community to be members of the Workforce Development Boards that were authorized by the Governor's Dec. 12, 1997 executive order in order to receive funding from the Federal Workforce Investment Act.

Among other things, these boards are authorized to establish Workforce Clusters for the School-to-Work programs that are to be implemented in the schools. Another task for the boards is to encourage participation of local businesses in School-to-Work programs. The carrot for the businesses: The taxpayers will pay for the training of your workforce.

Small business owners beware: There are many unanswered questions that need to be addressed before moving forward. The School-to-Work funding is considered to be ``seed money'' that will run out in 2001. The original plan was for businesses to continue the funding by a 1 percent payroll assessment. Have you been told that?

When the ``seed money'' runs out, how will the program be funded? Will OSHA requirements change if children are on the premises? Will employees working with children require background checks, and who will pay for that? Since ``the Commonwealth is not to be held liable'' for the actions of the Regional Workforce Boards, will employers have potential tort liability for injuries to persons on their property?

Will the Child Labor Laws have to be amended so that younger children can participate, and does that open the door for lawsuits? After a certain level of business participation has been reached, will participation become mandatory? If a business or parent has a complaint, where do they go? Who has authority over the Workforce Development Boards? Must they comply with the Sunshine Law?

The School-to-Work program changes the goals of education which once were to help children learn the basics so that they could develop their individual talents and become the best they could be and which now will be simply to train them for the local workforce.

Why would we want a system that will eliminate true freedom for our citizens to become the best in the world? Why would we want a system that limits the creative spirit? Remember that most of the major inventions and creativity, technology, Nobel Prize winners, and job creation in the world has come out of that small pocket of population that is the U.S. of A.

Granted our schools have gotten off the track of excellence as the government money has been rolling in, but if we become informed, we can do what needs to be done. This is still America.

George D. Hagerty Uniontown


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