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ERIC Identifier: ED259206
Publication Date: 1985-00-00
Author: Hassan, Salah Salem
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education Columbus OH.

Private Sector Involvement in Vocational Education. Overview. ERIC Digest No. 36.

The purpose of the 1982 Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), which replaced the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), is to establish programs to help prepare economically disadvantaged youth and hard-to-hire and unskilled adults to become productive members of the labor force. Unlike its predecessor, JTPA calls for equal responsibility between the private and public sectors for local program operations.

This Digest defines the features of the JTPA legislation, discusses the role of vocational education in training programs, and cites examples of cooperative arrangements.


JTPA works through locally based programs to provide training and employment assistance to the unemployed (National Alliance of Business 1982). The JTPA legislation:

--recognizes the need to use private sector expertise, resources, and support to tailor publicly financed training programs to the local economy (Galloway 1984)

--shifts responsibility for local plan approval, fiscal oversight, and program activities from the federal government to the state level (National Alliance of Business 1982; Galloway 1984; Riffel 1984)

--allows local public and private authorities to decide on the types of program assistance to be provided with federal funds (Griffin 1983)

--emphasizes spending most funds for training and limits local funds for administrative expenses, wages, and other supportive services (National Alliance of Business 1982; Griffin 1983; Riffel 1984)

--suggests, but does not require, that state vocational education boards and advisory councils on vocational education be represented among the decision-making authorities (Riffel 1984)


Under the new act, vocational education plays a vital role in training and retraining programs for the unemployed and the economically disadvantaged. JTPA's administrative structure allows state and local authorities a say in employment and training policies (National Alliance of Business 1982; Riffel 1984).

Although training services are delivered locally through agreements between the public and private sectors, the administration of the Act is the responsibility of the state's Governor (National Alliance of Business 1982; Riffel 1984) who divides the state into service delivery areas (SDAs).

Each SDA appoints a Private Industry Council (PIC) to plan and operate community training programs with members from the private sector, local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and private and proprietary organizations (Riffel 1984). Vocational education can thus be represented potentially on several levels and can have a more active role in determining how training funds are to be spent on any of these levels.

Through its state advisory councils, vocational education can work with other local agencies in collaboration with private business. The National Advisory Council on Vocational Education (1983) suggests the following ways state advisory councils can help:

--Providing established, effective training programs with efficient and nonduplicative use of tax dollars

--Providing support services and expertise (counseling, administration, curriculum development, instructor development, and enrollment procedures)

--Providing high-quality instructional facilities and equipment

--Developing lines of communication with private sector employers and with eligible program participants

--Providing information on local labor market statistics and training needs

--Assisting the development of state and local cooperative education agreements and the development of coordinated state training plans

Because the JTPA requires that vocational education be represented on the PICs, local vocational education agencies will be partners with other private and public institutions in delivering training and employment services and ensuring the success of local training programs.

Griffin (1983) and others note that this new type of partnership will build on existing collaborative relationships with the private sector and strengthen the vital role of vocational education in future training programs.


The new legislation was passed during a time when both vocational education and business could benefit from cooperation. Today's technology is continually changing the workplace. New job skills and knowledge are needed to keep the future work force current with changing vocations.

The relationship between the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and the Allen-Bradley Company, a Milwaukee-based manufacturing firm, demonstrates how the public/private partnership can meet the demands of the changing workplace (Rich 1983). As Allen-Bradley increases computer-assisted design and production operations, its employees attend training programs in computer-based information processing, engineering, and manufacturing offered by MATC.

Because of the continuous change in computer graphics technology, MATC must update its facilities and equipment. Allen-Bradley and other contributors help by donating hardware, providing MATC instructors with workplace experience, and funding the development of new courses.

Another example of public and private sector cooperation is the Elliott Training Center outside of Pittsburgh, started in 1973 by the Elliott Company (part of the Power Sector Group of United Technologies Corporation) (Schweder 1983). Elliott needed skilled metal workers to meet the increased mand for manufacturing compressors and turbines for energy-related industries.

To meet that need, the Company consulted with the National Alliance of Business (NAB) to locate funding for the training center through the Federal Job Opportunities in the Business Sector (JOBS) program. The center's trainees are economically disadvantaged, hard-to-hire, and unskilled workers. Tuition fees are paid by public agencies and nonprofit private enterprises (CETA, PICs, the Veterans' Administration) and physical rehabilitation programs (Schweder 1983).

The following steps are needed for successful partnerships:

--Conducting needs assessments using self-evaluation and observation to establish where cooperation would be beneficial

--Identifying resources for assistance and system support and identifying services that could be offered in exchange for collaboration

--Choosing partners based on the adoptability of solutions, technologies, or service areas to current situations

--Establishing working relations with partners and supporting subsystems to develop awareness of and gain acceptance for new solutions.


Galloway, J. R. "Reauthorization: Defining the Federal Role." VOC ED 59 (January-February 1984): 31-32.

Griffin, D. "A New Partnership Becomes Law." VOC ED 58 (January-February 1983):32-34.


National Alliance of Business (NAB). EXPLANATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE JOB TRAINING PARTNERSHIP ACT OF 1982. Washington, D.C.: NAB, 1982. ED 239 024.

Rich, D. "Partnerships Take a New Turn." VOC ED 58 (May 1983):32-33, 49.

Riffel, R. "New Partnerships for Jobs and Training." VOC ED 59 (January-February 1984):29-30.

Schweder, J. "From CETA to Skilled Jobs." VOC ED 58 (May 1983):37-38, 50.


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