THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Nashua, New Hampshire)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON SCHOOL-TO-WORK PROGRAM Sanders Company/Lockheed Martin Nashua, New Hampshire
4:40 P.M. EST
Q Well, good afternoon. On behalf of the Seven New Hampshire's School-to-Careers Partnership, and our host, Sanders/Lockheed Martin Company, I'd like to welcome you all this afternoon to our roundtable discussion on School-to-Work.
Before I begin, I'd just like to say, Mr. President, what an honor, what a real thrill it is to have you here today. We're delighted you took time out of your busy schedule up here to be here; and we hope that in the course of the next hour or so you learn more about what we're doing in this region, in this part of the great state of New Hampshire, to implement School-to-Work. We're well aware of the support you've given the initiative, both as governor and then as President.
Seated around the table tonight are teachers and students, parents and some business mentors who have been working hard on the program. And we hope to, in a very informal, relaxed way share with you some of our experience.
I'd like to tell you just a little bit more about the Partnership, for the benefit of the audience, as well as yourself. As you well know, on May 4, 1994, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act was signed into law. Our Partnership responded very quickly to an opportunity to compete for the funding that was available to both states and local partnerships. And as you know, the purpose of this legislation is to help our country develop a more effective system for transitioning all kids from high school on to post-secondary education or into the work force.
So we worked feverishly and wrote the grant proposal and were absolutely stunned and delighted to receive it and to be one of 15 Partnerships around the country to have the funding. We've been working hard for the past 16 months to do the hard work of implementation. And our Partnership has been blessed with the enthusiastic participation of various stake holder groups. We're working with five school districts in the communities of Salem; Hudson, New Hampshire; Nashua; Pinkerton Academy, which is in Derry; and the Milford community. We have the participation of several two-year and four-year institutions, including a teacher preparation institution. Behind you are placards of the over 110 companies that are supporting the initiative, and we've also been true to the spirit of the legislation and included various community and parent groups.
We have taken the legislation pretty seriously up here, and we don't refer to our initiative as a program. We know that it really is a plethora of programs, and that our responsibility is to grow the types of opportunities that can students take advantage of, like coop and apprenticeship and the types of internships you'll hear today.
We're also working hard with the school districts to develop very comprehensive K-12 guidance training for all students, and with our post-secondary partners to articulate curriculum and to make that process of transition smoother.
To date, we've touched in a meaningful way approximately 1200 students -- not all of the students in the districts, but certainly I think we're off to a very good start. We know that the funding for this initiative is somewhat in jeopardy and will sunset anyway in a couple of years. We're committed to carrying on the initiative regardless of funding, have used the funding that we have received to leverage local resources; and companies like Sanders have been very good partners to us.
I guess I would like to ask if you have a few opening comments to make before we begin.
THE PRESIDENT: I just have a few brief remarks I'd like to make. First of all, let me thank all of the people at Sanders for making us feel welcome today and for the good work that they do for our country, and I congratulate them on all of the many things they do, as well as their participation in this program.
As Marie said, I have been interested in this whole concept of how we move young people from school to work for years and years, going way back before I ever even thought about running for president. Many years ago, my wife actually served on a commission that was funded by the Grant Foundation in New York to look at the movement of young Americans from school into the workplace, and particularly those who did not go on to and finish four-year colleges.
This group found that our country was really the only advanced economy in the world that didn't have a systematic cooperation between the education system and the workplaces of our country to move young people into the workplace in a seamless way that continued their training and guaranteed that they had a much better chance to get a good job with a growing prospect of success, both in terms of pay and promotion and stability of work.
This was about 10 years ago. So for about 10 years I have been really concerned about this, and when I became president, I asked the Congress to pass this law -- and it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support -- to provide funding for a few years to give every state the chance not to set up a program, but to set up a partnership, a network that would build systematic linkages between workplaces and schools and colleges and community colleges and other training systems so that every young person in our country who finishes high school would be able to go into some line of work which would also carry with it future education and training. I think it's going to make a big difference.
I was very alarmed -- I think every American is -- by the dramatic divergence in the earnings capacity of young Americans based on the level of education they have, and it happened because we simply did not have a system, particularly for taking care of the young people who didn't go on to the four-year colleges and into the degree programs. And that's what the School-to-Work program is designed to do, to kind of let people like all of you form partnerships to fill that big vacuum. And I hope we can keep the funding up, but we never intended to fund it forever, but I hope we can keep the funding up long enough to get every state in the country to have the kind of network New Hampshire does.
I can say this -- in only a year and a half, we now have about 42,000 employers and 116,000 young people participating in this program nationwide, and more will come quickly. So I congratulate you on what you've done in New Hampshire, and I'd like to spend the rest of my time just hearing from all of you about how this actually works for you and how you relate to it.
Q Thank you. Diana and Eleni were two students who participated in a program that Lockheed/Sanders developed called Women In Technology, and it was an opportunity for young women to shadow women engineers and to see the types of opportunities available in the engineering field. And I'd like to begin by having Diana comment upon her experience in the internship.
Q My experiences with the internship were absolutely wonderful. I really got a touch on everything in the engineering field, and I got to see that women really can do some things before they really weren't typically doing. So, it's something I'm really looking forward to going into in the future.
Q Okay, Eleni?
Q -- (inaudible) -- here for eight weeks, two days a week, and we touched upon all the aspects of what Sanders does. We saw what different engineers do. We learned about their jobs. And it just opened my eyes, personally. I saw that there are a lot of opportunities out there, and it -- just going into a workplace and seeing what they do shows you how they apply what it is you learn in school, and that was very valuable to me.
Q Cindy, maybe you could talk about your experience. You did an internship also, and if you want to tell the President your high school and what program you're in there.
Q Sure, I'm from Pinkerton Academy. I'm in the two-year vocational organization, and it's Allied Health and Human Services. And we do an internship at a local hospital, Parkland Medical Center. And I'm in the maternity unit, and I've seen some deliveries, to circumcisions, to Caesareans. I've taken care of triplets and twins, and I've experienced a lot. And I really like it.
Q Okay, another of our students is Juan, sitting next to me. Juan?
Q I'm from Salem High School. I do an intern at the Salem Police Station. I go there the last two periods of the day every day and I experience going out on the police cruisers, doing paperwork, going to court. And I just want to say it's a good opportunity to go and see the things that are happening, because in "Cops" they show like just going from call to call, and they don't show the paperwork that has to be done. You know, there's a lot of paperwork.
THE PRESIDENT: It's different from television, huh?
Q Yes. And my mentor, Eric Lamm's*, here --
THE PRESIDENT: Where is he? Stand up there, Mr. Lamm. Thank you. (Applause.)
Q I just want to thank Salem Police Station a lot for opening the doors and having the opportunity for me to go in and experience what a lot of other kids don't get to experience.
THE PRESIDENT: And did it change your view of law enforcement then?
Q I always wanted to do it since I was a little kid, so I just wanted -- I wanted to go in there and see if this is what I really wanted to do. So yes and no. It didn't but it did.
Q Okay, and the last of our students is Josh Holmes. Josh?
Q I'm 19. I'm from Windham, New Hampshire. I attend Pinkerton Academy and Salem Vocational Center. And I got my job at Brooks Automation through Salem Vocational Center. I've been there about nine months, and I'm a mechanical assembler, do a little production control, paperwork, whatever needs to be done. It's been great. It's been the best thing that I could have asked for. When I was in school, didn't really know where I was going, and this job opportunity opened up. Now I'm looking at going to college; I wasn't originally. And it's been a terrific opportunity.
THE PRESIDENT: That's terrific.
Q Josh's father is with us tonight. I wonder if -- Mr. Holmes, would you like to comment from the parents' perspective? I will tell you, Mr. President, one of the challenges that we're facing in the Partnership is active parental involvement. And we've been very successful involving businesses and trying hard to encourage more parents to actively participate in the internship experience. And, Mr. Holmes, I think, will address that a little bit, hopefully.
Q Thank you. As a parent, there's a lot of choices. And with Josh, he had a job, so when there was an opportunity for another job there were some considerations -- you know, would this be better for him, what doors might it open.
And we felt -- his mother and I felt pretty strongly that this was an opportunity for his future, whereas when I was in high school I stocked shelves, and he's doing a little of the same. So an opportunity to get out into the workplace, see what really happens, see the real pressures of trying to do something on time, or perhaps having an inventory part that isn't there, or a computer system that's a little balky -- it's all very real and it's all very much the kinds of things, as a parent, you want to see your child do.
So from that perspective it's been absolutely marvelous and I strongly support -- I certainly want to thank his company, Brooks Automation, for opening a door, and to Nelson Shaw,* in particular, for taking --
THE PRESIDENT: Are they here?
Q Nelson is here.
THE PRESIDENT: Who's here? Stand up. Thank you very much, sir. (Applause.)
Q What we're trying hard to do in the Partnership is to ensure that students have the opportunity to experience work-based learning, as the legislation calls it, in a variety of industries. You know that historically vocational education has been one of the conduits for students into the workplace. And so through the engineering internship here at Sanders and Josh's experience, we try to broaden that a bit.
But we have at the table with us today a man, Greg Ahearn, who is with the local electric company -- a very small electric company that has a long history of taking in student interns. And I'd like Greg to speak about the experience that your company has had and then talk about your current experience.
Q Well, first of all, we're quite pleased to be here. We have a long history of School-to-Work involvement. In fact, it goes back 40-plus years where the owner of our company, president of our company, Jim Sellows* did just this School-to-Work program, was given the opportunity and just kept going from that point on.
And by New Hampshire's state standards -- which I was corrected last night -- with 100 employees we're not a small business anymore. (Laughter.) But we really always consider ourselves a small business because of the quality of the work we do, the quality of the people we have. And, again, I feel the foundation of what we do have, up to this point, is the quality of these programs.
And we have, over the years, taken in two to three students every year and brought them in and I always have a personal goal is that they do go on -- maybe not the most polite way of doing it, but I do drive them to go on to a two-year school, a four-year school, and the luxury of our business, the construction trade, is that it's open for everybody. We can take entry-level people in, right in high school, before high school, and right up through two-year programs, four-year programs.
And I have a real nice young man that is -- in the short time he's been there we've counted on him, depended on him, and he's real respected, you know, with the rest of the crew in there. You know, it was funny, the other day he was sick or something, "Gee, where's Jeremy? Where's Jeremy?" He's counted on. Again, he's got enthusiasm and a very intelligent boy -- man.
THE PRESIDENT: Is he here?
Q Jeremy, could you stand up, please? This is Jeremy deGagli*. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good for you.
Q My closing comment is a fact being that you'd really have to know the owner of our company, Jim Stellows, to appreciate the -- (inaudible) -- made, gee, it's about time we did get this Partnership enacted.
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great. Thank you for doing it.
Q The relationship between the student's mentor and the student is a really integral piece of this, as I think you can understand. And Greg's relationship with Jeremy, I know, is very tight. And Jeremy explained to me that you've really become a father figure to him.
We have on the panel here today another mentor, Beth -- excuse me, Lisa Shumway, from Lockheed. And she was mentor to several of the young women participating in the program here.
If you would comment a bit about the role of mentor and your experience and --
Q Well, the program we had at Sanders was not so much an internship but a job shadowing program, where we had six young women in from Alvern* and Nashua High Schools to go through -- they spent eight weeks here at the company going through various parts of the company, being exposed to all of the technical positions within the company, ranging from assemblers up through engineering assistants and engineering.
So we try to give them exposure to every level of that, mechanical engineering, electrical, software engineering. They spent time here in the operations area learning about the assembly. So we actually got a chance to meet, really, all the mentors got to meet all of the students and learn a little bit about all of them, which was a unique opportunity for us, rather than a one-on-one relationship.
And I know we really appreciated the opportunity to let more of the community know what we do here at Sanders, as well as provide a service to young women that I think a lot of the women in technical jobs here didn't get as high school students -- was to see what technical options there are available as careers. I know I found engineering a little late in my college career, and there are technical jobs available to graduating high school students here at Sanders where they could start out as assembler and have Sanders pay for their schooling as they get a bachelor's degree, go on to engineering. So it was a good opportunity to expose them to what's available to them.
THE PRESIDENT: Diana implied that a lot of the benefit was just for young women to see if there were careers that there are actually women involved in and succeeding in that they might not have even imagined beforehand. Do you find that?
Q Well, I know that I've become one of the guys. There are very few of us in the engineering field, and you get used to that -- even growing up with all sisters, like Diana. But I think a lot of people never -- don't typically consider women in a lot of the technical areas. I more often than not meet with surprise when I tell people what I do. So I think that this program will have done its job when it's commonplace to meet a woman who is an electrical engineer.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you one other question. This is related to that. Can you be a little more specific in telling me what the educational benefits are of working here and how you can continue your education, what the company does?
Q The company fully reimburses tuition for higher education, both at the, I think, associates degree, bachelor's degree. I know I personally, when I changed jobs, needed to take a graduate-level course and the company fully reimbursed that. So they're very proactive as far as encouraging employees to seek further education.
THE PRESIDENT: The reason I asked you that is one of the issues we are now debating in the context of the balanced budget amendment and what any tax cut should look like and whether there should be one is -- I've been urging the Congress to focus on things that will generate higher incomes and greater stability among working people and reward companies for really investing in their people.
The old deduction that companies got for paying for their employees' tuition I think is about to expire, plus which it had certain limits in it. One of the things that I've been urging them to look at is whether or not we ought to have a more generous tax break, both not only to companies but to employees.
There's a general rule in the Tax Code that anything that's deductible to a company is taxable to an employee over and above a certain amount. And it seems to me that we have a huge interest in the United States in seeing that people who are already in the work force continue their education and that the tax system ought never to penalize that, I mean within reasonable bounds.
Anyway that's what we're -- one of the things we're looking at as we try to put this whole budget agreement together. I don't think there's a big partisan difference on it; it's not like we're fighting about it, we're more trying to figure out what the right thing to do is and what the best way to encourage employers and employees to take whatever opportunities the employer can possibly afford in terms of time off and the costs of education to go forward. That's why I ask you about it. It's a big issue, folks.
The head of United Technologies gave a speech the other day in which he said he thought that the most urgent economic issue in the country today was the question of educating the people who are already in the work force, because we couldn't go on as a country where half our people were doing pretty well and half our people never got a raise. And so we had to change the whole -- he was arguing that we ought to change the whole tax system so that there would always, always be an incentive for employers to help their employees get more education. Anyway, that's why I asked.
Q Teachers, as we know, are really critical to -- involved in this initiative, and one of the steps that our Partnership has taken to do that is to allow teachers an opportunity to spend time out in the workplaces themselves. I'm a former teacher. I taught math at the high school level, Algebra I actually, and could count probably not on all my fingers and toes the number of times students asked me, "But, Mrs. Devlin, why are we learning this?" And at the time I was in the classroom I frankly didn't have a very good answer for them. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it was true.
And this program that we ran this summer called Teacher in the Workplace enabled 15 teachers from the Partnership schools to go out and work for periods of between two and four weeks in local companies. And what we asked of them were to learn as much as they could about the industry the company was in, and then to think through how the types of skills that they were teaching students in the classroom, and the theory that they're teaching there too, was being utilized in the workplace. And then they've come back to the classrooms this year, written curricula, lesson plans, unit plans, to really do the integration that's involved with that and to help students see the meaning and relevance of what they're learning.
So we have on the panel with us a teacher who participated in that program, Michael Clark. I think he'd like to talk a bit about it.
Q I've been a teacher at Pinkerton Academy for the past 16 years teaching health and physical education. And let me tell you, Mr. President, this was one of the best shots in the arm an educator can have. You can go for your graduate work, go to school, but the experience and hands-on that I had in the workplace was incredible. I was able to bring this into my classroom when I had students that were interested in fields of physical therapy, nutrition, exercise physiology. I have the resources now in which to link them.
My internship this summer was four weeks at the Parkland Medical Center in Derry, New Hampshire. And it was absolutely fantastic. They were very accommodating. I worked their entire work day. It wasn't coming in for an hour or two with a shadow program. It was you punch in at 8:00 a.m., and then you go out at 7:00 p.m. You're there through the patient consultations. You're really seeing what these professions do.
And nowadays our students are so much more savvy. They know they want professions and careers that pay well. So I believe it's imperative that educators, we have to get out into that work force to see what expectations of students they have, so we can better relate this in the classroom.
And as Marie mentioned in her opening remarks, the School-to-Work Partnership is not a program. It's for every student out there, and we have to be important -- that we get that message across. The reform of education in the '90s is such, we want to link the work force with the classroom, work our curriculum so they're more relevant. It's exciting. It gets teachers with 16 and plus years experience -- there's new adrenalin now, that you have something really concrete you can share with your students and better them for citizens in the work force.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much for that testimonial. (Laughter.) He was great, wasn't he? (Applause.) You know, I was just sitting here trying to -- one of the things that I have to concentrate on all the time is how to explain things in simple, fairly quick terms, because usually I don't get to communicate with all of you like this. Usually I get eight or nine seconds through them. So if someone were to ask me, say in a sentence what does all this amount to? You just sort of said it.
Let me just -- because I think it's important -- for 50 years, more or less, after World War II, for most of that time, there was a clear distinction between the school and the workplace. And within schooling there was a clear distinction between academic programs and vocational programs. What this is really about is erasing those distinctions, merging the school and the workplace, and merging the academic and the vocational.
For one thing we have no choice, because a lot of these vo-tech programs require now -- a vocational program -- a high level of technical sophistication, and they are academic in the best sense. And for another we now know that there are a lot of people who learn by doing, not because they have a lower IQ, but because that's the way their minds work. And there are a lot of people who just learn by doing better than they learn by reading, hearing, and speaking.
And I couldn't help but be moved by what Josh said here when he was describing his own experience, that through a series of work experiences he came to think of going to college. It used to be always the other way around. No telling how many people we deprived of the opportunity to develop themselves because we had this artificial barrier between school and work, and an artificial barrier between what was academic and what was vocational.
And really that's what this School-to-Work program is designed to give every state a chance to set up this kind of network to get rid of those barriers. And you said it very well, sir, and I thank you.
Q Mr. President, as an educator, I hope I represent quite a few of them out there, we really have passion for what we do. So what we would like is more of these companies to get involved with the school district, let us know what you want out there, and that way we can implement these things in our curriculums. And, also, continue to put teachers in the workplace, so we can see -- hands on and experience it -- and bring that into our classroom. It's really an exciting thing, and I hope it continues.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me just echo that. I wanted to say a special word of thanks to Mr. Ahearn and the other companies who are doing this who don't have hundreds and hundreds of employees. Most new jobs in America are being created by people like you. The Fortune 500 companies have reduced employment in every year -- aggregate employment in every year since 1980, every year. But to give you and idea -- this is another role model issue -- last year there were more new jobs created by businesses owned by women alone than were reduced by the Fortune 500 companies.
So people like you, we can grow our economy on small- and medium-size businesses and on doing work to support bigger operations like this one. But that means that, for this program to work, we can't depend only on the Sanders and only on the big medical centers and only on the large employers to participate. We have to have the city police departments and the other -- the more moderate-size and small-size employers participating too.
Q Mr. President, you talk about image, the image of vocational versus academic, and our business is construction. We have a tough time with the fact being that there is a stereotype, you know, an image of construction as such. But a lot of people don't realize that the construction business offers the opportunity for somebody to own a business more than any other industry in the nation. It is probably a given fact, too, that probably the largest amount of our entrepreneurs in the country did come from a skilled trade program.
THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. And, of course, the constructions have the best and deepest tradition in our country of taking people in as apprentices. But let me say, based on my own experience, anybody who thinks that construction doesn't require some intellectual capacity has never built a house. (Laughter.) I did once, and it was quite a challenge.
Q Also, just sitting here today, I mean, probably 99 percent of the people look up at the ceiling and don't get excited. But I'm in this room, I'm excited about this ceiling. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: You might have lost your mind on the higher floors up there it's so exciting. (Laughter.)
Q The whole internal workings of this building runs through here -- computer, telephone, fire alarm, energy -- it's all right there, you know? I tell everybody, look, that's our trade, that's our business. It's exciting, almost as much as teaching. (Laughter.)
Q I wonder if we could hear a little bit more from the students. I imagine they were a little nervous with some of their opening remarks.
THE PRESIDENT: They did well, though, didn't they? Didn't all the students do well? They spoke well. (Applause.)
Q Eleni*, would you talk a bit about -- a little bit more about what you thought going into the program and thought at the end of it? We see the value, Mr. President, of students finding out in the course of an internship that that may not be what they want to do for a profession.
Eleni, talk a bit about that.
Q I wasn't too sure about what I was getting into when I first did it, and it seemed like a good opportunity. And I think as long as a student is willing to try and see what is out there, they'll get something positive out of anything that they do approach.
I came here and I learned about engineering, which is not necessarily a field I'm interested in going into, but I am better for having been in this program. I did learn a lot from it. I am interested in chemistry and I did see the application of it in areas. There's application in just about everything.
So when I do my homework now, I think, okay, I've seen where this is used. It's logical and necessary, so it was a great program. I thank Sanders for giving the opportunity because it was a very good opportunity. I know everybody who was in it enjoyed it very much, got to meet people. We learned lots of practical applications for anything. It was great.
Q When I first started this, I really had no idea what it was about. My friend said to me, I'm doing this internship with Lockheed/Sanders, it's called Women in Technology, would you like to do it with me? And I said, well, I guess so, what is it? And she told me that it was based on engineering, and I said, well, my dad used to be an engineer, so now he's moved up in it. So I said, well, yeah, well, it seems like something interesting and it's something that I'd like to see what my dad did.
And I came and I really got so many -- I really had no idea how many different fields of engineering there are, and Sanders really worked toward showing us every single different kind of engineering you can go into and how school really -- it really put a different aspect in my mind on how much school work is important, because it made me sit down and do all my homework every single night. It made me really concentrate harder on my school work and bring my grades up quite a bit.
THE PRESIDENT: Is anybody here of your family?
Q Yes. Both my parents are here.
THE PRESIDENT: Where are they. So they must have been pleased by that. (Laughter.) Would either one of you like to say anything about the program?
Q Well, I think the program or the initiative was an excellent opportunity for Diana. We're the parents of six daughters, both working parents. So the idea that it was for Women in Technology was a wonderful thing for us, we thought it was a great idea. (Laughter.) So we were just pleased that she came home always enthusiastic about what she had learned and what she had seen. She can't decide on which area she wants to go into because she saw so many of them and a lot of them interested her.
And I just think it's -- and I definitely agree with her as far as what she says about her school work. It really gave here a different view on how to look at her school work and she did definitely improve her grades. So I thought it was great. I think it's a great opportunity, too, for the company. I mean, they have such great brilliant minds working with them now so, you know, with things the way they change so quickly, technology is so rapidly changing nowadays they need new ideas. And they can get it from these young people.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great. Thank you. (Applause.)
Q Josh, is this something you would recommend your best friend to do?
Q Yeah. I've truly enjoyed this. When I was working at my last job, stocking shelves, I came home, didn't really want to go back to work. And this job has got me excited about work. I really enjoy what I do. I work with a group of great people, a great company, and they've just brought me in. I'm one of the guys. I mean, I do the same thing everybody else does and it's great. It's been -- couldn't have asked for anything better. It's made my life seem like there's a way to get into the fields. Before I wasn't sure of what I was going to do. And this has helped me to focus on what I'm going to do.
Q Thanks. And Cindy.
Q Well, I've always known that I wanted to be a nurse, but I didn't know which field to go into, which area. First I wanted to go into geriatrics. And so last year, my first year in health, I went into geriatrics, I went in a nursing home and I experienced what I -- I really didn't like it as much. And then I went to a regular hospital floor and I saw different things, pediatrics to geriatrics to just regular middle-aged people. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: We're getting used to it, all us regular middle-aged people. (Laughter.)
Q I really -- I enjoyed it more. And this year I'm in the maternity unit and I just love it. I know that's what I want to do. And through this experience I've come to know that I want to go into obstetrics. And that's what I want to go to for school. If this experience wasn't there I would have gone into geriatrics and I would have discovered like in -- in like the first couple of years of college that I didn't like it and it would have wasted that much of my time. And I really like it.
THE PRESIDENT: And you said you saw triplets born?
Q No, I didn't see triplets -- they were born in Massachusetts and they were transferred to New Hampshire, and I took care of them and I really liked it.
THE PRESIDENT: How much did they weigh when you got them?
Q Some of them were three -- two of them were three, and one of them was four pounds.
THE PRESIDENT: That's pretty good for triplets.
Q Juan, do you have any comments you'd like to make?
Q I didn't know what I was getting into when they offered me this. I didn't know if I was going to go out on a cruiser, if I was going to stay in the police station -- paperwork. But the chief offered me to do a project working accident reports when I first got there, and I did it. It wasn't what I expected but I did it. Then Officer Lamm, I guess, felt bad for me -- (laughter) -- and he suggested to the chief, I guess, if I can go out on the cruiser and experience what I really want to do. And he said yes.
Ever since then I've been going out -- after I finished the project that he asked me to do -- I've been going on the police cruisers and going on calls, emergency calls; going to a burglary call, or a neighbor complaining about a dog, you know. It's just different. It's been really helpful. I know this is what I want to do now. I just want to thank them for giving me the opportunity.
THE PRESIDENT: It's important, I think, that when you do these things to learn the parts of the job that may not be so exciting. Because, if you think about it, all police work could ultimately be futile except if you were protecting somebody in that moment, if they didn't keep records. Because any action they take that ultimately may have to be validated in a court of law requires some records. I don't mean just crimes, even if it's an accident, just for an insurance company to pay off.
So, I think it's important to learn, you know, no job can be one constant cheap thrill from morning to night -- even mine. (Laughter and applause.)
Q We would like to take an opportunity now to let those of you in the audience, if you have questions of the President, or of any of us at the table to please stand and ask a question.
THE PRESIDENT: Or, if you want to say anything about your program. I know there are a lot of other employers out here. Anybody else? Anyone want to say anything?
Q Mr. President, we have another programs where we've worked with high school and technology, and that U.S. First, and I think you know about that.
THE PRESIDENT: I do.
Q It's been very active and it's been wonderful working with the high school students and --
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for doing that.
Q Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Sorry, sir. (Laughter.)
Q My name is Paul Lucas* from Rapid Response Marketing, and we work with databases. I think the nice thing about having Lucas Lemoyne* here working for us, he has learned technology, I think, and has applied it to real-life situations. One of the things I think that's very important for high school kids to learn is problem-solving skills and just the ability to be at a place on time. Lucas does that very well, and I'm sure it's a lot to do with his parents.
But I'd like to say thank you to everybody for the opportunity to have Lucas work with us. It's been fantastic. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Anyone else?
Q A young lady over here.
Q Yes, Mr. President, I'm Rosemary Rung* with Hampshire Chemical Corporation. And we recently started a program having at-risk youth coming into our company and meeting with some of our professionals who have, like, a high school diploma or those that have pursued their education while they've been on the job. And I feel that's also an important component of School-to-Careers, because although we may not be having the children coming in that are going to be motivated to go on to a job or to college, we're motivating them just to get through high school. So I think that's an important element to this program, Partnership, too.
Thank you for coming. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Q Hi. I'm also involved in the School-to-Work program, and I found it as a very good opportunity. I agree with it a lot and I was wondering with the battling, like the budget and all those problems, is it going to be affected at all? How can it be affected?
THE PRESIDENT: The answer is that it could be affected, because there is a big debate in Washington now, and let me -- between the position I've taken that we ought to be doing things like this. Let me state fairly the Republican Congressional position, or at least some of them. And I'll try to state their position as strongly as I could. Their view is that this is something everybody ought to do anyway, and we're up to our ears in debt and, therefore, the federal government shouldn't spend any money on it. That's essentially their argument.
But my counter is that this is precisely the sort of thing the national government should be doing. That is, we're not telling anybody how to run a school system, we're not telling anybody how to run a training program, we're not telling anybody how to do anything. We're saying what we can do at the national level better than anyone else can do is to identify what -- that is, we can see if there is a national problem, a national challenge, a national need, we can see it. And all we've done is to give a little seed money to states like New Hampshire and then to big community programs so that you can set up the infrastructure to try to put these partnerships together.
So my view is, this is precisely the thing we ought to be doing -- helping people to make more of their own lives and helping people to solve their problems at the community level; not setting up a government bureaucracy, but trying to be a catalyst to help people solve a problem at the grass-roots level that is nevertheless a national problem and therefore needs a national response.
I'll give you another example that we're going to be talking more about tomorrow in New Hampshire, that's the crime bill where we have a program that provides matching funds to communities to hire 100,000 more police officers. We did that because even though there are a lot of people like you who want to be police officers, the violent crime rate tripled in 30 years, and the number of people on the beat only went up by 10 percent. That had the perverse impact of actually taking police off the beat. Why? Because as population goes up, as crime goes up, you need more people in cars covering a wider territory. And as it got more dangerous, you had to put two people in cars, instead of one.
So we said, okay, we're not going to tell people do they hire Juan or George, or how to train them, or where to deploy them, but there is a national need for this. That's the debate we're having. That's why I have tried to say that I would support a balanced budget plan but we shouldn't cut any educational investments. Because we know, as a practical matter, that the level of incomes Americans enjoy and their ability to have a stable workplace environment and a stable career depends upon the level of education with which they come out of high school, whether they can go on after high school, and whether, later in life, if they need it, they can get further education.
So my view is, we shouldn't cut these things. But I think I've given you the fair argument on the other side. The fair argument on the other side is, we have to have a national defense, and that's something only the federal government can do. So if there's anything else we're doing, we have a debt, you ought to cut it off. I mean, that's basically their argument. I think we can find a happy middle ground here, and we're working on it.
Now, you should know also -- I don't want to bore you with a lot of details here. The balanced budget debate is over a seven-year balanced budget plan. In addition to the seven-year balanced budget plan, we actually have to pass an annual budget every year. So both of us now are trying to reach agreement on the remainder of this year's budget in a way that would be consistent with the overall balanced budget plan that we both presented. That is, we haven't reached agreement on the plan, but both of us say we've got to balance the budget in seven years now.
I have argued for an increase from their position in investments in education, training, technology, research, and the environment, and saving money in some other ways so we can stay on the same budget project. But that's just so you'll know -- the reason I said that is I want all of you, as this debate unfolds, whenever there's a debate about anything that we do in Washington, you should ask yourself the question and debate it just the way I debated it. And I think I gave you a fair statement of the Republican congressional position.
Sometimes you might think they're right, sometimes you might think I'm right. But that's the kind of debate we're having in Washington about what we should and shouldn't do with the money you send us up there.
Q Mr. President, I'm Charles Michakels* from Rivier College in Nashua. We're involved with the Partnership in several different ways. One way that I think that is particularly interesting is one that I know you've supported, and that's the Goals 2000 Program. We think Goals 2000 is a very important part of the teacher training that we do so that our students know the kinds of standards that are expected of our young people. The School-to-Work initiative interfaces with that because it gives us a very practical, very real context that teachers in training then can apply in the work that they do as student teachers, and then when they get out into the field.
We've also been very encouraged by graduate students, like Michael and others, who have come back to take courses to look at ways in which they can combine both these approaches. And I, for one, want to applaud you as a former superintendent of schools -- and I was a college professor -- for your leadership not only in this school, the works initiative, but especially for your work with Goals 2000. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Actually, the Goals 2000 Program grew out of work that the governors did before I became President. It started in 1989 when the governors met with President Bush at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. And at that time, I was the designated representative of the Democratic governors. And along with the designated representative of the Republican governors and a couple of other people, we stayed up all night long, hammering out these national education goals.
So the idea was, we should have national goals, they should be -- in as far as possible, they should be measurable goals, then every state should agree to a recognized and accurate system of measuring whether we're meeting the goals so they would know how all of the students were doing, and school districts should as well, but that the federal government should in no way be involved in telling schools how they should meet those goals. And any of the funds we put out, we should put out at the grass-roots level to support all kinds of experimentation.
The maximum level of flexibility and creativity for people, let's say, now, what is high standards in math and science, for example, or a dropout rate not to exceed 10 percent in the aggregate of any given class. And then you say, well, how are you going to measure that? And you agree on how you're going to measure it, and then all the rest is up to the local school districts, the schools, working with the states. That's what I believe the system ought to be, and that's what we've tried to design, and I thank you for that.
Q Unfortunately, we've run out of time here today and I'd just again like to thank you all for coming. And, Mr. President, if you have some closing remarks, we'd welcome them.
THE PRESIDENT: The only thing I'd like to say in closing is, I would like to thank the employers who participate in this, very, very much. I would like to thank the educators who support it and make it work. And I would like to thank the students and their parents who participate in it.
And if I could just say one thing, I hope that all of you will continue to support this program, and I hope there will come a time when every student in the state of New Hampshire and every student in the United States who would like to be a part of this program has a constructive opportunity to do so. It's not a program, it is a partnership. I will say again: We have got to abolish the line between what is academic and what is vocational and learning, and we've got to abolish the line between school and work.
Learning is now going to be a lifetime endeavor, and learning should be seen as a dignified form of work, and we should all get together and help each other to do it, and you have set a superb example here, and I am very grateful to you.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(* Spellings are phonetic.)
END 5:25 P.M. EST