THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Cincinnati, Ohio) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release March 23, 1996
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN DISCUSSION WITH THE STUDENTS AND CORPORATE MENTORS
Schmidt Hall Xavier University Cincinnati, Ohio
10:40 A.M. EST
MR. PEPPER: Well, let me begin by saying on behalf of all of us how delighted we are to have you here with us today at Xavier and in Cincinnati. And we greatly appreciate your taking time out of your schedule to visit with us and talk about some of our youth development activities, our education program, which mean a great deal to all of us right here, and I know, so much to you.
You've come to Cincinnati at the end of a good week, as you probably heard from our Mayor. We've had to levies passed during the past week that are terribly important to our future, one for our schools and one for two stadiums that are so important to our downtown development. Last night you may have read that we got a team into the Final Eight, a tournament I know you care deeply about. Maybe not as much this year -- (laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I watched the game. They did very well.
MR. PEPPER: Looked really good. But we're pleased to be here and look forward to the dialogue we can have and to answer your questions on these programs.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. PEPPER: You'll see two things, I hope, in this bit of time together, two things that are driving and motivating us. One is the absolute commitment that our future lies with our youth, our kids and their education -- that's easy to say, but it's accepted in these programs in the deepest possible way.
I've heard you speak of this eloquently about a year ago in a speech where you commented that our society is going to be split along the lines of education, we'll be dividing it in the global economy that we've got. Those who don't have skills are going to be losers. And we are committed to not just some, but all our kids having these skills that they need.
The other thing you will see here today I hope is that we
know and have learned the only way we can do this is doing it as a
community. In aspect after aspect it has to be as a community. And it
was with that thought in mind that we formed the Cincinnati Youth
Collaborative that we'll be hearing from today, but many other
organizations, too, in 1988. And it is with that conviction that we've
worked together with just two things I'd mention -- leadership that is
really combined across
the community, starting with the cochairs -- the Superintendent of Schools, the Mayor, Mayor Qualls -- and myself, but much more importantly, the steering committee composed of about 50 people. It's reaching out really right across the community to the United Way, neighborhood organizations and -- I won't go through them all, but my point is it has been that plus sheer continuity and persistence of staying together and getting enough trust and mutual accountability built that we've been able to test each other, learn from each other, and know that together is the only way we're going to get a lot of these things done.
So that's really all I'd say by introduction, other than once again, thank you for being here. This is exciting for us. This will help us, and we look forward to our discussion.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
Well, I don't want to spend a lot of time talking. I came here to listen to you. But let me just make a couple of comments. First of all, to reiterate what John said, it is perfectly clear that no matter how many jobs we can generate in the private sector in America -- and our country has done a very good job in the last three years. We've generated 8.4 million new jobs -- by far, more than any advanced country in the world. The other six big economies together have netted out about zero. Three of them have created a few thousand jobs, three of them have lost a few thousand jobs. America is producing jobs.
But if we want all Americans to do well, to be able to get a job, keep a job and have a growing income, we've got to raise the educational levels of the country and we have to do a better job of connecting school to work.
Now, there are some things the government can do. We've worked hard to increase our investment in Head Start, for example, to give schools more funds to try to meet strong national standards, to improve access to college through a better college loan programs, and the national service program. I hope that Congress will adopt a balanced budget plan that will include a deduction of up to $10,000 a year for the cost of education after high school. I think these things will all help.
But the main role of government, I think, today is to work with the private sector and trying to keep the market successful in generating new jobs, but also to create the conditions in which at each community level in America, in every community in the country the business and education and ordinary citizens can work together to try to develop the capacity of every person. I mean, basically, that's what I am trying to achieve by the time I finish my service as President I want a framework out where the government's role is to help create the conditions in which communities can solve their own problems and get the most out of their own people.
And the School To Work initiative that we started back in 1993 gives funds to projects like this one, not to tell you what to do, but just to empower you to work together to move young people through education and then into the work force. And so I heard a lot of great things about it and I heard that John Pepper and Proctor and Gamble were particularly active, and that there were 1,500 other volunteers in this program. So I just wanted us to get a little more personal exposure to it.
And so, having said that, I'd like to turn it back to you.
MR. PEPPER: Very good. We'll go around the table and we'll get comments but, obviously, at any point, Mr. President, if you want to go in a different direction, you tell us and that's where we'll head.
First up is going to be Cathy Ingram. Cathy is the president of the school board of the Cincinnati public system, and she's got a few comments to make.
MS. INGRAM: Thank you. I think it's important if we all recognize that there has to be some linkage between the community and businesses and our schools and our parents. And the Youth Collaborative and many other organizations like that are those links that need to be broadened and need to be put in the forefront of where we're going with this.
I'd like to see the Youth Collaborative become the experts that they are in working with other businesses and saying to them, we can train your people to train your mentors and, therefore, we can spread the wealth of this, as long as we all get on the same page and make sure that we're working hard to accomplish the bottom line. And I think that that's part of what happens is everybody wants to do the right thing, but you head out in different directions trying to do it, and sometimes you're at odds with one another because you're headed not in the wrong direction, but maybe a different direction.
So the Collaborative -- it is important that we hold them there and allow them to be the experts that they have been, in trying to pull this all together. When they are -- at the poll -- very important to recognize that more than 70 percent of our voters said, yes, we're going to make sure that we're positioned to be able to make sure that our children get a good education. I think people are starting to make a link between education and their own economic concerns.
What we're doing here is very important, and I think that they've got a lot of work to do, we all have a lot of work to do; but we're going to do this thing together.
MR. PEPPER: I'd note that, from the very beginning, we've always had -- the collaborative of the president and vice president and the school board, most important to have that representation and that be part of it rather than be seen as a separate body.
THE PRESIDENT: I agree with that.
MR. PEPPER: Are there any questions? I wanted to turn to John Bryant. We are so fortunate to have John. John has been the Executive Director of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative for now -- what, five years, John?
MR. BRYANT: Going on six.
MR. PEPPER: Going on six. And thank heavens he has. A thing like this cannot work without incredible leadership, like anything else, and he's brought that to it. We could take two hours here, talking about our activities. We won't, and he has the daunting challenge of trying to say in a few minutes some of the things you think you would be interested in.
MR. BRYANT: Good morning, Mr. President, and welcome to Cincinnati. I would like to briefly discuss five areas in which we have put a great deal of our effort. One is our one-to-one mentoring program, where we've tried to create relationships between adults, caring adults, and young people. We currently have over 1,000 matches, spreading across grades 6 through 12, in all of the high schools, all of the middle schools, and about half of the approximately 50 elementary schools; in fact, more than half of the elementary schools.
These mentors are drawn from all walks of life. They make a commitment to stay with young people for at least a year. Some come out of the corporate sector, some companies have adopted a school -- assigned, or persons from that company volunteer to work with youngsters; others are just plain, ordinary citizens that come forward through our visits to church, Rotary Clubs and solicitations to newspapers, et cetera.
Another key component of what we've done is what we call "Building Bridges To Work." And we have done that through two programs. One is an earn and learn program, which is a summer youth employment and training program. For six weeks, youngsters are in school for a half a day and then they're in work assignments for a half a day. We have about 240 youngsters who are in grades 7 and 8 who participate in the Earn and Learn Program.
I might add, what we have been very successful at is raising funds, or pooling funds from different sources. The Earn and Learn Program is funded by a grant from Department of Education. We also have what we call a school-to-work transition program by the name of TCAP, which stands for Taft Career and Academic Program. That program began in 1993 with a 9th-grade class at Taft High School. All of the youngsters at Taft, all of them, are involved in TCAP.
In the 9th grade they get an exposure to the world of work by having persons come in and talk to them in four broad career areas, health and human services; business and professional; information, communication and the arts; and manufacturing, engineering and technology. Youngsters take field trips out to those places.
In the 10th grade the youngsters get job shadowing opportunities. There are courses -- one of the courses on what's expected on the workplace, work readiness kinds of training. Then in the 11th grade they begin paid work-based learning experiences. And you'll hear some of this from one of the students here who is currently in the 11th grade. We've got 120 youngsters out on work assignment in 70 different companies. The companies pay the wages of the young people. They will continue doing that also into the 12th grade. So next year when we have it fully in place -- that is 11th and 12th graders -- we'll have approximately 300 youngsters working in some 125 to 150 different companies. And we will follow those youngsters 18 months after graduation make sure that they're either in a post-secondary education program or that they're in jobs that they've been training for.
We're able to do this in part because we have an urban-rural opportunity grant from the Department of Education and Labor that have enabled us to hire what we call youth advocates. And we've got one youth advocate for each of 30 students. That youth advocate picks up the youngsters in the 10th grade and follows them through the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, and into post-secondary education. And again, it is an indication of both the corporate cooperation and the ability to use funds from a number of different sources in order to put this program together.
We also do a great deal of things -- a number of things in terms of student leadership and recognition. We have what we call the Golden Galaxy Award program that we do in conjunction with one of the television stations and one of the newspapers here in town, where we recognize 12th graders, persons who are going into their 12th grade, for their community service and high academic achievement.
We also do the Hamilton County Youth Conference that is done in conjunction with a whole host of organizations in the area where we pull them together. About 600 youngsters from 40 different schools come together to discuss topics that they have selected that they have an interest in from better relationships across cultural lines, teenage pregnancy, teen violence -- whatever the youngsters have selected as the topic that they want to discuss and work on throughout the remainder of the year.
We also, with those youngsters that we have in the programs
that are offered by the Collaborative -- the mentoring program, the Earn
and Learn Program, what we call a youth leadership development program
-- and those youngsters come together and get leadership training as
well as doing at least
one community service project a month.
The fourth item that's of tremendous importance has to do with what we're attempting to do in terms of building bridges to college. We started a last resort scholarship assistance program, so that if a youngster was going to college, it cost $1,000 -- he was entitled to $800, and we close that gap of $200. At one time we were spending about $500,000 a year out of Collaborative funds to do that. We want to see this carried forward, basically to perpetuity, and so two of our corporate leaders, Joe Fickler (phonetic) of the Kroeger Company, and John Barrett of Western Southern Life Insurance Company undertook to raise $18 million to basically build that into perpetuity. To date we have raised -- or they have raised over $14 million toward that $18 million.
We also operate a college information center in space that is donated by one of our carpet companies, the Masters Company. And there a person can come in and get information on how to fill out financial aid forms, how to complete college applications. We will shortly serve our 10,000th person since the college information center opened its doors in 1989. And the average age of the person coming in there is about 26-and-a-half.
I'll close with talking about the educational talent search program, which also serves high school students in terms of assisting them with college applications, preparing for the SAT and the ACT test. Again, we serve about 1,500 youngsters a year there. And that's a program that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, educational talent search. There's one other area, and I think I'll leave that and we'll come back and cover that at the end so that we can get some other input.
But the key thing here is that we have been able to pull together government, city government, the business community, the schools and the community, are all behind a common creation and a commitment to our youth. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, John. I think next I'd like to call on Nathaniel Walker, you met, Mr. President. He's at Schroeder, and I don't think he would mind my telling you that today is his 13th birthday.
THE PRESIDENT: Happy birthday. (Laughter.)
MR. PEPPER: Nate is a mentee in our program, and I've heard him talk on this once before, and I know he's looking forward to this.
MR. WALKER: I'm a 7th grader at Schroeder High School, a systematic magnet school. My tutor, my mentor is Susan Strain. She works at the Enquirer in computers. She is my tutor for four years. She comes by the school once a week for an hour or a half an hour. We have lots of activities together: going to the zoo, hockey games, roller skating and -- work day. She helps me with a lot of things. You can learn a lot from her. She helped me sign up for magnet schools, her and my mom -- my mom helped me. And I think she's very nice for trying to help me.
THE PRESIDENT: You say you spend about an hour a week with her?
MR. WALKER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you look forward to that hour every week?
MR. WALKER: Yes. (Laughter.) When she's on travel, she sends me a postcard and tells me when she's coming back. It tells me why she wasn't there or something like that.
THE PRESIDENT: You like that because it tells you that it's important to her, right?
MR. WALKER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know a lot of other students that have mentors?
MR. WALKER: Yes, I know one of them. It's a girl that went to my school. She said -- we got in the same magnet school and she's got a tutor.
THE PRESIDENT: And does she like hers?
MR. WALKER: I don't talk to her about that. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming.
MR. WALKER: You're welcome.
THE PRESIDENT: Happy birthday.
MR. WALKER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Hope you have a good day.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you very much. And next, I'd like to introduce to you Miriam West -- Miriam Mazuka (phonetic) right on your right there. And Miriam, for six years now has really run and created this one-to-one mentoring program which Nate is part of, and I asked her to say a few words about it.
MS. MAZUKA: We have over 1,000 very cheering* community volunteers that are working with our students in one-to-one relationships. And the students that are fortunate enough to have mentors, we are really seeing some positive outcomes. The students that have mentors and they stay in the relationship about a year, their academics improves, their school attendance improves, their attitudes about themselves and about school improves, and the older students -- fewer of those students have suspension/expulsion problems, fewer are dropping out of school.
Teenage pregnancy is reduced in that group that's fortunate to have mentors, and also, it changes the students in a very positive way, but it also changes the lives of the mentors. It gives them a chance to really change lives to give something back to the community, and kind of help us make a better future, because we're working for our children and eventually, they will be the ones who will step out into the community and become our future leaders. So they're doing a wonderful job in these one-to-one relationships.
We have over 1,000 students that are on the waiting list that want to be mentored. We know the program is working. We have people, CEOs from companies that are serving as mentors, we have skilled laborers, we have professionals, we have grandparents, we have housewives, we have college students.
We ask the adult, if you're willing to make a personal
commitment to be a friend to a student and pass our screening process,
we certainly welcome you into the process. So, the mentoring program is
working, our theme is "mentoring means growing together," and we tell
our mentors that the vision of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative is
that all youngsters in
the Cincinnati area will graduate from high school with training, motivation, work habits and the skills necessary to go into the world of work or on to post-secondary education so they can become independent and make a contribution to the community.
We think the mentoring program is working, and I'm very proud to be part of this program. And I think Nate is a good representative of how the mentees feel about it. Parents are excited about it, we see the mentoring relationship as a team effort. Mentors, mentees, teachers and parents, all working together to make sure the students become the very best that they can become. It gives them a lot of support.
THE PRESIDENT: And you say you have about 1,000?
MS. MAZUKA: We have 1,007 serving as mentors in a one-to-one relationship, and we have about 200 people that are just tutoring youngsters. And we have this one long waiting list of students who want to be matched.
THE PRESIDENT: How many do you have who want to have mentors that don't?
MS. MAZUKA: Well, you know, we stopped keeping track of that, because the list goes on and on and on. It's a matter of supply and demand now. It's over 1,000.
THE PRESIDENT: So it's virtually unlimited. So if you had a thousand more adults in the community who would do it --
Q We have a thousand youngsters --
THE PRESIDENT: -- just your students.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, maybe my coming here will help you get some more mentors.
Q I certainly hope so.
THE PRESIDENT: We are formally sending out an appeal to the Cincinnati community.
Q I'll just add to that by --
THE PRESIDENT: What's that?
Q -- holding up that telephone number. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's right.
Q You know, this is just relentless promotion, if go all around. That number is 475-4959, if you can't read it. And we literally have 700 youngsters right now who have held up their hand and asked for a mentor and we don't have it. And this does work. This changes lives.
THE PRESIDENT: That's terrific. Thank you.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you. Next, you heard John Bryant talk about the TCAP program; this is the school-to-work transition program at Taft, and we're fortunate to have with us today Vernelia Britton, who is part of that program -- in the first class, in fact. Vernelia is a senior -- junior, sorry -- at Taft and is working now at W.R. Grace. Vernelia, could you tell us a bit about your experience?
MS. BRITTON: Mr. President, I first just want to tell you a little about myself. I'm a junior at Taft in academic classes. I have two part-time jobs and I have a daughter who is one year old. And sometimes the pressure of being a teenager, 17 years old and having a baby, the pressure can be overwhelming. And sometimes I feel as if I just want to give up. But I have so much support from family -- and not just family, from my mentor, from my youth advocate, from my teachers. They're constantly pushing, motivating me to keep on.
And my internship, which I'm job shadowing at W.R. Grace, it helps me to feel confident and knowing that I'm getting a head start on the skills I need to be successful in my career. And at W.R. Grace I learned how to use e-mail, I use Word for Windows, I've made some flight reservations, and I do a lot of computer software. And I'm training to be a training administrative assistant and the TCAP program, Taft Career Academic Program, it gives me a chance to explore different career options and to decide yes, this is the job for me or, no, I'd rather go into another career.
And with all the skills I learned at W.R. Grace and with all the support I get from my mentor, my youth advocate and family -- I get a tremendous amount of support. It helps me feel confident in knowing that I can provide for my daughter in the future. And I think that the TCAP program is -- I feel very fortunate to be a part of the TCAP program, which is only at Taft now. And I feel very lucky and I have a head start and I'm just happy to be at Taft, and I feel confident.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know other students that are in this program?
MS. BRITTON: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Do they all like it?
MS. BRITTON: Yes. Every student in my class, a lot of students in my school are a part of the TCAP program. I believe it might be the whole school, the whole school now. And I started -- the year I started, in my ninth grade year, was the first year of TCAP, so there I really feel lucky. I've been through the freshman focus, the career focus. Now that I'm a junior I'm doing job shadowing. And when I get out of school whether -- if I go to college or if I just want to further my career after I get out of school, I have so many skills, training, and I can start at entry level at W.R. Grace. And if I move on to some other place, then I just feel like I have a head start.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Vernelia, that's great. Good job. You know, this program works by a lot of things in the school, but also in the work site -- having mentor and someone there who can bring a person in. And we're fortunate again to have Paul Laws with us today. Paul is from W.R. Grace, Paul is working with Vernelia as she comes into W.R. Grace.
Paul, would you comment on your experience and your involvement in this?
MR. LAWS: Vernelia is doing very well. We're very glad to be part of the program. We hadn't actually -- we were going to sit down and come up with plans for Vernelia when she first started. Like she said, her title would be training and administrative assistant. And at the end of the internship we'd like for her to be able to have the skills at entry level to be part of a training department or, again, resource type function.
We got started in the program, we got a telephone call from Mr. Bill Early (phonetic). And he talked to my supervisor. And my supervisor asked for volunteers, and we were fortunate, we had a total of 10 volunteers -- that said, yes, we'll do some -- we'll get together and form some teams.
And we also have another student working with us at W.R. Grace that works out of operations. And that's going very well. It's good for Vernelia, she's learning a lot. It's good for the company. Vernelia is able to really jump right in and help right away. But it's also good that in the future we'll have resources like Vernelia to go to that we couldn't possibly hire. Or if she decides to go on to college, it will give her better understanding of what her major study program would be.
And it's also good for the community to increase the skill level within the community so other companies have that advantage from people working with us.
MR. PEPPER: We feel great about the corporate response here. As John said, we've had 79 companies in this first movement take on and develop these. It's still early. We're only in our third month, but it's off to a very, very good start in terms of those job sites and the students coming together in a productive way. And it's a good comment on the corporate support of this program.
THE PRESIDENT: And does each company essentially take one student?
MR. LAWS: We have two. We've taught enough volunteers, we have two mentors on site. Actually, formed two little teams, one for administrative and one for operations, where Vernelia will learn various duties in the administrative area and another mentee will learn the duties of operations and plant, lab, along those lines -- engineering.
MR. PEPPER: It's typically one or two, but we go up to as high as six.
Q We can go up to six, but at the present time, we don't have any more than four at the present time. But in terms of the original planning, anywhere from one to six.
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I think this is so important because we, as a nation, we, for many years, made a strict sort of vision between a world of school and a world of work, and even within school between academic courses and vocational courses. And now, all those lines are blurring, and that's a very good thing.
You know, for example, some people learn better, learn academic subjects better in practical settings. We know that -- we also know that the world of work and the world of learning can no longer be easily divided, because people have to keep learning at work for a lifetime.
And one of the problems that I saw first when I was a governor, working with both businesses and schools, and then when I became president, is that we have no real system in our country for acquainting young people with the world of work and moving them easily into the world of work. And I think it will strengthen their academic performance. That would be my guess. And I think it will also ultimately, therefore, be in the interest of the business community as well to have these kinds of programs. I thank you very much for your work you're doing.
Q Mr. President, can I ask you a question?
THE PRESIDENT: Sure, John.
Q You may have a lot of people who want to be mentors, but they don't quite know how they can get into this thing or what they'd run into. Do you do any training of them? I think you would have a lot of people that might want to get into this if you did training. Do you have a training program? The screening program was mentioned, but not anything about a training program. And how long does that take? Because I think this is something that could spread to other cities all over the country. I think it's an excellent program.
MR. BRYANT: We have a training program, John, and it's very tight. Miriam, can you just take 30 seconds and describe it?
MS. MAZUKA: All of our volunteers are screened, and they must attend a mandatory orientation so they can learn to do some don'ts and hows of mentoring. But we offer ongoing training and support throughout the relationship. We have seminars on how to set goals in the relationship, active listening skills, challenges to educating and mentoring youth in the '90s. We have training on cultural diversity, understanding African American youngsters and Appalachian youth and being successful as mentors with them.
So we do offer a wide range of training. The more knowledge you have about it, the better you can do the job.
MR. PEPPER: One other quick point. The programs are school-based, by and large, and that means that you generally will have a large number of mentors and mentees on one school base, so there's plenty of opportunity, if you want to, to work as a group or with other mentors and mentees for some of the activities. Most people find that attractive, to have -- you know, you go to a skating party or go to some other activity so it isn't always one-on-one.
But your point on the importance of training and making it easy to get into is absolutely fundamental. And without that, the program won't do well.
I would just make one other comment on TCAP, Mr. President. And that is, is, John Bryant said the availability of these funds that came from the federal government on this to get it started, to get the pilot going for these youth advocates are absolutely essential. And I think to be able to use them for demonstration projects of this type with the thought, "okay, we've proved it works, we're going to need to get self-funding," is a valuable use of funds of this type.
I don't think we would be doing this program today if they weren't available. I don't think it would be done.
I'd like to ask Jan Leslie, if she would, to make some comments here. Jan has all kinds of roles in the community, but I think the one we'll talk here is Partners in Education, which is a program that works with businesses and schools on a variety of ways, and take it away.
MS. LESLIE: Thank you, John. Mr. President, it certainly is wonderful to have you here in our community. Partners in Education is a program that was begun in 1979. It's sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Cincinnati Business Committee, which is a group of 25 CEOs in the community very committed to their focuses is education and improving, particularly Cincinnati public schools.
We have over 100 companies matched with 80 Cincinnati public schools and eight archdiocese inner-city schools, and these partnerships do a variety of things, but one of the tremendous tools that happened when the collaborative got going with Miriam and her work with mentors is the focus of our partnerships to mentoring and tutoring, bringing the business volunteers to the school site.
The training that's offered, they will go on-site and train at the businesses, which is -- they make it very easy for a business to get involved and for a business to partner work with the schools.
Our partnerships go beyond mentoring and tutoring. We have engineers involved in helping math and science teachers develop curriculums that are current to the world the engineers are working in, and some of our businesses are not for-profit businesses -- their engineers go in and do wonderful programs on math and science, you know, in elementary school .
We have programs that have gone -- expanded beyond the individual partnership school. GE aircraft engines got involved at Aiken (phonetic) High School and discovered that only 17 percent of the seniors were going on to college. So they invested in a program that now has over 50 percent of those kids going on to college, and has been very successful for the students in that high school.
They then said, we need to reach down, we need to go to the middle school and help the middle school, then we need to get to the elementary level. So their partnership has branched to multiple schools. They then decided that all of Cincinnati public high schools needed college view to help the students upgrade the technology within their counseling programs, so they donated college view to all of our high schools.
So the business support in this community is outstanding, and the business volunteers give thousands and thousands of hours both on the local level, adopting an individual school, but also on a district-wide basis, helping Cincinnati public schools to, in the last four years, totally restructure their business operations, upgrade them to what the businesses say we have to have and the schools where, kind of in the 1950s when it came to their business operations and they helped to downsize the bureaucracy to -- public schools by 50 percent.
THE PRESIDENT: Really?
Q Yes, yes. It was a tremendous challenge for the superintendent and the board, but they took it on. And with the help of business volunteers and teams of business volunteers have restructured both their systems of operations and how they do their work. And the leadership and commitment in this community of John Pepper, of the Mayor, of the board and the superintendent coming together and being committed I think has set a tone for a lot of individual volunteers. But tremendous corporate support also.
THE PRESIDENT: Were you on the school board when this happened?
MS. INGRAM: The original plan for the change came in in '91. When I got there in '93 we were still fighting the battle and we're still fighting the battle today, because a lot of the changes that the businesses brought in that really needed to be done were looked at from some of the education side as, well, we're not making Kringles, we're not making soap, so it doesn't work the same way. (Laughter.) I had to get that in. Didn't you tell me I had to get it in? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I think it's very important. The administrative cost of American public education has gotten very high. And part of it is because of the school district gets their money from the local district, from the state and from the federal government. Part of it is because these programs have sort of built up over time that they have to manage. There are a lot of reasons for that.
But in a world in which administrative overhead is going down dramatically everywhere else because of computer technology and new management techniques, and where there's a limit to how much money you can raise, it's very important to be able to demonstrate I think, for matters of good education, that you've lowered administrative costs and put it back into direct education.
The federal government today has 205,000 fewer people working for it than it did the day I became President. And we have very good severance packages, early retirement packages. We weren't just throwing people out, you know. But with the smallest government that we've had since 1965, and by the end of the year it will be the smallest it's been since 1962, that helps us to get the deficit down and it also frees up money for real direct services to people. In the education context, that's real education programs, it's more of the things we're talking about today.
I know it's not the subject we came here to talk about, it just caught my attention. (Laughter.) I have to go meet with -- I'm going to meet with the governors next week, they're having an update on the educational summit we held back in 1989. And it's one of the things that I've been trying to get updated on. So I thank you.
MR. PEPPER: As you probably may have read, Xavier University, itself, where we are, has been very involved in the community with some very imaginative programs -- fellowships for students getting scholarships who embark on community service year around, also the summer program is involved. Sister Rose Ann Fleming is here.
Now, Sister Rose Ann, I learned this morning is principally working with athletes and giving them guidance in academic studies, but I think also is aware of this program. And we thought it would make sense to share with you a bit of what the Xavier program is, because it's fundamental. This University is located right here in the city. It's beautifully positioned to make a difference in this community and it's doing a great deal.
SISTER FLEMING: Mr. President, it's a pleasure to have you here on campus.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
SISTER FLEMING: I'd like to share with you just a few programs that Xavier has to influence the community and to try to foster development.
One of the University programs is called the University Service Fellows program, and it's analogous to the scholarships we give out for basketball players. The students that come to high school and have done outstanding community service are screened by a committee of faculty administrators and are offered full tuition, books, room and board for a four year scholarship education.
But in return they commit themselves to doing 10 hours worth of service every week to an agency that the University has arranged with in terms of community service. They write up the service, they report on it. And their second obligation is to foster the service component among the students of Xavier.
And we've been very proud of that program. A full
complement of that program there are about 20 students, we take in four
or five every year. And we've been following them very closely and
they've been on 60 Minutes and we received a great deal of recognition
for that. Another more recent program that we initiated a few years ago
is called the Institute for Community Capacity Building. This
concentrates on eight areas in
the city of Cincinnati. Each area sends us three students, and these are adult students.
And our work with them is to develop leadership capacity in them, to help them return to their communities and to work together with the University in fashioning the kind of community, local community they wish to have in these various eight neighborhoods.
Another program that I think is indicative of the kind of student graduate is called the Pay Setter program in Toledo. One of our alumni set up a variety of scholarships, about a dozen of them, for the Toledo area to take youth -- somebody like Nate, here -- and give them the opportunity of a high school education and with the promise of a future college education if they do well in school.
In Cincinnati proper we've done a program for several years where we identified 40 students six years ago, and took them through a six-year period, beginning in 6th grade and working through. Those that finished, made successful transitions from grade school to high school, eventually came here to college, and they're doing well. We still are following there tracks.
Within Xavier we have a series of special populations, one of which I deal with is the athletes. We also have minority students, we have scholars, we have multicultural students. And each of those groups has a special advisor. We try to help them focus on why they came to the University, of what the University can do for them in this environment. The way we try to get them to understand the progress that they're making toward a degree is really through a mentoring with faculty. In my case, it's basically I'm mentoring through the coaches and the faculty.
And I think to give you one statistic that I'm fairly familiar with, look at the men basketball players. In the last 14 years that I've been connected with the program, every single basketball player that has played for four years has graduated.
THE PRESIDENT: That's fantastic.
SISTER FLEMING: And we're looking forward to the same thing continuing. So I think for the underscoring of what has been said here today through the training and mentors and work with young people, like Nate here, a one-to-one relationship is the key to a successful development of the individual and that's what the University is all about.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
MR. PEPPER: That really completes the comments that we wanted to have the group make, and we'd obviously be glad to expand on any of that. Or if you have any comments.
THE PRESIDENT: I just want to ask one question of either Mr. Bryant or whoever else -- how many students do you have in your summer jobs and summer school program?
Q About 240 in the Earn and Learn Program. In the TCAP program, those youngsters also work during the summer, so there would be another 120 there. Now that you've sort of opened that as a question, we also have a broader youth employment opportunity -- or problem -- that we are in the process of addressing.
One of the things we are doing there is a arts work program. That's a summer jobs program that is focused on the arts. We will have 100 youngsters involved in that program. That will be completely privately funded. So 100 in the arts program, 240 seventh and eighth graders in the Earn and Learn program, 120 11th graders in TCAP and we have the whole area of other summer youth employment that we have to deal with and that was primarily youngsters who were funded through the JTPA funding.
I should also add that we have a program called the YES program, Youth Employment Services --
THE PRESIDENT: I know it well.
Q -- that also provide about 1,200 summer jobs. Our big problem is finding the funds to operate programs that address the 14-15-year-old population, which was largely served by -- funding.
MR. BRYANT: This is a major issue.
Q Well, John's outlined it. I know that you've been fighting for summer youth employment as well as youth employment in general, but I think what we've seen in this community is that a tremendous coming together of private sector with the public sector and the civic sector, really on behalf of kids through programs like TCAP and mentoring are very, very successful. But we also know that when we're looking at this school-to-work condition issue and we're looking at preparing kids to be prepared for the world of work, that youth employment, year-round, as well as summer youth employment is very, very important.
This community actually has been rallied, and is working to raise the money to ensure that we can employ kids who might not be employed if the cuts in summer youth actually stay where they are. And it's only happened because this community knows how important it is to give kids a chance. I know you've been fighting that battle, and I'd urge you to continue fighting that battle, because we need the federal government is also a partner in this.
THE PRESIDENT: If I might just offer one or two comments. First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you not only for being here today, but for what you're doing with your lives, because I think it's very important. And, secondly, I want to thank a number of you for what you said about these programs, and, John, what you said about the pilot project.
Let me say what the problem is. If you come from Washington and you come to Cincinnati, and you say to yourself: What is the connection between the national government and what we're doing, do they have any responsibility in Washington to help us do what we're doing here, and if so, what is it?
You know, when I took office, the deficit was twice as big as it is now, the national debt quadrupled; we had to get it down. I've tried to take the position that in reducing the deficit, we ought not to be cutting our investments in education, and we ought to be not telling local communities how to deal with things like this, but giving them some research fund or some pilot project funds, if you will, to help them explore what works, and then keep funding what plainly works, like the Student Loan Programs and the Summer Job Programs; these things plainly work. And there's not enough to serve everybody, so if we provide the base, then perhaps you can come in and raise money on top of the base.
So I've been quite heartened by what I've seen today because I know that most of this work has to be done at the community level, and that is a good thing. How could anyone in Washington know whether W.R. Grace in Cincinnati could take two young students, or five, or three, or 25 or anybody. So this has to be done at the local level.
What we must do in Washington is to make the national government relevant and trustworthy and effective for the 21st century. And that means we have to get our own house in order; we can't -- we have to balance the budget, but we also have to decide what it is we're going to invest in and what our objective is.
It seems to me our objective ought to be to keep America the world's greatest job generator, and then to make sure that our young people are trained to do good jobs and have successful lives so that they can be rewarded in this new world they're living in. And that means that a lot of the actual work and how it's done must be decided by these kinds of community partnerships, but the national government has to create the conditions in which they can flourish. That's what I'm trying to do.
A lot of the times, you hear these great debates in Washington, you know, they sound -- they may sound abstract to you. But actually, what the debate is, is a debate about everyone knows the economy's changed, that it involves more mind and less muscle, and it's more global and less local, and everybody knows, therefore, that -- and all businesses are changing and there again, the government has to change. And we're trying to define -- our great challenge is to define what it is our responsibility is to help you do what you're doing.
One of the things a President can do, of course, is to use the bully pulpit. I mean, I just made a plea for more mentors here. (Laughter.) But also to try to make sure that if we are creating these conditions, that people know what you're doing here in Cincinnati with the Youth Collaborative, because I think this is a good model that could be carried all across America. You know, I wish every community had this level of intense and organized partnership, and I'm very grateful to you. And I also feel that I have learned, and I think Senator Glenn probably feels the same way I do, that at least I think I have a clearer idea about exactly what our responsibilities in Washington are to help you do what you're doing here, and I thank you for that -- all of you.
Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. PEPPER: We're glad you're here, and thank you very much for coming. I guarantee it will leave us just more energized.
THE PRESIDENT: Great day. Thank you.
Nate, what are you going to do with the rest of your birthday?
MR. PEPPER: We've got a cake. We're going to sing "Happy Birthday." (Laughter.)
END 11:34 A.M. EST