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The Social Context of Youth Employment Programs Elijah Andlerson This paper is based on field work in urban black communities and in-depth ethnographic interviews with individuals familiar with youth employment programs, including current and former trainees, supervisors, and community people with a wealth of experience with employment and unemployment. Its primary purpose is to provide insights into the social context in which youth employment programs operate. In part, this is a conceptual discussion. What follows, then, is not a highly systematic accounting of factors related to specific programs, but a more general set of considerations of cultural and community factors that have likely conditioned the effectiveness of youth employment training programs. The paper begins with a brief sketch of the early days of on-the-job training, in which ethnic whites negotiated the labor market. The social context of today's job-training programs is then described, based largely on the interviews. The third section discusses the values held by, and required of, participants in youth employment programs. A summary and conclusions section ends the paper. THE EARLY DAYS OF ON-THE-JOB TWINING In the 1930s the New Deal instituted what could be called job-training programs. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Family Assistance Program (FAP), and other "ABC" programs were initiated to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by the Great Depression. In post-Depression America, youth employment programs as we know them today did not exist. Rather, employers often emphasized on-the-job training. During that era, many employers in labor-intensive industries relied on the personal references of family and trusted employees for their recruitment pool. In that time, the apprentice system, or an Elijah Anderson is associate professor, Department of Sociology, and associate director, Center for Ethnographic Studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. 348

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349 approximation of it, was also of prime importance for industrial employment. Various white ethnic group members, the primary source of labor in large urban areas, tended to seek out their own kind for invaluable on-the-job work experience. Both the instructor/mentor and ethnic peers were genuinely interested in seeing the man "work out." And the man usually did work out, for the extent to which he "fit" socially with a supportive work group usually had much to do with his success. The following interview with an 82-year-old Irish American, a still-practicing machinist and automobile mechanic, gives a glimpse of the culture of on-the-job training in those years: In the 30s and 40s the guys didn't go to any training program. No, they didn't. They studied, themselves. They had a certain natural ability. And they used that natural ability. In other words, I know a lot of fellows in the automobile business. They didn't go to any school. They didn't go to nothin'. But they learned as they worked. They didn't know if this car needed a carburetor, they didn't know if it needed points. They didn't know nothin'. But they found out. They'd say, "Yeah, I can fix your car. Bring it over here." Then they'd get busy and try this and try that, and finally they'd know how to do these things, see. They'd learn on the job, and the job wasn't supplied by the government. Guys [employers] gave 'em a break. They didn't know what else to do with 'em. What're you gonna do with 'em? You go out in the country, the country blacksmith, he was the guy that fixed the automobiles. He was a general mechanic. As a rule, a good blacksmith is just a very, very clever person, because he knows an awful lot about the materials, the iron, steel, and so forth, tempering the iron, welding and all that. He knows all these things. But he learned it the hard way. He went in with his father when he was a little ... so high. And he grew up in it. His father taught it to him. Now my father taught me a lot. Much of the skills in that day were passed on father to son or mother to daughter. Uncles and fathers would help the youngsters. If they didn't have that, somebody took them in to help out in a store. A boy would start by going with a store, and they'd start out by sweeping the floor, cleaning the place up, and they'd say in a year, "You can wait on customers," and after a while they'd be in merchandising. They'd ease up the system. They were taught things. Everybody seemed to be interested in something. They were interested in this thing. They'd come in and they took a hold. The job training described above was common to various occupations, including carpentry, plumbing, and other skilled trades. Such job training occurred most often among white ethnics. Blacks and other minorities were occasionally employed and trained this way as well, but they were often required to accept the hardest, dirtiest, least skill

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350 requiring, and least well-paid occupations, which were essentially left over by whites who had preceded them (see Spear, 1967; Davis and Haller, 1973; Hershberg et al., 1981~. Many blacks who were able to acquire an apprenticeship in occupations such as plumbing, masonry, or carpentry were not allowed to join unions or to practice their trades the way white ethnics were (see Marshall, 1965~. Often, blacks fortunate enough to possess such skills were required to work independently, and at times sporadically, at less than union scale. The following comments of a 70-year-old black wallpaper stripper are germane: I learned masonry in North Carolina. Down there I could find work. Colored people often did this type of work. When I come to Philadelphia [at approximately 30 years of age], they "whites] wouldn't let me work. I couldn't find work even though I was qualified. So I went in business for myself, and started hanging wallpaper, made a living that way. I don't do that no more. I just strip paper, now. Some of the earliest organized job-training situations were developed in grade schools, YMCAs, and vocational high schools serving working-class youths. In shop classes boys were trained to run machines, such as lathes, and girls were often taught sewing and home economics. At graduation a friend of the family, a relative, or a teacher would serve as a reference for the prospective worker. In this way schools, friends, and families provided important links to the workplace, informally shaping the work settings of the day along ethnic and cultural lines that reflected their neighborhoods, schools, and families (Hareven and Langenbach, 1978~. Sometimes vocational instructors moonlighted at a local shop, where they were "regular guys," but also where they could channel their able students into jobs. A person trusted in one place was usually trusted in the other. Through these placements, the students often gained a trade for life and affirmation of themselves through work. Trainee and instructor alike obtained some affirmation of self-worth and perhaps even closer identification with friendship, neighborhood, or ethnic circles. Such channeling helped to create and support the peculiar racial and ethnic character of certain occupations. For the ethnic group members, these effective, informal job-training efforts were important steps between youth and adulthood. They were effective in part because they were heavily sanctioned by those involved, but also because they were part of a social system; the workplace was receptive to them. Such social connections and placements were crucial for the effectiveness of early employment-training efforts. People entering such relationships often did so on the promise that they would gain a job in return for their involvement. It was in just this way that young men and women placed in comparatively rewarding employment positions could begin to develop what would become lifelong positive associations with work. Furthermore, in these circumstances the work ethic could be affirmed and reinforced, not only for the individual

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351 placed in a meaningful job, but also for his cultural peers, who could look forward to the day when they too might have jobs. On the negative side, feelings of alienation and injustice could be generated and kept alive within these group structures when people were not pleased with their jobs or the way in which they were treated. In this way hope and expectations were formed and neighborhood solidarity gained. Unfortunately, as these processes occurred, work settings became resistant to incursions by rival ethnic groups and almost impenetrable for members of other racial groupings, particularly blacks (see DuBois, 1899; Spear, 1967; Clark, 1973; Hershberg et al., 1981~. Such outlooks and the employment practices consistent with them led to racial and ethnic competition, conflict, dominance, and subordination in a variety of jobs. This in turn gave rise to such evaluations, conceptions, and labels as the "black job," the "white job," "men's work," and, of course, "women's work." MODERN JOB-TRAINING PROGRAMS In the 1960s, during the days of the Kennedy administration, job training became more formal, and government-sponsored programs were more firmly established. Bureaucratic rules were developed and elaborated, and a variety of spin-offs were later instituted (see Ginzburg, 1980; Stromsdorfer, 19801. Initially, many participants in these programs were ethnic whites. Over time, the racial and ethnic identities of both instructors and trainees in employment programs began to change. Colored minorities began to make up an increasingly significant portion of program participants. Under these circumstances, the general effectiveness of work- training programs was severely tested and often found wanting. The solutions for the employment problems of white ethnics often did not work well for blacks and other nonwhites. In the earlier period the ethnic and cultural organization of the ethnic neighborhoods was compatible with that of the work settings into which the trainees moved; in the later period contrasting, if not conflicting, ethnic populations were expected to work together. Although the work settings had formerly been receptive to white trainees, they were not now so for blacks. Discrimination was a problem, to be sure, but also important, the nature of the world of work was undergoing crucial and far-reaching changes. With widespread and increasing automation and technological development, a certain social fit between training and employment contexts had been lost. Moreover, the structure of employment opportunities that had awaited the ethnic whites was declining as large numbers of blacks and Puerto Ricans attempted to negotiate the labor market (see Doeringer and Piore, 1971; Wilson, 1980; Hershberg et al., 1981~. Furthermore, the various social connections to the workplace that had been critical to the successful employment efforts of whites were largely lacking for blacks. It is this lack of social connections and linkages to training and employment contexts that continues to be an important consideration in the effectiveness of current job-training programs.

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352 Instructors and Trainees In many instances, the instructors in programs of the 1960s were ethnic whites who were fond of remembering how they "came up the hard way," at times invoking the American "bootstrap theory" of social mobility (see Hershberg, 1981~. Increasingly, however, many of the new trainees were young black men from urban ghettoes, people their instruc- tors could readily compare negatively with advantaged whites and label as "out to get something for nothing." To many white ethnics, these young black men represented a threat (see Blumer, 1958; Pettigrew, 1980). In earlier times when mentors taught their proteges a trade or work skill, the process was often slow and guided by the cautious develop- ment of trust among participants. The "tricks of the trade" and other occupational secrets usually were only slowly divulged to "worthy," "likable," and "able" trainees, evaluations that were made subjectively and at tines arbitrarily. When young black men were introduced into this type of job training, to be instructed largely by white working-class instructors, the scenario became extremely complicated. A certain amount of tension between divergent cultural groups may be anticipated and perhaps dismissed as normal happenstance. But with the introduction of race and the resulting competition for "power resources," many such instructors were no longer able to view themselves as simply passing on skills and trades to deserving youths (see Bonney, 1972; Wilson, 1973; Kornblum, 1974~. Rather, the instructor, who may have viewed himself as a master craftsman, might have sensed that his own group interests were threatened by the prospect of training young black men for occupa- tions once held by members of the instructor's own ethnic group. The instructor was likely to experience some difficulty, if not profound psychological dissonance, in teaching something so dear to him as his trade to people generally defined as outcasts making spirited assaults on areas of influence and privilege traditionally (and legally) reserved for others he might more readily identify as his own kind (see Blumer, 1958; Goffman, 1963; Higginbotham, 1978~. Instructors at times resolved this dissonance by approaching minority trainees with a dubious attitude. Doubtful of the basic potential of ghetto youths, they often relied on racial stereotypes in their dealings with them. But equally important, black trainees were often suspicious of their instructors, at times believing them to harbor racist attitudes and approaching them only with a certain amount of hesitancy and caution. What was ostensibly begun as an instructor- trainee relationship sometimes became a full-blown racial, ethnic, and class contest. The problem of social friction between instructor and trainee is just one problematic area among many that must be addressed to gain insight into the more general issue of the effectiveness of job pro- grams. First, in addition to the attitudes of teachers toward students, the attitudes of the trainees must be examined. What is the manner in which these attitudes are expressed in both the job-training context and on the actual job? Second, it is necessary to examine the

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353 circumstances in which the problematic attitudes of instructors and trainees are expressed and to gain an ethnographic picture of the manner in which often conflicting definitions of the situation meet and become resolved or are left unresolved. Sources of Conflict In addition to what might be viewed as a problem of cultural background--the issue of ethnic or class friction or competition--there exists a more manifestly troublesome aspect of the social "fit" between instructors and trainees. The culture of the job-training program, and perhaps the culture of any school situation, clashes with the culture of the ghetto street. The hard-core unemployed are often the embodi- ment of this street culture. Even to the casual observer, their values appear to be very much at odds with the dominant, middle-class value system represented and often invoked by the staff of a job-training program (see Liebow, 1967; Hannerz, 1969; Wellman, 1977; E. Anderson, 1978; Auletta, 1982~. Certain manifestations of the culture of the hard-core unemployed carry over into the job-training setting and thus contribute to tensions between trainee and instructor. For instance, numerous trainees seem to have difficulty with middle-class concepts of time. From the perspective of the staff, many seem to lack interest in being, or are unable to be, punctual; they seem to accept tardiness as normal happenstance. They may also be absent from class much of the time. Many display what is interpreted by instructors to be a "tough" demeanor; they appear to carry a chip on their shoulder. Some trainees appear to have trouble dealing with authority figures, particularly white male instructors. Instead of an attitude of seriousness, many youths appear to take a cavalier attitude toward the program, appearing simply to be putting in time. These (what staff members often call irritating) aspects of the trainee's manner of self-presentation aggravate the perhaps already negatively inclined instructor, who may be so inclined for his own group-identification reasons: it is very difficult to comprehend the influence of long-standing and real ethnic, racial, and class hostility in the current job-training setting. But it is an "outsider" class of youths--black ghetto street boys and young men--who by their life-style and demeanor, threaten white and even black instructors from the old working class, causing them to maintain a certain social distance in self-defense. The teacher-student relationship, particularly in an employment-training program, requires a profound degree of trust if it is to succeed, but this needed trust is often sorely lacking, which is another important reason that many of the programs lack effectiveness. At the same time, program trainees have numerous complaints of insensitivity on the part of instructors. For instance, some instruc- tors are said to close and lock the door at the beginning of class, refusing to open it for someone who is five minutes late. After traveling the 10 subway miles from the north Philadelphia ghetto, some youths are prepared to call the instructor's actions racist, if the

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354 instructor is white, or antiblack, if he is black. As one youth explains, "Five minutes ain't a whole lot of time." But the instructor is not inclined to see things this way. The instructor's attitude may be that this black youth fits into the category of a person trying to get something for nothing, without putting in the hard work. Indeed, some youths think 15 minutes one way or the other is simply not that important, or even that missing four or five days of school is of negligible import. But interrelated with the issues of attendance and punctuality are often the trainees' basic problems of a chronic lack of money and, thus, of reliable transportation to the job-training site. Unfortunately, these issues are likely to become confused and inter- preted as indicative of behavioral laxity. Many of the hard-core unemployed are likely to receive their "carfare" to the training site one day and spend it all in the next day or so. This population, not unlike those of the middle class or even the working class, has an unlimited list of "necessities" on which to spend money, from liquor to food. When their money is spent, they often lack a means of transporta- tion. Then, after repeated tardiness or absence from training sessions, they fall irretrievably behind, or their aggravated instructors may unsympathetically judge and treat them so; many then become unwilling or unable to participate further. Feeling discouraged and frustrated, many youths become convinced that the instructor, in being a tough disciplinarian, is not all that supportive or interested in seeing them succeed. The instructor may respond, "Well, if this was a job and you were getting paid, then these are the real expectations. You must be on time, and you must come every day. If you don't come every day, or if you come late, then you're not going to keep that job for very long." Such a lecture makes good sense to instructors. But to many young people in a training context, such invocations, at times sharp tongued, of discipline, attendance, and punctuality may easily be taken as clear evidence of prejudice. Insensitive to these perceptions, and often with a strong sense of commitment to discipline, the instructor may believe it more important to get the trainee back in line. But getting the youths back in line is not a simple task, again because of what is often a basic lack of cultural compatibility between trainees and instructors, particularly as instructors are prepared to interpret the situation. The trainees often come from an urban environ- ment that has not prepared them to adapt easily to the rules and social etiquette of the workplace. Many of the hard-core unemployed are socialized and conditioned to be "tough" in their encounters with other men, particularly challenging authority figures who are white. They tend to have little faith in whites generally. Their demeanor frequently evolves into a kind of arrogance that is often a defensive display, particularly when confronted by potential threats or challenges to their independence and "manhood." Such a demeanor is thought by many to be absolutely necessary to survive the mean ghetto streets. After years of such conditioning, a youth meets the job-training instructor. In this situation, the youth must suddenly change many of the behavioral patterns gained through socialization, patterns that he has come to take for granted and to value. It may appear to him that

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355 he must now, in effect, humble himself in the face of authority that, whether assumed by a black or white person, is perhaps of dubious legitimacy. The value of changing his behavior is not completely clear to him; he has remarkably little faith, though perhaps much hope, that deference and time spent in the training program will result in meaningful employment. If employment-training programs are to be effective, they must deliver what trainees want most: meaningful employment. Many trainees must indeed be taught the importance of discipline, punctuality, and good attendance in the workplace, but at the same time, instructors must become sensitized to the special problems, cultural or otherwise, of the hard-core unemployed. The instructor should be able to recognize the cultural problems noted here and then display a certain sensitivity and patience in searching for creative and effective ways to teach and remind youths of their particular shortcomings with regard to the culture of the workplace. Moreover, there should also be clear and identifiable rewards for the trainees and their supervisors for effective behavior and attitudes displayed in the training context. Instead of sensitivity toward and appreciation of the cultural milieu from which they come, however, trainees often meet with shortsighted behavior, derision, strictness, and control on the part of the instructor. Instructors may feel justified in a tough and defensive reaction, as they believe there is often a need to compete for authority in this context. In their invocations of discipline, they often promote themselves as guardians of the values of work, defending those from their students, whom they must, however, simul- taneously teach and ultimately render employable. What begins as an instructor-trainee situation may quickly deteriorate into a contest of ethnic, racial, or class authority. Significantly, it is not only white instructors who may carry problematic attitudes into job-training situations. Increasingly, many of today's instructors are black and have often emerged from traditional working-class backgrounds. The job-training program is likely to be made up of black trainees and black instuctors. The black instructors may think of themselves as having worked hard to get where they are. Having themselves made it through hard work and much personal sacrifice, they may be inclined to be prejudiced against unemployed black youths. Their feelings may be manifested in an overzealous desire to turn out highly successful black youths, resulting in strong, and at times arbitrary, invocations of discipline in the training process. There is sometimes a fine line between the appropriate invocation of discipline for effective management of training and the manifestation of class prejudice in the form of harassment. Casualties of the Program Over time, some young people who participate in youth employment programs become frustrated and demoralized by their experiences. They simply become worn down by the routine of the program and, often because of their inability to make visible "progress," become disgusted with

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356 the program and its staff. Progress for them is to feel equipped with marketable skills that will give them a chance to compete effectively for a permanent, well-paying job. Lacking clear signs of progress, many become frustrated and resign from the program, at times in an attempt to retain a sense of manhood and independence. In so doing, many proclaim they would rather "give it up" (trying to obtain a job) than "slave for the man" (to engage in hard labor); a popular ghetto expression for job is "slave." On leaving, they are in effect "shaken out" of the program. Later, in discussing the program with any interested party, they often recall their worst experiences and characterize the whole program as "a waste of time." In bad-mouthing the program to other members of the com- munity, they seek affirmation and support in having been wise enough to quit the program. As they travel through the community, they seldom have anything positive to say about the program. In effect, they often only draw the cultural boundary between the streets and the programs more strongly and clearly. Insofar as they have prestige on the street, they then influence others to be loyal to the streets by rejecting the programs. Significantly, many individuals tend not to specify which program they have had a bad experience with, and their listeners often do not require specifics. In such instances, "the program" sometimes refers to almost any and all programs in existence. There is a tendency among community people with no first-hand experience to lump all programs together, not distinguishing between programs, be they federal, state, or local. Reports on a program, good or bad, seem to be readily generalized. As the casualties of the "program" move on, they fall into other situations that attract them. Some develop time-consuming new projects aimed at financial self-survival, for example a job with a fast-food restaurant, an exterminating company, or a factory. Chance plays an important role here. If employment fails to materialize, some youths have been known to involve themselves in drug dealing and other criminal activity for financial gain; people of the community readily make an association between idle unemployment and crime. Often, as a last choice, those with clear law-abiding intentions may attempt to enlist in military service, but often they are rejected. Through their travels about the city and the local community, they find it necessary to maintain that their decision to leave the program was a good one. A working conception of oneself and the program develops, complete with excuses and justifications for why things did not work out with the program. In this instance, many conclude even more firmly that a well-paying job for them was simply not possible through any association with the program. As frustration and disappointment grow, the program also loses relatively mature participants who have a measure of discipline and often the motivation to succeed at using the program for obtaining a permanent job. In fact, this is the initial goal of many of those entering the program. But when they fail to achieve this goal, the serious, and perhaps more intelligent, youths--those with a clear sense of options--move on, wanting no longer to tolerate the ''abuse" and

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357 tensions with the staff. For many, the main problem here is the prominent failure of the program to deliver on its ostensible promise: a permanent job. As they move on, the casualties leave behind in the program many youths who possess relatively little in the way of personal or social skills that will enable them to participate effectively in a job- training program. They leave behind those who are not so highly motivated, those with limited options, and the new recruits. Many participants are so poor they have hardly enough food to eat or even a reliable residence; alcohol and drugs are also persistent problems for some. Program directors might then complain that the pool they now have consists of too many "mental defectives, drug addicts, ex-cons, retarded people, illiterates." Such views, not only among staff but also among community people and prospective trainees, contribute to the stigmatiza- tion of the program and ultimately to its ineffectiveness. Values The generalized American belief in "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" appears at times to work against the credibility of government-sponsored job-training programs. Strikingly, "working for a living," the "bootstrap" ideal, and the avoidance of "government handouts" represent values that many black and other minority Americans share with others (see Hershberg, 1981~. Many youths would like nothing better than to realize this ideal, and they work very hard at achieving it. When such highly motivated youths become involved with a job- training program, they often attain a measure of success. In their classes, they achieve outstanding records. Highly motivated to succeed, such individuals are imbued with self-confidence and a positive outlook, despite the distrust and discrimination they encounter. They appear to emerge from a family and social background that, while financially poor, places much emphasis on self-discipline, self-esteem, and a strong belief in the "work ethic." As they negotiate the training program, they very favorably impress their teachers. When the teachers learn of openings, they do not hesitate to recommend such youths for jobs. It is for these individuals that the program seems most effective. They tend to obtain jobs and move on to negotiate certain areas of the occupational structure. But such individuals, emerging as they do from backgrounds of poverty and discrimination, tend to be rare. An important policy issue for those interested in increasing the effectiveness of youth employment programs is that of how to instill the attitudes and behavior patterns of successful individuals into other trainees. This would require serious and effective training sessions devoted to discipline and motivation. But there must also be some change in the attitudes of staff people who seem to expect too little from minority youth. Youth employment programs need effective teachers who possess the sophisticated knack for discerning the

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358 unexhibited potential of trainees and who are able and willing to help the trainees "find themselves." But at the same time, program staff must be willing and able to help place the youth in meaningful employment after they complete their training. Given the realities of the employment arena, including ethnic and racial competition and the prospective employer's often profound distrust of black youths, placement appears to be one of the most troublesome aspects of the training process (see E. Anderson, 1980~. Yet it is this aspect that ultimately determines the effectiveness of the program. Unfortunately, too many trainees pursue the programs, graduate, and are then left in the same shape they were in before they became involved in the program. It is this result that repeats itself far too often, lending credence to negative commentary on the programs within the minority communities. The comments of one former program participant are relevant: As far as I know, no one [of his job-training cohort] got a permanent job. Like, I got a job for a year, right? What could I have done? That was money I made and spent on clothes, a little carfare. You couldn't make no moves [to get married, for instance, to buy an automobile, or to rent an apartment] with it. Now with my program, the people made it for themselves. Now the director of my program went on to a multimillion dollar insulation program. He contracted his work out of Jersey, New York, and cities in this area here. Pittsburgh. He went to Reading, little cities and towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware. But he did not take none of those people that was involved in his program. And he liked me' But he never invited me to do insulation work. Because ~ most likely wasn't confident in what they were teaching us. And you knew it wasn't enough, because the extent of the weatherization program we went to was plastering holes, putting on the heat blanket, Mortite, caulking a window. That was the extent of the matter. But he took it farther than that. He insulated all the pipes of people's homes. He contracted all the work in all these new buildings. So before anybody move into these houses he was insulating them. What I'm saying is that the whole program was about somebody taking an interest in hiring these young people, to give them permanent jobs. That was the whole thing. That's what they were asking these companies to do. Yet and still this man took on a multimillion dollar program of his own. He started it without a dime. His name and a couple of his references got him maybe a million dollar loan from a bank [the accuracy of this figure is uncertain]. But he did not take no one with him. He took one of the instructors. He gave another instructor money to start his own glass block company. And these are now reputable companies. You look in the white pages or the yellow pages, and you'll see these companies.

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359 Because of such experiences, many youths approach job-training programs with a certain generalized suspicion of "programs." On many occasions, the program "advertises" itself on ghetto streets, where instructors and trainees, perhaps unwittingly, are at times under the watchful eyes of prospective trainees. Following are some comments by a black male, 21 years old, who only briefly considered becoming involved as a job-training participant: I was on the street once and one of the CETA supervisors sent one of the guys across the street to pick up some material. And because the store, the clerks, did not wait on him promptly, the supervisor came across the street and hollers at the guy like, "What the hell are you still waiting over here forth Get yo' ass across the street"' Now, I'm talking about seeing him do this in a store full of people, you know. I mean, the guy must've felt bad. I know I would've felt bad. And then the supervisor, after that, he turned around, he laughed about it. That just shows you how they treat the workers. In the foregoing incident both the supervisor and the trainee were black men, an indication that conflict and tension between supervisor and trainee are not simply or always a function of interracial relations but sometimes a function of hierarchy and the promotion of discipline itself. Yet, importantly, such incidents do little for the community's image of the job-training program. On the basis of such treatment by instructors, the already suspicious trainee may question the instructor's ability to make a commitment to teaching him anything. But trust in the instructor's ability is essential to any worthwhile mentor-trainee relationship. Hence, the relationship between the ghetto youth and the instructor is a difficult one and can contribute to the ineffectiveness of the general program. But equally important, in such scenarios, told and repeated in the ghetto community, "the program" is made to seem increasingly unattractive, again contributing to its disvalued status. Thus, in many communities, the program has a "bad name," and a reputation for being "a sham" and "a waste of time," leading many to believe that participation is not a very worthwhile way to spend one's time, even if the person is unemployed. This is indicated in the following interview with a 21-year-old youth, who had been involved with "the program" and had worked in a related job for a year, but who felt he had really not advanced from where he started: Boy, these programs~were very misleading, 'cause they were very unsuccessful. Led the people to believe they would get permanent jobs. And they had the right people there. They had the motivators. They had the people there who talk good [convincing], the cons, and all that. But I told 'em when they talked to me like that. See, I don't take things at face value. When somebody tell me "I can get you permanent work," I want them to take it into parts. Tell me why you think that. Do you know somebody who's gon' give me permanent work?

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360 The program was a waste of money, a waste of time, very misleading, and it got a very bad rep in the community. They got the community all involved. Now, this happened in '81 and '83. A number of the people wouldn't believe in it from the beginning. And the ones who do get involved will be involved only for the money, only if there's a salary involved. It's just a band-aid. Everybody lacks confidence in it. It was a political act. They hired all these young guys just to get them off the street. It would be to your advantage not to be involved. Because it takes up time, and time is money. You start off with confidence, but down the line you gon' be let down. I don't know anyone that took that [was involved in the program] that's now independent. If they were on welfare before they started the program, they got back on. The program is just a sham. It was just a political move. People playin' chess with other peoples' lives. That general population toward which government-sponsored employ- ment programs are usually geared, the hard-core unemployed, can generally be described as youths whose employment prospects are quite limited even as they enter high school. There, decisions are made that affect the scheme of their entire lives. The tendency is for the young black man from the inner city to either quit or socially "graduate" from a segregated urban school unable to read, write, or compute. Given the large amount of distrust for black males in the urban environment, he has little chance for permanent, gainful employment. Some youths may become involved in "dealing" drugs, which can involve anything from marijuana to heroin. Today, one does not have to be a full-time "professional'' dealer to be employed in the drug business; one can often engage in this criminal activity only part time, and sometimes for as little as a $10 initial investment. Simple participation is often contingent upon and a result of a need for money. A person may get involved in the illegal selling of drugs the way a gambler would bet on a horse or play a slot machine: he has money for the moment to gamble in the hope of a quick return; he may have as much as $10 or $20 and want to double it. He buys the drugs wholesale, carries them around, and attempts to sell them. Such behavior is in reality a large gamble. If he "wins," he earns a profit; if he loses, he could wind up as a victim of violence for selling "bad" drugs or for being part of a misunderstood deal, or as an inmate in jail if he tries to sell to the wrong person and is found guilty of possession. Although he may venture into drug dealing on a lark, he is very serious about his need for money. He may win this time, and if he does, he is back into circulation for a while. While pursuing this life-style, he continues sporadically to look out for a job. When he sees a sign in a window for "help wanted," he's uncertain that the sign applies to him; he believes he will be turned down. He has been turned down so often he expects "no," even though he may have witnessed the sign being placed. Prospective employers often stereo- type, distrust, and fear him. On an existential and experiential

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361 level, he knows this well. With a series of such experiences, he becomes frustrated and increasingly discouraged. At this point he may see signs on bulletin boards at the community center about "job training." As he looks into this, he does so with some suspicion, for he personally knows few people, if any, who have obtained a permanent job through a job-training program. Yet with few employment options, he looks into the job-training program. He becomes involved, hoping to gain a permanent, well-paying job. But he approaches the program with cautious hope. In time, he comes to see that marketable skills that would make him truly competitive in the workplace are not being offered. The "skills" that are being offered, he thinks, one should not have to spend time in school for. For example, after being promised that he will be taught carpentry, he is taught to caulk windows instead. He begins to believe the program is a sham, a waste of his time. He begins to lose interest, yet he has few employment options and desperately needs money. He will do almost anything at this point, though he badly wants a "good job," preferring to have a law-abiding occupation. Becoming socially involved with his fellow trainees, he remains with the program for two or three months. Later, he "lucks up" on a job caulking windows for $3.50 an hour and remains employed for a year. At the end of a year, he realizes that he's getting nowhere; thinking about his future he decides to join the army. He attempts to enlist, but he is rejected because he lacks a nigh school diploma; if he wants to enlist, he must attend night school or somehow gain a General Equivalency Diploma. Among some youths enlistment in the military is a matter of last resort. The following comments by a black, 22-year-old Philadelphia taxicab driver are relevant: I was involved in a summer jobs program. It didn't work out. They had me working at a hospital. But the people didn't really want me there. I was there for a couple of months, and the first thing I know, I was fired. I never could get a reason for it. They wasn't writing me up or nothing, but they did complain about me, little petty stuff. I got on [became employed] with the cab company and started driving a cab. What they really need to do is just get people permanent jobs. . . . The military has helped a couple homies [close friends] of mine. But I wouldn't go in. I would have to be coin' boss [very] bad to do somethin' like that. Unfortunately, many young men who are without jobs and prospects strongly feel that they have only their manhood and their toughness, and until they gain something better they will try to retain that. In attempting to do so, they often find a certain local acclaim and self- esteem among peers in fathering children out of wedlock, engaging in petty and even serious street crime, selling drugs, or burglarizing homes. They are often left to approach "trouble" for personal affirma- tion and gloat or brag about running and shooting encounters with other young men or the police. Their resolution of a dire need for employment and money is sometimes to involve themselves in some form of antisocial

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362 behavior, perhaps winding up in jail or in the military; judges have been known to give the young man a choice. In addition to the poor reputation youth employment programs have acquired in minority communities, it is important to consider the reputation of work as it is so often defined and emphasized by such programs. So often the jobs for which youths are being trained are thought of as dead end and menial; it is difficult for the youth to perceive the possibility of real advancement through such work. The training is often perceived as conferring low status on a person, who frequently possesses an expanded sense of racial and personal pride (see E. Anderson, 1980~. This again raises the issue of "strain" or lack of social "fit" between the older instructors and the younger trainees. The instructors in the program share certain beliefs and values concerning work, work settings, propriety, and the work ethic. Many profess to believe in "hard work's for just rewards. This is perhaps an outmoded notion in our contemporary society, especially among many ghetto youths who are mobile about town and are readily able to view others of their color-caste riding trolleys, trains, and buses and dressed in pinstriped suits and carrying briefcases. They have come to see this model, to wonder about him, and perhaps to desire to emulate him. Yet these youths have little real chance of moving toward being that sort of man, the young professional, if they are being trained to be a carpenter, and poorly at that. Common sense tells them that such jobs are closed to them and their kind; from their elders, they've heard the tales of discrimination, and many have experienced it first- hand. Hence, many youths approach the program with a limited amount of motivation. Many are ambivalent about the value of such a program, even if they were to be successful in completing it. For ultimately, the program prepares the young people for jobs many have come to see as "beneath" them, and hence, the more they invest in terms of time and energy, the more they believe they condone what is in their estimation an essentially inferior social and economic position, not to mention the boredom and toil that come with it. Yet they want jobs badly. Many older black workers, including laborers, masons, and plasterers, say that today's youth won't work. Perhaps, youths are growing up in a society in which physical work, in its strict working-class definition, is simply declining as a value. Having a job is surely important, but valued activities are often those that can be done in a suit and tie, not a pair of coveralls. The very place of the term "working class" in our lexicon, a place below all other classes save the very poor, is a clue to and passes along society's valuation of the place of "workers." Many of today's youths who do not want to work may be seen less as disconnected from society's values than as sharing the valuation a great many people place on physical labor; these youths are very much up-to-date and very much connected. With their high aspirations and intermittent, often unrealistic, expectations, they are simply under- educated, untrained, and lacking in the nonphysical skills necessary for entry into labor markets with jobs for professionals. In a sense, minority youths are held accountable to values of physical work that

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363 seem in decline in the face of increasing automation and technology change (see Wilson, 1980; Hershberg, 1981; and B. Anderson, 1981~. SUMMARY AND CONCLUS IONS The foregoing account illustrates how the earlier ethnic experience was very different from that of blacks and other colored minorities today. The job market was much more receptive to the ethnic whites, who had common skin color and a certain compatibility with the system of work. This general receptivity inspired many to be highly motivated. Discrimination did not exist to the degree that it now does for blacks and other colored people. Family and friends were often supportive, on and off the job. These primary reference groups helped them to "work out," in part because they were representing people who had helped them find work through word of mouth, but also because they could often identify with those they were joining in the workplace (see Shibutani, 1955~. Given the need for labor, there was on-the-job training for those who had no skills. Strikingly, this supportive environment does not exist for minority youths. Individuals--black or white--do not go out of their way to help such youths. Equally important, minority youths, beaten down by the specter of distrust and discrimination, are often resigned to their position. And because of this, many are unwilling or unable to recognize and seize opportunity. From both sides--instructors and trainees--there seems to be a profound lack of confidence in the ability of the trainees to make progress in the job market. Many who would employ black youths share this lack of confidence and often a prejudice that the hard-core unemployed and their culture are truly not compatible with the work setting. Such attitudes represent major obstacles to the employment of youths after they have completed job training and, thus, are important considerations for the effectiveness of training programs. The trickling out of talented instructors is another critical factor affecting the effectiveness of employment programs. Since national and local politics often play such an important role in the employment programs, funding is variable and at times unpredictable. As the programs receive decreasing or fluctuating funding, they become increasingly unable to attract and retain effective teachers who are likely to place their students in permanent and well-paying jobs. As the teacher's salary becomes uncertain or declines, he or she may lose a sense of commitment to the program. The better instructors may seek better-paying jobs, often in the private sector, or they may retire. Such people are important resources for the programs, in part because of their work skills and their teaching abilities, but also because of their connections with the private sector and their interests in placing their more able students. In the early days, it was just such types of individuals who served ethnic whites as effective links between voca- tional schools and the work setting. But these people are rare today, given the low salaries of instructors and job insecurity. Their absence bodes ill for the effectiveness of employment training programs.

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364 Increasingly, attempts are made to replace such people with their aides, who now begin to teach, but who are not as highly qualified as their former teachers. Equally important, they sorely lack their teachers' credibility and connections with the workplace. If former aides possessed such connections, it may be argued, they might take advantage of them for themselves. Participants in the programs at all levels often feel a high degree of uncertainty about the program's immediate future. Social and cultural tensions between many trainees and their instructors have perhaps increased. Yet the primary issue concerning the programs stems from the inability of the programs to place participants in gainful occupations. The largest complaint among black youths seems to be that the programs fail to deliver permanent jobs. More attention must be given to this critical issue. It is chiefly because of this failure--and perceptions of it--that relatively few trainees have positive evaluations of the programs. When the trainees obtain jobs, they often feel they could have obtained the job without having gone through the program. Some mechanism must be instituted for accountability in the training program. To be effective' programs must be result oriented. After training, participants must be placed in gainful, rewarding occupations. A novel but perhaps very effective solution to the problem of placement may be a guarantee of a job to each trainee who successfully completes the program. Such jobs would be preferably those in which the person could clearly expect a degree of financial security or mobility for his honest and diligent efforts. In this effort to solve what is too easily viewed by many as an intractable social problem, the private sector must become much more deeply involved. Along with the federal government, corporate America must play a more direct and important role in the training and placement of young people. Training programs must be made to work. When trainees are well trained and systematically and effectively placed in gainful employment situations, they will declare the program effective and successful. Then young unemployed people will be standing in line to enroll in job-training programs instead of having to be recruited as they are now. REFERENCES Anderson, Bernard 1981 How much did the programs help minorities and youth? In Eli Ginzberg, ea., Employing the Unemployed. New York: Basic Books. Anderson, Elijah 1978 A Place on the Corner. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago - Press. 1980 Some observations on black youth employment. Pp. 64-87 in Bernard Anderson and Isabel Sawhill, eds., Youth Employment and Public Policy. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall

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365 Auletta, Ken 1982 The Underclass. New York: Random House. Blumer, Herbert 1958 Race prejudice as a sense of group position. Pacific Sociological Review 1~1~. Bonney, Norman 1972 Unwelcome Strangers. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Chicago. Clark, Dennis 1973 The Philadelphia Irish. In Allen Davis and Mark Haller, eds., The Peoples of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press. Davis, Allen, and Mark Hailer 1973 The Peoples of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press. Doeringer, Peter B., and Michael J. Piore 1971 Internal Labor Markets and Manpower Analysis. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath. DuBois, W.E.B. 1899 The Philadelphia Negro. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Ginzburg, Eli 1980 Employing the Unemployed. New York: Basic Books. Goffman, Erving 1963 Stigma. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Hannerz, Ulf 1969 Soulside. New York: Columbia University Press. Hareven, Tamara, and Randolph Langenbach 1978 Ameskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-CitY. New York: Pantheon Books. Hershberg, Theodore, ed. 1981 Philadelphia: Work, Space, Family, and Group Experience in the 19th Century. New York: Oxford University Press. Hershberg, Theodore, Alan N. Burstein, Eugene P. Ericksen, Stephanie W. Greenberg, and William L. Yancey 1981 A tale of three cities: blacks, immigrants, and opportunity in Philadelphia, 1850-1880, 1930, 1970. In Theodore Hershberg, ea., Philadelphia: Work, Space, Family, and Group Experience in the 19th Century. New York: Oxford University Press. Higginbotham, Leon 1978 In the Matter of Color. New York: Oxford University Press. Kornblum, William 1974 Blue Collar Community. Chicago, Ill. University of Chicago Press. Liebow, Elliot 1967 Tally's Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men. Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown. Marshall, Ray 1965 The Negro and Organized Labor. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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365 Pettigrew, Thomas 1980 Prejudice. Pp. 820-829 in Stephan Thernstrom, ea., The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Shibutani, Tomatsu 1955 Reference groups as perspectives. Sociology 60(May):562-569. American Journal of Spear, Allan 1967 Black Chicago. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press. Stromsdorfer, Ernst WO 1980 The effectiveness of youth programs. Pp. 88-111 in Bernard Anderson and Isabel Sawhill, eds., Youth Employment and Public Policy. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Wellman, David 1977 Putting on the poverty program. Problems in Political Economy. In David M. Gordon, ea., Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath. Wilson, William J. 1973 Power, Racism, and Privilege. New York: Macmillan. 1980 The Declining Significance of Race. 2d edition. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press.