U. S. Department of Labor and Bell Atlantic
First-in-the-Nation Hiring Partnership
New Program Will Recruit, Hire and Train Employees
October 28, 1999
WASHINGTON -- In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the United States
Department of Labor and Bell Atlantic today announced an agreement aimed at
bringing diverse qualified workers into the booming telecommunications industry.
In its initial phase -- extending across Bell Atlantic's service area from Maine to
Virginia -- the program will focus on recruiting, screening and, where necessary,
providing pre-employment training for jobs at Bell Atlantic.
"This agreement will create a whole new pipeline of future workers while
reducing our costs to find and hire qualified workers," said Ivan Seidenberg,
chairman and CEO of Bell Atlantic. "Over the next year, at least 2,000
good-paying, union-represented jobs at Bell Atlantic will go to people who have
not traditionally been part of the workforce -- people on welfare, laid off workers,
disadvantaged youth and adults, and people with disabilities."
This is the first time that a company the size of Bell Atlantic has entered into a
national agreement for a partnership with the "Workforce Development
System" -- a federally funded program supporting local and state job
placement programs. For the past 17 years, the system has been operating under
the terms of the "Job Training Partnership Act." Last year, the
President and Congress agreed on a sweeping reform of that system called the
"Workforce Investment Act." The purpose of this reform was to help
match potential workers with private sector jobs.
The agreement between Bell Atlantic and the U.S. Labor Department is heralded
as a milestone for the new workforce system.
"This step by Bell Atlantic is exactly what we hoped for with the new jobs
network," Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman said. "It means that
corporate America recognizes the value of the system we're building and is
willing to commit to ensuring its success."
The overriding goal of the law -- which goes into effect July 1, 2000 -- is to have
the Workforce Development System be fully responsive to the needs of employers
like Bell Atlantic. "This partnership is direct testimony to the effectiveness
of the law, which brings government and big business together to solve workforce
needs," said Secretary Herman.
Although this program is federally funded, Bell Atlantic decided to enter this
process as an equal partner with the U.S. Government. "The benefits to
Bell Atlantic are substantial," Seidenberg said. "In the high tech
arena, we can't afford to miss any qualified applicants for jobs and this program
jump starts the whole process."
Both the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers support the agreement between Bell Atlantic and the U.S.
Department of Labor.
NOTE TO EDITORS: There will be a call in news conference today (10/28/99)
at 2:30 p.m. with Ivan Seidenberg and Secretary Herman. The call in number is
904-779-4756. The conference chair is Carl Fillichio.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and nearly 10 million
wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of
advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and
the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies
are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global
communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.
New Hire Partnership
This first-of-its-kind partnership between the U.S. Government and
the private sector will recruit, screen and where necessary, train
future new hires to the standards of Bell Atlantic.
The established goal for the program is to recruit, screen and place
not less than 2,000 new employees within Bell Atlantic over the
next 12 months, including people who have not traditionally been
part of the workforce -- people on welfare, laid off workers,
disadvantaged youth and adults, and people with disabilities.
Department of Labor Involvement
For the past 17 years, the federally supported state and local job
training system has been operating under the terms of the
"Job Training Partnership Act." Last year, the
President and the Congress agreed on a sweeping reform of that
system called the "Workforce Investment Act" (WIA).
This partnership is evidence that the public workforce development
system can meet the requirements of a "high
technology" broad-based company like Bell Atlantic. Other
companies should follow-suit.
Benefits to Bell Atlantic
Although this program is federally funded, Bell Atlantic decided to
enter this process as an equal partner with the U.S. government
because the benefits to Bell Atlantic are substantial.
This creates an entirely new "pipeline" of workers for
Bell Atlantic. The Department of Labor will recruit, screen, and
where desirable, provide pre-employment training to the standards
of Bell Atlantic with consistency across our region. This will
reduce the cost for recruitment, screening, and pre-employment
training requirements of Bell Atlantic.
In the high tech arena, we can't afford to overlook any sources of
qualified applicants, and this program jump-starts the whole