Remarks on Signing the Youth 2000 Week Proclamation
The President. Secretary McLaughlin; Secretary Bowen; and Bill Kolberg, president of the National Alliance of Business, I thank you all. And let me give a special welcome to representatives of the Denver Nuggets, who next week are going out on the ``Fastbreak for Life'' tour, and also to the dancing drill team, the Kansas City Marching Cobras. You know, I used to be in the entertainment business, so I'm always delighted when a group of young stars comes to visit.
Well, Youth 2000 Week helps remind us all that the 21st century is just around the corner. Now, I still remember when they said that the 20th century was just around the corner -- [laughter] -- and before that it was the 19th century that was around the corner. When you get to be my age, you notice that every 100 years they start talking about the next century being just around the corner. But in one sense the 21st century has already arrived.
see, I did a little arithmetic before this ceremony -- I figured I might as
well set a good example -- and what I calculated is that the children entering
first grade this fall should graduate from high school in the year 2000. Now,
and women like you here today are reaching out a hand, showing young people
that you care about them, and asking them to care about themselves.
what's good for the children, not surprisingly, is also what's good for the
country. In the year 2000, we'll need a work force that is ready to meet the
challenges and reap the rewards of a competitive world.
But since our administration began, it's been our vision that to create a better future for our children we need, as a matter of policy, to defend and strengthen the family, the bedrock of our society. We need to reform our welfare system so that it encourages work and is profamily and does not perpetuate poverty from one generation to the next. Our schools must teach basic skills and sound values. They must provide discipline and be free of drugs. We need a criminal justice system that makes neighborhoods safe places to live and work, that punishes criminals instead of shackling police officers. Now, these may be old-fashioned and simple ideas. But they worked yesterday. They're working today. And they'll work tomorrow. And they offer hope for a future in which none of our children get left behind.
will change a lot in the future, but the permanent truths that built
So, I want to thank you and congratulate you all for what you're doing. And now, before I sign the proclamation, I understand that Ann and Otis have some introductions to make.
Secretary McLaughlin. Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to begin by saluting the young people here today and all the American children who started school this past week. This country's role on the world stage, as the President points out, in the 21st century will be determined by their preparation today.
Youth 2000 is about opportunity, and opportunity is based on education. By the year 2000, as our economy continues to expand, every qualified young person who wants a job can have one. But Youth 2000 is also about challenges. The job market and society in general is becoming much more demanding. In terms of education and skills required, today's youth will have to be better prepared than any previous generation. Teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, functional illiteracy, and other problems confronting our young people will place them at risk and perhaps they will miss out on the benefits of tomorrow's society. But if we prepare our young people for these more demanding jobs being created, I say they will be in demand. The sky will be the limit.
So, Youth 2000 is based, importantly, on five priorities: employment and economic self-sufficiency; improved literacy and education; reduced teenage pregnancy; lifestyles free from drugs and alcohol; and reduced violence, accidental injuries, and death. The life of every young person growing up in this country today can be an American success story if we bring employers, service agencies, young people, and their parents into the discussion.
Now, let me end by speaking directly to the young people with us here today: You matter. As Secretary of Labor, I know very well the important role that you will play in the future of our country. Now, we're all depending on you. We believe in you. We're proud of you. But if you work hard at whatever you decide to do, you will meet with a success beyond even your highest expectations. There is no more worthy goal than a bright future for our young people of this country. So, to all of you who are helping, who are working, I say: Good luck! You have our full support and my heartfelt congratulations.
Thank you very much. And I'd like now to turn it over to Secretary Bowen.
Secretary Bowen. Thank you very much, Secretary McLaughlin. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, it's a real pleasure for me to take part in this recognition of the Youth 2000 project. Mr. President, I'd like to introduce to you some of these young people who are what this program is all about.
there is Annette Pino, of
we have Ed Lucero, of
is Peggy Lee Rogers, of
finally, we have Andrea Taylor, of
These are all fine youngsters, Mr. President, and we believe they represent millions of others who, by the year 2000, will be the backbone of this country.
The President. Now, I have a proclamation to sign.
Ms. Taylor. Mr. President, we would like to present you this present.
The President. Thank you very much. I think it's a little too big for me the way it is there. [Laughter] But, gee, never had a cap that said ``The Gipper'' before. [Laughter]
Thank you very much.
Ms. Taylor. Now, we'd like to present you with the Marching Cobras.
Note: The President spoke at in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin and Secretary of Health and Human Services Otis R. Bowen.