Comprehensive Employment and Training Act

The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA, Pub.L. 93–203) was a United States federal law enacted by the Congress, and signed into law by President Richard Nixon December 28, 1973[1] to train workers and provide them with jobs in the public service. The bill was introduced as S. 1559, the Job Training and Community Services Act,[2] by Senator Gaylord Nelson (Democrat of Wisconsin) and co-sponsored by Senator Jacob Javits (Republican of New York).

CETA funds were administered in a decentralized fashion by state and local governments, on the assumption that they could best determine local needs.[3]

The program offered work to those with low incomes and the long term unemployed as well as summer jobs to low income high school students. Full-time jobs were provided for a period of 12 to 24 months in public agencies or private not for profit organizations. The intent was to impart a marketable skill that would allow participants to move to an unsubsidized job. It was an extension of the Works Progress Administration program from the 1930s.

Inspired by the WPA's employment of artists in the service to the community in the 1930s, the San Francisco Arts Commission initiated the CETA/Neighborhood Arts Program in the 1970s, which employed painters, muralists, musicians, performing artists, poets and gardeners to work in schools, community centers, prisons and wherever their skills and services were of value to the community. The idea for CETA/Neighborhood Arts Program came from John Kreidler, then working with the Arts Commission as an intern, with the Arts Commission's Neighborhood Arts Program under the direction of Stephen Goldstine.[4] The program was so successful in San Francisco that it became a model for similar programs, nationally. The Cultural Council Foundation Artists Project in New York City was one of the largest.

Nine years later, CETA was replaced by the Job Training Partnership Act.[5]


  1. Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T., "Statement on Signing the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, December 28, 1973", The American Presidency Project, retrieved 2012-08-30
  2. "Bill Summary & Status, 93rd Congress (1973-1974), S.1559". THOMAS. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  3. Maureen A. McLaughlin; United States. Congressional Budget Office (1981). Effects of eliminating public service employment. The Office. pp. 13–.
  5. "WB - Our History (An Overview 1920 - 2012)". Retrieved 2015-10-13.
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