When President Kennedy addressed the opening of the Convention of the AFofL/CIO in Miami on December 7, 1961 we were still in the grips of a recession (yes, another one), but were slowly digging out of it.
The concern at the time was new technology rendering jobs in the old technology obsolete. Sounds remarkably familiar today. Only then it was new methods of manufacturing, as opposed to now where the concept of "outsourcing" labor is looked at, not as different technology but where the cheap labor force is.
JFK: Thomas Jefferson once said, "If you expect a country to be ignorant and free, you expect what never was and never will be." It's not enough that our own home town has a good school, we want the United States as a country to be among the best educated in the world. And I believe that we must invest in our youth.
Secondly, we need a program of retraining our unemployed workers. All of you who live so close to this problem know what happens when technology changes and industries move out and men are left. And I've seen it in my own State of Massachusetts where textile workers were unemployed, unable to find work even with new electronic plants going up all around them. We want to make sure that our workers are able to take advantage of the new jobs that must inevitably come as technology changes in the 1960's. And I believe, therefore, that retraining deserves the attention of this Congress in the coming days.
Then as now, the operative word is "education" - something which appears to be on the backburner for many on Capitol Hill.