Joseph Walsh Jr., director of the Department of Employment Services, told council members today that the agency has reassigned dozens of youths who lost their jobs last week after DOES terminated an agreement with a job placement firm.
But some young people testified that they are still having problems, such as having a long commute to work or not yet receiving a job assignment,.They voiced their concerns at a hearing of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, headed by Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8).
Walsh said the problems are affecting a small number of the 21,879 participants. But council members are closely watching the Summer Youth Employment Program, which went $34 million over budget last year.
Myeeka Mullins, an 18-year-old graduate of Bell Multicultural Senior High School, said she was assigned to a Springfield, Va., office of the US Department of Commerce - a long way from her Ward 8 home.
Surita Mullins, her grandmother and guardian, said the commute is costing about $10 a day. Myeeka Mullins said in an interview that she fears the transportation expenses will significantly eat into her earnings of $6 an hour.
On another note, 16-year-old Dayshon Wagner said she was in the process of getting a job assignment but got lost in the shuffle of the city's dispute with the job placement firm. "I haven't gotten anything from anybody...Not a phone call. Not an e-mail."
Walsh later testified that records show DOES called and e-mailed Wagner about a job over the weekend, but she must not have received them. He also said he talked to Mullins after listening to her testimony ,and DOES would give her a job with a shorter commute if she wants tomorrow.
Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) told Walsh that he knows Walsh has "inherited problems" but hoped they would be resolved.