Metropolitan Washington's Summer Jobs for Youth program, a project to identify more than 47,000 summer jobs for the area's college and high school students, was started again yesterday despite complaints from another youth group that few of the jobs are for District youths.
The goal of this, the 15th year of the campaign,is to find more than the 47,045 jobs promised last year by area businesses.
Prospective hires are not required to meet a minimum poverty guideline, and the focus is on college and high school youths aged 15 to 21 in the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Washington, and in Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery, Prince George and Charles counties.
A local organization called the D.C. Coalition for Youths, however, quietly distirbuted leaflets during a news conference yesterday announcing the summer jobs program.
The leaflets criticized the 47,000 figure supplied by the main program sponsors, the National Alliance of Business and the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade.
"Young people and their advocates object to the inflated numbers of jobs for youth released by the Board and the Alliance," the coalition leaflet said. "What they report are the promises for summer youth employment from business. Many of these are rehires. Many are positions for suburban young people. Only a few are new positions for District youths."
According to figures supplied at the news conference, last year the District received promises of one-sixth of new jobs offered although it has an unemployment rate for youths aged 16 to 19 of 38.2 percent, compared to 15.8 percent for the entire metropolitan area.
Janis Langley, a spokeswoman for the Board of Trade, said that although the program identifies a certain number of jobs promised for youngsters, they have no way of knowing how many are filed. Persons who are classified as rehired are hired the following summer because the employer is satisfied with that youth's work and wants to keep him or her on another summer, Langley added.
Kent Cushenberry, area chairman for the NAB, said that all the jobs are not filled although all are not filled through the city or county employment servi ces. Some youths come off the street, apply and are hired, Cushenberry said.
The summer program, unlike the Partner in Employment project sponsored by the same groups, does not focus on the "hard core" unemployed, Cushenberry said, although "we're not going to turn anyone away."
According to figures provided at the news conference, last year volunteers manning desks of telephones called local business and received promises to hire 47,045 youths. More than 12,000 were new hires, 7,000 were filled by youths hired the previous summer and 27,000 of those were jobs currently held by teen-aged youths. CAPTION: Picture, Mayor Marion Barry promotes summer jobs as Bullets over Abe Pollin, head of the business drive, listens. By James A. Parcell-The Washington Post