In 1972 while serving as deputy campaign manager for Hubert Humphrey, Lloyd Hand attended a luncheon in Los Angeles where he sat between Cornelia Wallace and Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia. Shortly thereafter Carter sent Hand a note inviting him and his wife to visit the governor's mansion in Georgia. Because of other business, Hand couldn't accept the invitation.

Not to worry, all is forgiven. Hand is back in the fold as the President's point man in an attempt to involve private industry in the hiring of the hardcore unemployed.

He was recently named president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of Business, the organization founded 10 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson, for whom Hand worked as chief of protocol.

"The government is spending $12 billion on unemployment, and there was no funded program to encourage the private sector to train and hire the disadvantaged," says Hand, 49, who left a Washington law practice in 1972 to handle corporate communications for the giant Cleveland-based conglomerate, TRW. Now on loan to the alliance, Hand will help administer a new program Congress is expected to approve: $400 million earmarked for local council (the majority of whose members come from the business community) that will try to make a dent in the growing numbers of Americans classified "unemployable."

"When you have 40 to 60 percent unemployment pockets in some communities, you have a terrible drag on the economy," says Hand. "Crime, higher taxes for social programs . . . that's inflationary. And the extent to which you can reduce those costs and convert people who aren't producers into producers, you have favorable economics and social import."

It's a long way from the days Hand spent as LBJ's protocol chief. He remembers that breaking new ground in those days meant suggesting embassies abroad consider serving California wines at official functions.

Today Hand and wife Ann live in a 16th Street apartment while they look for a home in the Washington area. Each morning, in a swing around the White House, they jog a mile and a half. Sometimes at night they spot their 24-year-old son, Chip, on a television commercial; a Los Angeles-based singer and actor, he plays the guitar in a Coke commercial and is the principal in commercials for Snickers candy bars and Freshen-Up gum. Daughter Cathy, 25, works as an assistant to television producer Norman Lear. Another daughter grooms and trains horses near Cleveland, and two other children are college-age.

(Hand is proof that Texans in Washington stick together: Joe Allbritton is godfather to one of his sons - Hand was once a partner in Allbritton's Houston law firm - and Hand is godfather to one of Jack Valenti's sons.)

If Hand can persuade industry of the wisdom of training and hiring the hardcore unemployed, he'll help the Carter administration realize its fond hope of slashing the size of the welfare state. While some experts put the average cost of on-the-job training at $1,600 per person, Hand says it's difficult to gauge the impact $400 million might have in fiscal 1979. Then, sounding very much like a graduate of the Great Society, he adds, "You can't put a dollar figure on the loss of dignity of an individual unable to break out of the poverty cycle."

Footnote: At that Los Angeles luncheon six years ago, while her husband was talking with Cornelia Wallace, Ann Hand recalls Jimmy Carter telling her he aspired to higher office. "Oh," she replied. "The Senate?"