Alexis M. Herman, director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Women of America for 1978 in an awards ceremony at the Capitol Hilton this week.

Herman, 31, represented the District in the national competition and was chosen from among 43,000 applicants.

The award, established in 1963 by Margaret Arnold, then president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, recognizes the civic and professional achievements of women between the ages of 21 and 35.

Herman, the highest ranking black woman in the Labor Department, was appointed to the position by President Carter. She took office in March 1977 as the youngest director in the 58-year history of the Women's Bureau.

At the ceremony, the 10 women were given silver bowls inscribed with their names and the honorary title.

Bennetta B. Washington, wife of Mayor Walter E. Washington, told the audience, "The city of Washington and all our constituents are so proud of these young women. One of our honorees (Herman) is also one of my greatest colleagues in the Department of Labor. She is really, really opening new paths."

Alma Hager, service director of the National Council of Catholic Women, introduced Herman and presented her award.

After being introduced as "the youngest director in the history of the women's bureau," Herman thanked Hager and said, "I told Alma, 'If you're going to introduce me as the youngest director in the history of the bureau be sure to add that I've also aged the fastest.'"

Before coming to Washington, Herman was national director of a Labor Department program for minority women in Atlanta.

"I hope (the award) will expand my opportunities," she told the audience of more than 300 government officials and professionals. "By recognizing me at this particular point, it also recognizes the bureau and the work it has done."

During her term as director, Herman has helped advance women's roles in nontraditional jobs and implemented special programs to help low-income women move into the white-collar job market.

In recent years, she has received an award from the Negro Business and Professional Women's Club of Atlanta, and in 1977 she was the Woman of the Year for the National Black Women's Political Caucus.

"I think it's an outstanding thing," said Herman's mother, Mrs. Gloria Herman Caponis, who attended the ceremony. "I never, never thought this would happen when she was a child in Mobile, Alabama. I hope she'll be able to ccontinue with the faith people have placed in her."

The women were selected by a board of seven judges, who represented the military, education, national women's groups, political groups and the media.

Fifty women, out of the 43,000, were selected to represent the United States. Twenty finalists were selected from the 50, and then 10 winners were chosen this summer.

Other winners were Jan Leeman Brooks, training coordinator at the Center for the Study of Aging, the University of Alabama; Elizabeth Rachlitz Breshears, program director of the Oklahoma Statewide Family Planning Project; A. Jan Davis, author, lecturer and registered nurse, of Charles City, Iowa; Mayor Ginger Gherardi, of Simi Valley, Calif.; Nancy Douglas Joynerpolitical scientist and college administrator at Cedar Crest College, Whitehall, Pa.; Judith Grace Palmer, attorney and executive assistant to Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen; Stephanie Rich, professional actress and mime, New York; Kathleen Frances Stanley, member of the Hawaii House of Representatives, and Robin Lee Werre, chairwoman of the board of a sheltered work program for the handicapped and employment counselor with the North Dakota Employment Security Bureau.