The Carter administration will provide 450 jobs in federal agencies for the District of Columbia's problem-plagued youth summer jobs programs, officials announced yesterday.
At a District Building press conference, presidential assistant Eugene Eidenberg said the jobs would be arranged by the federal General Services Administration and would be primarily in fields like maintenance, gardening, painting and carpentry. The federal government will also provide an additional 150 summer jobs for youth outside the District, officials said.
The District's summer youth employment program is open to youths from 14 to 21 years old, but only those 16 or older qualify for the federal jobs.
Yesterday, Barry defended the city jobs program which has had difficulty in locating both the jobs and potential workers.
The Department of Employment Services says 18,860 youths have signed up for the jobs so far, although officials had anticipated a greater response. Some applicants have complained about a new signup procedure requiring parents to accompany the young job seekers.
"I have very strong feelings about families," Barry said yesterday. "We ought to create a philosphy in our community that parents ought to make more of an effort for their young people."
Perhaps a greater problem is a sortage of jobs. A spokesman for the program reported that despite predictions of at least 20,000 available jobs, only 16,290 jobs have been pledged so far.
In an effort to bring in more jobs from the private sector, a mayor's advisory committee on the program recently mailed letters to thousands of District employers asking them to participate.
"What we need is help from the private sector," Barry said. "That's where the problem is. If we can find the jobs, we've got the kids."
As for the 450 federal agency jobs announced yesterday, Barry said that since the federal government is the largest employer in the District of Columbia, the jobs would introduce youths to federal procedures and "might lead to permanent job opportunities in the future."