President Carter this week is expected to issue an executive order that will authorize federal agencies to hire up to 10,000 needy youths each year and convert them after six months service to career federal jobs. The action, which should be a political boon for the president in cities with high unemployment among young people, will exempt the new hires from employment ceilings congress and the White House have placed on agencies. It also will permit conversion to career status of 22,000 currently employed needy youths referred to government by community service groups.
The pending order is part of a committment Carter made earlier this year to the Rev. Leon Sullivan. Sullivan, a promient Philadelphia Baptist minister, is the long-time chairman of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC). Paid an administrative fee by the government, OIC operates in 150 cities. It provides training -- and candidates -- for jobs in government and the private sector.
In a June 9 speech to the OIC convention in Miami, Carter said he would make the "unprecedented committment" that he said would double -- to $4 billion per year -- the amount Uncle Sam is spending to find jobs for needy youths. The federal Office of Personnel Management is handling the program. Individuals referred to agencies by OIC and similar groups will be exempt from personnel ceilings Carter set in his drive to whittle back the total number of U.S. workers. The exemption would last for one year. After that, agencies must absorb the new workers into their total personnel ceiling by reducing regular hiring.
Most of the new workers will begin at Grades 1 through 3 levels of clerical or blue collar jobs. They pay from $7,960 to $9,766 to start.
The program will be a first in many respects.It will be the first large-scale exemption ever granted for career conversion, and the largest exemption from federal jobs ceilings imposed either by congress or the White House.And it will be the first time that outside groups will, in effect, be allowed to do what amounts to recruiting and recommending for government jobs. Most of the 22,000 employes already on board work for the Defense Department, General Services Administration, Agriculture and Interior Departments.