District of Columbia officials have estimated that at least 19,000 youths have registered for the city's summer jobs program this year -- a program that they say will operate on a smaller scale but in a more efficient manner than those of earlier, problem-plagued years.

While final figures will not be available for another day or so, Jackie Threadgill, public relations spokesperson for the program, said that 1,100 young people signed up for the program over the weekend before the close of registration Sunday afternoon.

City officials will check out each of the applicants to make sure they quality for the program, then screen them to determine whether they quality for federal money earmarked for low-income youths or will be paid entirely by the D.C. government.

Last year, the announced goal of the program was to supply 30,000 jobs for young people. This figure ultimately was scaled down to about 22,000 in a program that was marred throughout the summer by various difficulties.

Threadgill said the D.C. Employment Department, which operates the summer program, now has about 20,000 job pledges from employers -- most of them in government or community-service sectors -- looking for summer help. The program's organizers said they plan to employ a total of 18,300 youths.

With registration completed with no major hitches or snafus, program officials are looking toward the preparatory work that must be done before the young people actually began work June 23. First, applicants will receive job assignments in the mail, a process that used to be done in mass certification meetings.

The young people also will receive by mail notifications of mandatory orientation sessions to be held at 16 locations in the city this month, another first for the program. The first of these sessions was held yesterday.