A $30 million federally funded program to train unemployed Washington area youngsters for such jobs as parking meter readers, water purity testers and building security guards will begin here next June, Mayor Walter E. Washington announced yesterday.
About 3,200 jobless youngster between the ages of 16 and 21 will be recruited for the program and then housed and trained in camps at the old Junior Village facility for homeless children in Anacostia and the former Maple Glen facility for delinguents in Laurel.
The job trainees each will spend between six months and a year in the program, which is financed by the U.S. Labor Department. Most of the average cost of about $9,000 per trainee apparently will pay for salaries of counselors and administrative costs of the program. Officials said yesterday that the job trainees themselves also will receive monthly allowances of $35 to $50 each, plus room and broad.
City and federal officials said they have "tentative support" from private firms and government agencies here to provide jobs for youngsters completing the program. However, some major employers contacted by The Post indicated that they were uncertain that such jobs would be available.
Youngsters from areas as far away as the Tidewater section of Virginia to the south and Baltimore to the north will be recruited for the program, officials indicated yesterday. However, most of the administration of the program apparently will be handled by the District of Columbia government.
A principal architect of the two-year program was Joseph P. Yeldell, and aide to Mayor Washington who was removed earlier this year from the job of director of the city's Department of Human Resources following publication of allegations of mismanagement of the department and conflict of interest in leasing procedures. Yeldell also is the subject of a federal investigation of some of the leasing arrangements.
While other city officials will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the new job-training, program. Mayor Washington indicated that Yeldell will generally oversee it.
"We can only expect to put a dent in the unemployment situation," Mayor Washington said yesterday at a press conference called to announce the training program. "This program will not end it."
But, the mayor said, he believed creation of the program indicated that President Carter had not forgotten poor black youngsters in Washington.
Washington is the first city to receive U.S. funds to tackle the national problem of teen-age unemployment. Funds for the program here will come from the Youth Employment and Demonstration Act, which Carter signed into law last month About $1 billion is provided for cities across the nation by the act.
Unemployment among teen-agers in Washington has held steady at about 40 per cent during the last year. An estimated 30,000 youth in the city between the ages of 16 to 19 are seeking jobs but cannot find work.
City and labor department officials said they had not yet worked out all the details of the six-month and year long and it was not immediately clear why it would take so long to train youth for such simiskilled occupations as meter readers and building guards.
On Labor Department official said the program will be unqiue in that it will provide a "total learning atmosphere" where "we deal with the whole person, 24 hours a day, seven days a week." The youth will be counseled, taught to see their own potential, taught realistic expectations about the job market and shown how to start at the bottom and work up, he said.
The sketchy details provided indicated that the program probably would follow the basic version of the highly criticized Job Corps programs of the 1960s. The new program will be run by the Job Corps with supervisiors selected by the District's Manpower Department.
Richard Jaffe, associate regional administrator for Job Corps, said crucial difference exists between the old Job Corps programs and this one.
"We learned a great deal from the '60s," he said. "We are more realistic and now tie our training to the job market." Jaffe said during the past 12 years the Job Corps has had a placement rate of 90 per cent, but he could not say how long the trainees stayed in those jobs.
The program will offer training in areas such as environmental protection, printing, security, food services, clercial, health, child care, construction trades and building maintenance, mass transit mechanics and vehicle body repair.
Officials said they had contacted various city and federal agencies and were confident that jobs at those agencies would be provided to graduates of the program.
However, spokespersons of several city government agent personnel departments said many jobs entry level vacancies are not being filed now because of budgets cuts. They said youths remain in low pritority in their hiring because of "unpredictability," and that applications already on file exceed the number of jobs available.
One field mentioned by city officials yesterday as promising area of employment was parking meter readers. They said the number of such jobs would increase when the city institutes a planned crackdown on parking violators.
"Everyone is talking about it," said Leon Harbison, a city Department of Transportation personnel officer."But we've got a long way to go. There is nothing definite yet about the need for more meter readers."
City manpower director Thomas Wilkins said that contact had been made with various unions about accepting graduate of the new training program.
However, Roland Williams, director of a city manpower program called Project Build, which said already trains city youth for construction jobs, said the unions have so many card carrying members who cannot find jobs that his programs currently finds that it is almost impossible to find jobs for graduates.