Kids line up outside DOES headquarters this afternoon. (D.C. Department of Employment Services)

Enrollment in the 2012 Summer Youth Employment Program began today with a “midnight madness” event at Department of Employment Services headquarters at 4058 Minnesota Ave. NE. Applications are also now being accepted online.

The program does not begin until June 25, but officials are encouraging D.C. youths to sign up as soon as possible. Like last year’s program, enrollment will be limited.

David Thompson, a DOES spokesman, said there’s no hard cap at this point, but the department anticipates accommodating numbers similar to the 12,000 or so served in 2011.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Thompson reported long lines outside DOES headquarters and a “packed” room full of interested youths. If you can’t make it over to the event, right outside the Minnesota Avenue Metro stop, he said, “We’re advising everyone to go online between tonight and midnight if at all possible.”

During former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration, the program served all comers, accommodating more than 20,000 kids. But the size led to management problems and his successor, Vincent C. Gray, has opted to run a smaller but more wieldy program.