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Eric Garcetti vows to reverse cuts in L.A. summer jobs for youths

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed Tuesday to rebuild a summer jobs program for young people that was scaled back as public funding dropped sharply over the last two years.

Garcetti made his pledge to expand the “Hire LA’s Youth” program at a South Los Angeles event his office organized to showcase his plans to stimulate the city’s economy.

Officials said the jobs program will enable more than 5,000 city residents, ages 14 to 21, to earn $8 an hour this summer by working part time for employers throughout the city over the next six weeks.

But thousands more are still on a waiting list. Last year, Garcetti said, 10,000 young people who applied for spots were turned away.

Speaking to invited guests packed into the lobby of the refurbished Dunbar Hotel in the Central Avenue jazz district, Garcetti said he hoped no young people would be denied work next summer.

“My goal,” he said, “is by next summer to be able to say, in those neighborhoods where we have some of the most disadvantaged youth, if they want to come through one of these programs, we should be able to say, 'Yes, you can work.’

“And I’m confident we have the wealth, we have the companies, we have the goodwill and we have the intentions. We just have to make the connections, and that’s what my job as mayor will be.”

The city is spending $2.1 million on the program this year, up from $1.3 million last year. The program peaked in 2009, when federal economic stimulus money enabled the city to place 15,349 young people in summer jobs. With the stimulus money gone, the city provided only 3,638 spots last summer.

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Twitter: @finneganlatimes

michael.finnegan@latimes.com

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