Youth Program Offers 7,000 Summer Jobs

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles city officials announced a summer job program Tuesday with 7,000 positions available to youths from low-income families throughout the city.

The program--targeting people ages 14 to 21--will be funded with city, state and federal grants and will be coordinated by the city's Community Development Department.

"The talk about the kids being the future is one thing," said Councilman Mike Feuer, chairman of the council's Budget and Finance Committee. "Let's make sure that the distance between the talk and the action is very narrow."

The city will provide $2 million, targeting areas with high youth unemployment. A $3.5-million state grant administered by Los Angeles County focuses on youths whose families are on public assistance.

The final funding, a $1-million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, focuses specifically on empowerment zones in Boyle Heights and Watts.

The bulk of the jobs--4,000--start July 9 and will last six weeks, said Lillian Kawasaki, general manager of the Community Development Department.

The jobs range from positions with city departments, such as Recreation and Parks, to nonprofits such as Boys and Girls clubs. Private companies in the sports, entertainment and other industries will also be involved.

Officials said this year's total number of jobs is a step up from last year, when there were 5,000 jobs available, but not quite up to the level of previous years, when there were as many as 11,000 positions.

Information about the city's summer job program is available at (1-800) 367-2562.

This year, one portion of the funding is new.

"Not only are we going to celebrate the 7,000 jobs but also [a new] award," Kawasaki said during a news conference at City Hall.

That award--figured into the overall summer job program--is the Labor Department's Rewarding Youth Achievement Grant.

It aims specifically to recruit 225 students each from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights and Jordan High School in Watts. The students will be enrolled in the Health Care Opportunity Program at USC or the UCLA/East Los Angeles College Summer Immersion Program--which foster hands-on and academic training in medical professions.

The funding for this year's summer jobs complements another program administered by the Community Development Department that provides jobs year-round. The 2-year-old Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement is funded with $11 million a year from the federal government and operates in Boyle Heights and Watts.

"Providing youth employment opportunities, especially during the summer months, is one of the most important services we can provide young people," said Councilman Nick Pacheco, who represents Boyle Heights.

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