Poor Administration of the 1977 Summer Program for Economically Disadvantaged Youth in New York City

HRD-78-123: Published: Jul 26, 1978. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 1978.

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The operation of New York City's 1977 Summer Program for Economically Disadvantaged Youth, funded by the Department of Labor, was reviewed. The program was established to enhance the future employability of economically disadvantaged youths by providing them with useful work experience. In 1977, Labor granted the city $35 million to operate this program which provided 7 weeks of employment for about 70,000 city youths.

The program was poorly planned and administered by both Labor and New York City. Some of the worksites were providing useful work experience to the enrolled youths, but over half of the worksites had serious problems, such as insufficient work or absent enrollees shown as being present. In these instances, program objectives may have been defeated by fostering bad work habits and paying salaries for little or no work. The following factors contributed to the problems: (1) inadequate planning resulted in an insufficient number of productive jobs; (2) project sponsors from previous years were generally funded with little consideration of their past performance; (3) the methods used to register youths raised questions about income eligibility; and (4) monitors were inadequately trained, many worksites were not visited, and problems noted were frequently not followed up with corrective actions.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: For future summer youth employment programs in New York City, the Secretary of Labor should: (1) set firm planning deadlines with specific Labor involvement; (2) require that all sponsors' selections are based on merits of proposals and effectiveness of past performance; (3) work with the city to develop a better method of conducting registration; (4) require the city to strengthen its monitoring procedures; (5) require effective coordination with the federal summer feeding program; (6) require the city to revise the income eligibility form to provide a penalty for falsification of data; and (7) require that the city devise a time card which specifies a penalty for falsification and ensure that project sponsors are informed that enrollees are not to be paid for work when they are absent. The Secretary should also increase the number of monitors for the summer youth program in New York City and make certain that these monitors can devote adequate resources to oversight of the program.

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