Mark, thank you for your response. I welcome the free flowing debate that the internet offers and democracy provides. I am in total disagreement with your conclusion that the Washington Post is a supporter of youth employment, namely the summer jobs program. They have consistently refused to write anything about the high youth unemployment rate and the need for more youth employment services. Moreover, the majority of the Post’s articles regarding the summer jobs program have been nothing but acrid criticism.
Now Mark, I am going to assume that you have been in youth services for quite some time. As a youth service advocate , I have been trained to use an asset based approach to working with, and supporting youth. A main part of this approach entails looking at what others don’t see. Here’s what I see:
1. 200 youth wanted a job!
2. DOES had only a “1%” disqualification rate. (201 out of 21,000) They are doing better than the Obama administration!
3. A major lesson was learned: “youth workers are incredible people. How were they able to get serve so many youth in such a short of time?”
Mark, I would never excuse a poorly run program nor would I ever criticize programs for policy mistakes.
In New York , I met Mr. Smith, the Director at the new River Bank State Park in Harlem . Mr. Smith had more than 40 years of youth service under his belt and I admired him for his commitment. For opening day, the State brought in 1000 children from all over Harlem to participate in a day of festivities and fun. The state spent thousands of dollars on new flowers and shrubs to beautify the park. On opening day I stood in Mr. Smith’s office as his staff came screaming in: “Mr. Smith, Mr Smith!” They yelled. “The kids are destroying all the flowers, the kids are destroying all of the flowers!” Mr. Smith calmly looked over his shoulder at his staff and stated in a smooth clam voice: “They are not destroying all of the flowers, they’re destroying 30% of the flowers.”
99% of the youth served by DC and those served in the summer of 2009 will be served well. Will 1% fall through the cracks? Probably. Will we get the policies and resources to make things right? Probably not?
I would say that you have seriously misinterpreted the Washington Post article article, which I also read this morning. The article was > about the serious mis-management and mis-operation of the summer youth employment program in the District last summer, that resulted in many poor quality employment opportunities, lost opportunities for employing additional youth, and wasted financial resources, the combination of which will likely discourage youth,
employer, and provider participation in the program this coming summer unless significant corrections are made to program management and operations. There was nothing in the article
indicating that summer youth employment programs are not important, and, in fact, the Post editorial staff has long been a proponent for increased and enhanced summer employment
opportunities for youth in the District. The problems in last summer’s program as reported in this article point to the need for the District to run a more effective and efficient program, not to
do away with the program. What, you would choose not to run the story because some yo-yo reader interprets a poorly run program to mean there should be no program at all?