D.C. summer jobs program cuts 10,000 jobs for youth

As thousands of teenagers look for work this summer, D.C. has cut back on the number of positions available in its summer jobs program, which means many teens are left with nothing to do.

But the District plans to keep them busy and off the streets.

"I been in the summer job program since I was 14 years old, but this year I didn't get a spot," Calvin Sullivan says.

Though still eligible for the program at 21, Sullivan this year didn't make the cut.

A lot of young people were at summer jobs orientation sessions this week, preparing to start jobs on Monday.

But there are a lot fewer jobs available than in recent years--down from 22,000jobs last summer, to just 12,000 this year--a 45 percent drop.

And jobless youth are not optimistic.

So the city's emphasizing summer enrichment. The mayor touted the $650,000 in support from retailer Wal-Mart, which wants to open stores in D.C.

And in Ward 8, a tiny non-profit called the Southeast Collaborative has hired 18 young people, who didn't get into the city jobs, just to walk the streets of their own neighborhoods with fliers about free events, from block parties to night basketball, that the Collaborative is sponsoring.

"We realized we could probably see more peaks and violence,so what was it that we needed to do," says Dionne Reeder of the collaborative.

So the idea here is that if young people don't have jobs at least they'll have alternatives to finding trouble on the streets.

"We're stopping a lot of violence because all of our little events are from like 5 to 9," says D'Angelo Wilkins, a neighborhood worker.