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trained for new careers in environmental service occupations with local governments.
4. The Minorities and Urban Administration Program. This is another program sponsored by the Denver Regional Council of Governments which, unfortunately, has recently been discontinued. With the assistance of a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Denver Regional Council of Governments worked with the University of Colorado and local governinent entities to develop professionally prepared minorities for decision making urban administration positions. This program enabled 15 minority persons a year to gain a Masters Degree while at the same time obtaining work experience. The Water Department participated in this program for three years and found the individuals assigned to us to be highly competent. We are sorry the program has been discontinued.
In concluding, I'd like to make just a few observations.
Several years ago I served as an executive officer to the Mayor of Denver and worked through that period when the federal government, in cooperation with local government, waged a national war on poverty. This was a massive program, as you will recall. I contrast this effort with the efforts of such organizations as Project New Pride and the Denver Water Department which concentrates with much more intensity on a fewer number of people. I have come to the conclusion that the latter efforts are far more successful.
I also believe there must be continuity to these programs. Too many times, it seems to me, there are crash programs involving huge amounts of money that are launched with a great deal of publicity. Such programs raise the hopes of those who need employment assistance. Then, unfortunately, the funding ceases and the programs are discontinued.
Unemployment, as members of this committee know, is a chronic, ongoing problem. If it is to be solved, federal, state and local governments in cooperation with the private sector, must develop and support programs that are available to meet these needs. It is a tragic mistake when we raise expectations of the unemployed with a program that offers them hope one year and then shatters those hopes the following year by discontinuing the program.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM MILLER, DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRA
TION, DENVER WATER DEPARTMENT, DENVER, COLO.
Mr. MILLER. I will summarize the statement rather than read directly from the statement, but first I would like to thank the subcommittee for coming out to Denver. Those of us that have testified before subcommittees of Congress appreciate the fact that you are coming down to the local level. Also, I'm going to be presumptuous, but I will welcome you to Denver on behalf of Mayor McNichols. Our mayor is representing the National League of Cities and is in Russia today.
Mr. HAWKINS. I thank you and we appreciate that.
Mr. MILLER. I'm appearing before you today in a dual capacity. As indicated in the statement I am the director of administration for the Denver Water Department and I will make some remarks about some of the programs and policies we have in that agency. I am also appearing before you as chairman of the advisory board for the Projeet New Pride, one of the LEAA programs that you will hear about in detail from our executive director, Mr. Tom James. The only comment I would like to make about the Project New Pride is from the point of view of the volunteer committee, the group of citizens that works with the paid staff in an advisory role. We are extremely pleased with the program and the dedication of the staff. In many ways, the people that will be talking to you will be talking in terms of the tremendous percentages and the great numbers of people that are being helped. Now, both the projects, the one involving the Denver Water Department and the Project New Pride, we are talking about rela
tively small numbers. We don't look at the percentages particularly, but we are looking very hard at the individuals.
One of the programs I'm going to talk to you about involves the hiring of 85 youth during the summer period. Project New Pride constitutes its program on some 60 to 80 individuals a year. These are individuals that are referred to the program by the juvenile courts. A profile of those individuals, a typical client that the Project New Pride. is usually two or more convictions, usually felony convictions in the juvenile courts. They average 16 years of age, come from single parent families, live in housing projects, live in a poverty situation, has an academic level of about fifth grade, has had numerous contacts with police and generally has a very bad self-image. That is the kind of client the Project New Pride deals with.
On the other hand, the Denver Water Department, which is an independent agency of the city and county of Denver. I say independent because under the city charter, we do not receive any tax dollars. The entire operation has to be funded and serviced by the revenue derived from the sale of water. We operate more as a utility than as a governmental agency even though we are an agency of the city. We have in the water department, approximately 885 employees. Their sole responsibility is to provide water service to some 900,000 people in the Denver metropolitan area. Denver and its surrounding areas. These operations are scattered around six counties, but primarily in Denver. One of the programs that we have and have had now for a period of some 25 years is a summer hiring program. We budget for that program every year and it's a very important program to us. We like to get individuals right out of high school at the age of about 18. We have Some areas where the individuals have to be 18 because we are classified In some areas as hazardous occupations. We like to offer these individuals a summertime job in a variety of areas, even though we only have some 885 employees. We have more than 180 job classifications that range anywhere from craftsman to water treatment operator to laborers, mechanics, welders, and so on up through computer operator, administrators, accountants, and so on. Depending on the interest of the individual in the summertime, we like to place him in areas of interest to them. Granted, most of the jobs are maintenance jobs. We do live in a cold climate here. During the wintertime our facilities in the mountains, we don't do much maintenance. We do most of the maintenance with the summer employees. We like to encourage them to go ahead with either vocational training or academic training if they prefer going to college. When they do that, for selfish reasons, we like to get them back with us. We offer these individuals a summertime job and we continue that each summer while they are going to college if they are going to college or vocational school. We guarantee them the summer job as long as they are going to college or are in a vocational program.
This helps us because it has been our experience that many times, unfortunately, we underestimate the ability of many of these young people. But, we get them after one summer in some of these areas where it's a surveying crew where they become very competent and valuable employees. Many of them after they finish their academics or their vocational training come to us as full-time employees and when that happens we have their training period already behind us
so it does give experience and at the same time allows us to provide some financial help to these individuals as they are going through these training programs.
The only regret we have is we are talking about 80 to 90 youngsters each year. We really do have difficulty in selecting the applicants. We get over 500 applications each year for the jobs we have. We do reserve 25 to 30 percent for the minority community and we do work with the various service organizations for referrals so that the program can be staffed with people from the community, including minorities. We also participate in other programs that are available to us through the Denver Public School System and through the Denver Region Council of Governments. One of the projects, incidentally, that we are involved in has been discontinued because of a lack of financing and this was a project by the regional council of governments in cooperation with the University of Colorado. It was a master's degree program for minorities.
Employers, such as the water department, would provide jobs in the administration level to the minorities who were pursuing their master's degree with the University of Colorado. Under the program, we would provide 800 hours of work at the administrative level of jobs and pay them a salary for that half time. The other half time they would pursue their academic degrees. Unfortunately, that program has been discontinued. We found from our experience that it was beneficial from our point of view.
I think I'd like to conclude by just making a few observations. Several years ago I served as an executive officer here in Denver and worked through that period of time with the Federal Government with the war on poverty program. This, I'm sure you will recall, was a very massive program and I contrast that effort then with this Project New Pride which concentrates with much more intensity with fewer numbers of people and I've come to the conclusion that the later efforts are far more successful. I also believe that there must be continuity to these programs. Too many times they are crash programs involving huge amounts of money that are lost with a great deal of publicity. I assume such programs raise the hopes of the people needing public assistance and then of course the funding ceases and the programs are discontinued.
Unemployment, as the committee is very much aware, is a chronic. ongoing problem. If it is to be solved, Federal, local and State governments must develop programs that are available to meet these needs. It's a tragic mistake when we raise the hopes of the people with programs that run 1 year and shatters these hopes the following year by discontinuing the program. I think also many times being bigger does not necessarily mean better. Sometimes, I think the smaller programs, the intense programs are the most successful.
Mr. HAWKINS, Thank you, Mr. Miller.
When I first looked at the agenda, I wondered what the water department had to do with this hearing. You clarified that considerably and I wish to commend you on what appears to be a very unique experience.
May I ask you under what constraints do you operate in connection with the water department of the city? Are the employees covered by
civil service? Also, what relationship do you have with labor organizations insofar as you train individuals in many occupations?
Mr. MILLER. In response to the first one, under the city charter, as I indicated, actually we are independent. We do have our classifier service that operates much like any other civil service commission. We have our own personnel office; we have our own rules and regulations. We do have our seniority and merit increases and operate like the State merit operation.
On the latter, we are completely nonunion and I don't say that with any sense of pride or any particular criticism of labor organizations. In fact, in the past I was a president of a labor organization and in Denver. It just turned out in our particular organization that we are much more effective by remaining nonunion. There has been no movement on behalf of our employees in Denver. We do have the opportunity of doing a great deal of cross training. We do train people from the mechanical area in training programs. If they are going to college, we have tuition refund grants, and we transfer them into other areas. We don't have a type of situation where if you had a strict union operation or if you had a mechanic, you would have him being only a mechanic.
Mr. HAWKINS. Could you tell us what percentage of these individnals that you train are actually trained for the water department and what percentage eventually receive employment outside of the department?
Mr. MILLER. Well, first, Mr. Chairman, our turnover rate is very, very small. We have less than 6 percent annually of permanent employees and this compares with utilities nationally of something like 16 percent. Our training program again, we have been successful in keeping the employees that we do have. In many instances, the summertime employees as I have mentioned will go on through the University of Colorado or one of the universities and many receive degrees and then come back to work for us. When this happens, we do everything possible to get them back into the system.
Mr. HAWKINS. I assume that some of the training is funded by the Federal system. How much of it is a grant and how much of it comes out of the funds of the water company?
Mr. MILLER. In our program, I would say zero percent or very close to it is Federal funding. We do this with our own money. The council of government's program that I mentioned, the tuition for the individual working on his master's degree was provided through Federal assistance. But, when they come to work for us as a part of this program on the work assistance, and the work experience, we pay them out of our own pockets. We have no Federal dollars at all.
Mr. HAWKINS. You have found it feasible to do this. I'm wondering why it is that such a system is not generally used throughout the country. In other words, why is it not that most of the utility companies of this Nation do not become involved in this type of program for young people and also in terms of internship and specialized trainngincluding masters' degrees. There may be some other examples, but off-hand. I don't know of any.
Mr. MILLER. I certainly don't have access to that information. I suppose if we came up with the answer to that nationally, you would not need me any longer. I feel that the entire business community,
and as a member of that community. I view this as the responsibility of the water department as an ongoing community responsibility. I see no reason whatsoever why a company or a city government cannot provide huge Federal funds on a regular basis to do something about summertime unemployment. We know that every summer for 3 or 4 months out of the year we have a vast number of people out of the classroom and looking for something to do. We do this. We budget, as I say, in our budget on an annual basis for roughly 10 percent our labor to come in summertime employment for this period. I think companies and both State and city governments should have this type of program.
Mr. HAWKINS. This is certainly one of the things the members of this committee will certainly recommend and hopefully we will get this same type of program extended. We think it's a very important project.
Mr. CLAY. No questions.
Mr. HAWKINS. Mr. LaVor.
Mr. LAVOR. Mr. Miller, you indicated in your testimony that you were chairman of the board of New Pride, and then in your testimony you also testified about the 85 summer jobs and that 25 percent of those were minorities. Is there a link between New Pride and your work with the water department and the 85 jobs that might be considered as delinquent individuals or individuals in trouble?
Mr. MILLER. There would be a small percentage of the 25 percent that I was referring to as minorities. Tom James is going to be talking on New Pride. I have not provided a direct tie between Project New Pride and the summer program that he is finding out about for the first time today. We don't have any percentage coming in from New Pride or any other project, but they are available to us and we recruit from these areas and this is where we get our referrals from. Our biggest concern is not any particular kind of juvenile problem. Our real concern is the driving record. Many of these people will be put into cars and trucks and other equipment and if they have any kind of driving problems, or a suspended license, that is a main point of concern for any kind of job.
Mr. LAVOR. May I ask Mr. Shepherd a question?
In your testimony of placing individuals to work in Safeway. do you receive referrals from any other job program in Denver such as
Mr. SHEPHERD. Yes, we do from several organizations. The Southwest Youth Employment Service is of course one of the most successful relationships we have. The ratio of hire to referrals there is the highest. But, we have a relationship with quite a few of the other projects throughout the city.
Mr. LAVOR. Is there any difference in the degree of preparation of an individual referred by the Southwest Youth Employment Service and the CETA program?
Mr. SHEPHERD. Well, no, other than as I say the ratio of referrals to hires is much higher with Southwest. We would assume there is prob ably more preparation.
Mr. CLAY. Thank you, Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Miller.