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In this file photo from 2005, Ashlee Kozel, then 15, makes copies as part of her job as a Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing assistant through the Summer Hire program in Bamberg, Germany. Kozel is one of 300 students in the 98th Area Support Group working six weeks of their summer to earn extra cash.

In this file photo from 2005, Ashlee Kozel, then 15, makes copies as part of her job as a Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing assistant through the Summer Hire program in Bamberg, Germany. Kozel is one of 300 students in the 98th Area Support Group working six weeks of their summer to earn extra cash. (Rick Emert / S&S)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Summer jobs for high school and college students will be harder to come by this year at U.S. military bases in Europe.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Installation Management Command Europe have opted not to fund their traditional summer employment programs due to budget constraints, officials said. Last year, the services funded more than 450 jobs for youth between the ages of 14 and 22.

Military officials in Europe said last week that the decision was driven by the U.S. government’s current financial straits and a view that it would be unfair to fund such a program given the planned release of term and temporary civilian employees and the potential for civilian furloughs later this year.

Bases typically received money from major command or higher headquarters to provide a certain number of appropriated-fund summer positions for students, in jobs ranging from mowing lawns to clerical work. Officials said that some non-appropriated-fund agencies still may be hiring extra summer help to work at base swimming pools or bowling alleys, for example. Youths are also encouraged to volunteer, IMCOM-Europe officials said.

Though the Army had scaled back its once robust “summer hire” program in Europe in recent years due to fiscal considerations, this is the first time in nearly 30 years it won’t have any kind of youth summer employment program, according to a recent IMCOM-Europe article.

The decision is in keeping with U.S. Army 2013 worldwide fiscal guidance to reduce non-mission essential costs, according to IMCOM-Europe officials.

For the past two years, the program employed about 350 students per summer at a cost of about $500,000 annually, most of which was paid by IMCOM, Dan Thompson, an IMCOM-Europe spokesman, said in an email. Prior to that, the program was given about $750,000.

USAFE’s summer hire program was much smaller, with 105 students employed last summer from June to August at a cost of about $85,000, according to USAFE officials.

USAFE spokesman Master Sgt. Norris Agnew said individual installations in USAFE could opt to fund their own summer hire program by using base funds, but local commanders would have to seek approval to do so through the USAFE vice commander.

Agnew said he did not know whether any bases had sought this approval.

Air Force officials could not comment on the status of other summer-hire programs outside of Europe. The decision to hold the program is made at the major command or installation level, said Michael Dickerson, an Air Force Personnel Center spokesman, taking into consideration funding availability and mission need.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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