A joint state and local program to teach job skills to single parents has been nominated as a semifinalist in the 1991 Innovations in State and Local Governments award program, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

SPEID, which is an acronym for the Single Parent Economic Independence Demonstration program, and Davis County Human Services, which pioneered it in Utah, were nominated.SPEID is among 75 semifinalists chosen from 1,907 nominees.

The program assists economically disadvantaged single parents, mostly women on welfare, in making the transition to the work force and economic independence.

It combines job training with other forms of economic assistance, such as day care or transportation, into a joint business-local government assistance program.

"The semifinalists highlight the complex challenges confronted by government officials and public managers today," according to professor Alan Altshuler, director of the Kennedy school's Innovations Program at Harvard.

"The programs deal with problems that range from land management to landlord training, from absent parents to abandoned mines, and from prenatal care to care for the elderly," Altshuler said of the 75 nominees.

"We hope that by focusing attention on these outstanding examples of innovative government we can encourage officials in other jurisdictions to seek creative solutions to similar problems."