Rome, June 27 - Almost 4.4 million young Italians could be eligible for assistance under a new employment program, the national statistical agency said Thursday. About 4,385,000 Italians aged 15 to 29 could meet the basic criteria to be covered by the labour ministry's new employment-assistance program, Istat officials told a parliamentary hearing. Currently 25% of the Italian workforce in that age bracket is without work. Speaking to Italian radio, Labour Minister Enrico Giovannini earlier said the program could shave 2% off Italy's growing 'NEET' population: those under 30 who are not in education, employment or training. According to Istat, Italy has Europe's highest NEET proportion. Premier Enrico Letta's cabinet on Wednesday approved a decree featuring a 1.5-billion-euro package that includes measures that focus on people under 30, with tax breaks for firms that take on workers aged 18-29 with permanent full-time contracts.