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by Mark Reutter2:15 pmJun 26, 20170

YouthWorks sets an ambitious goal for summer 2017

A look at how Baltimore is funding its summer jobs program for city youth

Above: Among the assignments for these YouthWorks teens: Assisting Mayor Pugh at City Hall. (@MayorPugh50)

Mayor Catherine Pugh is hoping to exceed the previous high-water mark for YouthWorks, the summer teen employment program, that followed Freddie Gray’s police-in-custody death.

Spurred into action by the 2015 protests and a night of rioting, non-profits, institutions and businesses joined the Rawlings-Blake administration to hire more than 8,000 young people that summer.

Starting today, some 8,300 jobs for city residents, ages 14 to 21, will be offered through the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED).

“YouthWorks is an exemplary example of a successful public-private venture that provides short- and long-term benefits for youth and employers as well as our communities and our city’s economy,” Pugh declared in a press release issued today.

The program offers two five-week sessions for young people who have applied for the program and been matched with summer jobs. The first session began today and will end on July 28; the second session will start on July 10 and end August 11.

Participants will work five hours a day five days a week for a total of 125 hours. They will receive a minimum of $9.50 an hour.

Public and Private Funds

Each placement costs the city about $1,500 (employers are free to pay for their summer help, but otherwise the city will absorb the costs of employment).

A mix of government funds and private donations pays for YouthWorks. This year the city will chip in $1.9 million in general funds, plus $750,000 in casino local impact grants coming from Horseshoe Baltimore.

The casino funds help support an Employment Connection Center run by MOED, which is budgeted to enlarge its YouthWorks staff from three to six positions.

State funding includes $1.4 million through the Governor’s Office, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and the State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services. There are also federal funds totaling $1.5 million.

Summer jobs for foster youth and those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be bankrolled through a $2.25 million allocation from the Maryland Department of Human Resources/Baltimore Department of Social Services, according to the mayor’s office.

YouthWorks teens will cover more than 900 worksite locations in all types of sectors, including health care, hospitality and tourism, finance, the arts, law, construction, energy, conservation and more.

About 450 youth will be working in city jobs, earning salaries funded by the sponsoring agencies, including the eight pictured above assigned to the mayor’s office.

Local foundations have stepped up to help the effort, led by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, with contributions of $750,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Hire One Youth

Among the companies and organizations committed to donate at least $15,000 to YouthWorks and/or to hire at least 10 participants this year: The Johns Hopkins Health System and Johns Hopkins University, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Motorola, Martin’s Caterers, MedStar Health, University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System, University of Maryland Baltimore, Kaiser Permanente, Sagamore Development Co., T. Rowe Price Foundation and Whiting-Turner.

An ancillary program, called Hire One Youth, provides additional services for youth, ages 16 to 21, to match their interests and skills with summer job opportunities. Participants are pre-screened and must complete six hours of job-readiness training before they are made available for interviews with potential employers.

Once hired, they are given a job coach to help them adjust to the work environment.

The idea is to turn summer jobs into part- or full-time employment for those not headed to college.

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