Businesses asked to match $500,000 grant for Baltimore summer jobs program

Entering the Baltimore Inner Harbor with the Baltimore Skyline in the background

Casey and city leaders ask businesses to match $500,000 grant to YouthWorks

Baltimore City’s nationally recognized summer jobs program, YouthWorks, continues to grow in popularity, increasing the need for employment opportunities this summer. In response, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has committed $500,000 and offered a second $500,000 as a challenge grant to be matched by the private sector. These funds will create more than 650 five-week summer jobs for city youth and young adults. But more money is needed in order to offer employment to all youth who have completed their registration.

“Having real-world work experience helps prepare young people to succeed as adults,” said Sophie Dagenais, who oversees the Foundation’s work in Baltimore. “An investment in job opportunities for Baltimore’s youth today will strengthen our future workforce, and we hope even more members of the city’s business community will join us in supporting our next generation of employees.”

The additional $1 million to be raised as a result of matching Casey’s offer would provide nearly 750 jobs and bring the total number of funded jobs to about 6,000 – 2,000 short of the goal. Current funding of about $6.2 million is provided by Baltimore City and the State of Maryland, as well as contributions from the philanthropic community, businesses and individuals. Nearly 600 jobs have been presently committed by the private sector through YouthWorks’ Hire One Youth initiative.

Last spring’s unrest in Baltimore highlighted the importance of summer jobs for teens. In response, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reset the goal so that the city could offer jobs to all 8,000 of the registered 14- to 21-year-olds. Elected and civic leaders are determined to match the results of 2015. A total of 9,400 youth successfully completed the YouthWorks 2016 registration process that concluded at the end of March.

“Baltimore should be proud that YouthWorks connects many thousands of young people to quality summer jobs every single year,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “Last year we received greater attention and financial support after the unrest, but our need to provide summer opportunities for youth is just as important in 2016. YouthWorks helps to create a more prepared workforce, healthier communities and a stronger economy – now and in the future. I encourage the private sector to continue its active partnership and match the generous funding provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.”

Greater Baltimore Committee President & CEO and Hire One Youth Chair Donald C. Fry said participating businesses report a number of benefits from the program, such as youths eager to contribute and learn, and the opportunity for companies to assess participants for future training and full-time positions after the program.

“The Casey grant is a strong show of support for these important and popular youth programs. It highlights that Baltimore has embraced the summer jobs programs as an important and successful effort to serve Baltimore and its communities,” Fry said. “These programs have emerged as a great opportunity to show and teach the future workforce what’s in store for them, but also to learn what’s in store for employers.”

With the Casey challenge and more interest than ever in the youth programs, Fry said more businesses are needed to step up and ensure the challenge is met and 8,000 young people have a summer job opportunity. As the summer jobs program grows it is important for government, business and philanthropic organizations to develop a sustainable funding source for this vital program.

YouthWorks 2016 will feature two five-week work cycles, beginning June 27 and July 11. Youth are scheduled to work for 25 hours per week at minimum wage. However, Hire One Youth employers may choose to pay more and offer additional hours.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to make tax-deductible contributions online.

Businesses interested in becoming a Hire One Youth employer can learn more and sign up here.

Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups that would like to serve as YouthWorks worksites can register online.

More information about Baltimore City’s summer jobs program can be found here.

Source: Mayor’s Office of Employment Development

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