Mayor Rawlings-Blake acknowledges Hire One Youth businesses, looks to further engagement

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Greater Baltimore Committee President & CEO Donald C. Fry expressed appreciation to the more than 100 businesses that participated in Baltimore’s Hire One Youth initiative as part of the 2013 YouthWorks summer jobs program October 15 at a luncheon in the Rawlings-Fulton Clubhouse at Forest Park Golf Course in West Baltimore. Helping to comprise thousands of youth connected to six-week summer jobs, more than 500 Hire One Youth participants were interviewed and hired by companies from a variety of industries including construction, hospitality and health care.

“We should all be proud that our public-private partnerships resulted in another successful year for YouthWorks, as we offered summer jobs to more than 5,200 youth and young adults,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake noted the benefit the Hire One Youth program provides to students and the organizations who hired them, but she also pointed out the economic benefit YouthWorks participants, who earned more than $5 million from their summer jobs, invested back in the community.

“This is not a charity,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “It’s about designing and developing the workforce of the future.”

Fry has served as the chair of Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s Hire One Youth leadership team for the past two years, helping to attract a greater and more direct involvement from businesses in providing meaningful jobs that develop work skills and help launch careers. The 117 Hire One Youth companies that participated in 2013 represent a 30 percent increase over 2012.

“Through Hire One Youth, young people are gaining real-world work experience in high-growth business sectors in Baltimore and making genuine contributions to the organizations,” said Fry. “The growing interest among local companies to join Hire One Youth and help to expand it is a testament to the fact that business is interested in playing a direct role in developing the city’s future workforce now.”

A total of 518 youth workers were employed directly by the Hire One Youth organizations, which includes those hired by the Johns Hopkins Health System and University through its companion summer jobs program.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Fry thanked all the businesses for their partnership this summer and acknowledged that 100 Hire One Youth participants continued to work beyond the six-week duration of the summer program, and 45 of them are continuing to work for these organizations today.

Briah Myers from the Hyatt Regency represented one of 10 of those young people present at the luncheon by addressing the audience about the importance of this opportunity for her. Other students present worked for companies such as MICA, McGuireWoods LLP, Centerplate, Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc. and Shake & Bake.

Myers, a senior at Dunbar High School who aspires to own a restaurant or a food truck one day, goes to school, works full-time at Hyatt Regency and maintains a 3.0 GPA. She said the Hire One Youth program “teaches young adults responsibility and real-world work skills.” She implored businesses to hire youth for their organizations or commit to hiring more than one in 2014.

“You could be the positive change in their lives,” Myers said.

Myers’ boss, Hyatt Regency human resources director Nathalie Rytting, as well as Turner Construction project engineer Coretta Bennett spoke about the benefits of being Hire One Youth employers. Both companies continued to employ their youth workers even after the program ended and both had identical compliments of the simplicity of the program and the ease with which companies can get started, as well as the benefits they felt they received from hiring their youth workers.

The two encouraged companies to share their stories with others and get more companies involved to grow the program and give an opportunity to even more workers of the future.

The Mayor’s Office of Employment Development operates YouthWorks with the assistance of employers and workforce partners, and with financial support from a variety of contributors. Among the more significant grants from private organizations that helped to support wages for low-income youth participating in the 2013 YouthWorks program include $25,000 from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, $19,000 from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, and $10,000 each from The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The Motorola and Northrop Grumman grants helped to support young people working in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) summer jobs.

For more information about YouthWorks and Hire One Youth, please call 410-396-JOBS (5627). Organizations interested in becoming a Hire One Youth employer for the summer 2014, get more information and complete an online form at the Hire One Youth Web site.

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