YouthWorks is a Baltimore City program offering summer employment for thousands of young people every year. This year, in particular, the program was especially ambitious and hopeful. Thankfully, the city was given over $10 million in funding for the program and was able to offer over 8,000 youths jobs. My Brother’s Keeper was proud to be a part of the YouthWorks program and hosted 10 local youth, aged 15-17 as either rising juniors or seniors, during the summer. Part of what these young students did with My Brother’s Keeper was to develop resumes, earn computer literacy certificates from the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, participated in a one day financial literacy workshop, and expanded upon skills such as attendance, punctuality, problem-solving, and team interaction. As a part of the Youthworks program, we want to take a look at what YouthWorks is and why it’s so important.
Many children grow up living under this stigma that they won’t be able to find meaningful employment with just a high school degree. YouthWorks seeks to dismantle that stigma in favor of an ideology that says if you try, if you seek out the right resources, you can find employment in a job that you actually enjoy. The Baltimore Sun reported on Na’Thaia Huntley, for example, who was able to land an internship at Rosedale Federal Bank through YouthWorks. She was able to use this internship as leverage to eventually earn herself a full-time position as a bank teller.
Long Term Work
The city has also established Hire One Youth, a program that Na’Thaia Huntley eventually went through. This program is for slightly older youths and matches them to jobs specific to their interests. It is meant to boost the involvement of private-sector businesses, which this year included Johns Hopkins University, MedStar Health, Martin’s Caterers, and Veolia North America. By partnering with private-sector businesses, Hire One Youth can offer resume-building experience that will translate into long term, meaningful employment for the youth of Baltimore.
An Inspiring History
Since its inception, the program typically offered around 5,000 summer jobs per year. This was until the 2015 unrest in the wake of the Freddie Gray protests, where donations flooded in and the job capacity was massively increased. Mayor Catherine Pugh personally donated $10,000 to the program this year. Kevin Plank, the CEO at Under Armour, used his umbrella company Plank Industries to fund 100 of the summer jobs. The amount of support that the program has received this year has been an absolute inspiration, and we at My Brother’s Keeper are excited to see where the program will go in the future and what it holds for the youths of the Baltimore area.
Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About Helping in Baltimore
To learn more about our youth programs, Attendance Affirmation Project, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.