Baltimore officials want more kids to apply for YouthWorks summer jobs as program rebounds from COVID lull – Baltimore Sun
City officials are encouraging more children seeking summer jobs and local businesses seeking workers to enroll in its YouthWorks program, a longtime annual effort to ensure Baltimore’s youth be employed and productive from an early age.
Mayor Brandon Scott said Friday his office has already received 6,200 applications from young people wanting to participate this summer.
“Our young people come out of this program with a better sense of what they want to do with their lives, a better appreciation for collaboration, and an understanding that diversity and inclusion, perseverance, and old-fashioned hard work are excellence in life,” said Scott, who referenced his own experience with YouthWorks as a young man growing up in Park Heights.
Officials held a news conference Friday morning at the War Memorial Building to announce work already underway for the 2022 season.
After focusing on more remote work options and cutting back amid the pandemic, officials said they’re excited to offer more in-person jobs and training this year. But they need more businesses and nonprofits to sign up.
Scott said this summer presents a special opportunity because of all the hardships — financial, emotional and otherwise — resulting from the pandemic.
“YouthWorks was already such a big program,” he said. “But when you think about what our young people and their families have been through over the past two years…these opportunities are essential.
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“Talent in Baltimore is not limited. What we are doing through YouthWorks is developing that talent.
Jashon Bolling, a junior engineering student at Morgan State University and a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, said his long-time involvement with YouthWorks has allowed him to narrow down potential career paths. He recently turned to aerospace engineering, a field that includes the design of missiles and other flying objects.
At age 16, Bolling chose a summer construction job through the program, wondering if architectural engineering was his field. He then worked for an energy company and turned to electrical engineering. Last year, he interned at the University of Maryland, a job he plans to keep this summer.
In addition to showing him various careers up close, he said, the program helps children feel comfortable in a professional environment and develop a strong work ethic. People may not like every moment of their jobs, but they still show up every day, he said.
Officials said YouthWorks is offering a few new features, including a youth advisory council to help shape the program, financial literacy and college readiness training that will be streamed on Facebook Live for everyone to watch. , and a job readiness program before the summer.
Since its launch in the mid-1990s, YouthWorks has typically served about 5,000 young people each summer, although the numbers began to rise after the civil unrest in 2015 sparked more corporate interest. Officials touted growth and encouraged greater participation, especially after COVID forced them to cut back in 2020 and 2021.
The program is open to young people between the ages of 14 and 21. Potential participants can apply online.