Crime Lab, Poverty Lab What a Summer Job Can Do for Baltimore's Youth
Baltimore Sun / May 3, 2016
By Editorial Board
Last year at this time, Baltimore's politicians, philanthropists, non-profits, corporations and other institutional leaders were searching for a response to the unrest that followed Freddie Gray's death, some sort of tangible sign to show that they had heard and heeded the outcry about the injustice and poverty of opportunity felt by far too many of the city's residents. The search for systemic answers to systemic problems would be a long one, but when it came to a response that would have immediate symbolic and practical impact, they quickly settled on an idea: provide summer jobs for every city youth who wanted one.
For years, Baltimore has operated the YouthWorks program, which typically provided opportunities for about 5,000 youth aged 14-21 to gain work experience in government agencies, non-profits and private for-profit businesses. Last year, 8,000 kids had completed the application process, and so starting in May of 2015, the city engaged in an eight-week scramble to find funding and job sites for all of them. Thanks to help from the private sector, the governor's office and particularly the Annie E. Casey Foundation, they succeeded.