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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: workforce investment act

photo of youth working in the fieldBarbara Woods
 Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, Workforce Development

"Working this summer made me a better person, a better employee and a better student." That's how one youth described his experience after participating in Baltimore County's 2013 Summer Youth Employment Program.

Over 200 participants ages 15-22 participated in this six-week program designed for youth to gain an appreciation of the labor market, gain insights into their own strengths as employable citizens, and learn marketable skills.  Youth who were homeless, in foster care, disabled and economically disadvantaged worked 30 hours a week earning $8.00 an hour. The work experiences were provided by over 75 employers from the County's business community including public, private and non-profit organizations. Wages were supported by funds from the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Social Services, Maryland Summer Youth Connections and the Workforce Investment Act. The summer program was sponsored by Baltimore County Department of Economic Development – Division of Workforce Development.

A highlight was New Horizon II, a partnership among Baltimore County’s Division of Workforce Development, Y of Central Maryland, Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation and Baltimore County Public Schools. The program provided 25 homeless youth, ages 15 – 21 a morning of academic instruction and employability training, followed by an afternoon of real-world work experience. The academic program, administered by Baltimore County Public School teachers, assisted youth in attaining the necessary credits to graduate from high school.  Since the program was located in Dundalk, work experiences were provided by area businesses including the Dundalk Eagle, Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, Police Athletic League, Access Art, and Blue Ocean Property Management.

The summer program was a win-win for youth and employers. Youth gained valuable experience working as office clerks, senior center aides, camp counselors and custodians.  Employers served as mentors and taught the youth basic work skills.  Both youth and employers experienced a summer they will never forget. As one young participant said, "When I leave this program, I will take with me some work experience, some new friends, and a different outlook on the world of work."


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