YouthWorks Creates Leadership Opportunities for Young Workers

Posted June 19, 2023
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Young black man stands in a print shop, with gloves on his hands listening to an older white man give him instructions

In 2023, near­ly 7,900 Bal­ti­more City youth applied to Youth­Works to gain sum­mer employ­ment expe­ri­ence, and some 500 busi­ness­es, agen­cies and non­prof­its signed on to meet this demand.

The pro­gram — found­ed 50 years ago — oper­ates out of the Bal­ti­more City Mayor’s Office of Employ­ment Devel­op­ment and receives fund­ing from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. It is unique in that it guar­an­tees every qual­i­fy­ing appli­cant — Bal­ti­more City youth between the ages of 14 to 21 — at least five weeks of sum­mer employment.

Bal­ti­more Youth Lead­ers in Action

Beyond con­nect­ing young peo­ple to work expe­ri­ence, Youth­Works has also pri­or­i­tized plac­ing more par­tic­i­pants in lead­er­ship roles.

Not only have we offered more than 80,000 sum­mer jobs to young peo­ple in Bal­ti­more City in the past 10 years, we are also help­ing them gain lead­er­ship skills and work expe­ri­ence that will pre­pare them for life­long careers,” says Youth­Works’ Senior Pro­gram Man­ag­er S. Rasheem. Our pri­ma­ry focus is prepar­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of work­ers to suc­ceed in the labor mar­ket. To do that, they need to have a seat at the table.”

Hav­ing a seat at the table gives young peo­ple a chance to use their voic­es to shape both Youth­Works and the Bal­ti­more City employ­ment ecosys­tem. Cur­rent oppor­tu­ni­ties include:

  • The Youth Advi­so­ry Coun­cil, which hires 10 youth to help shape the cre­ation, design and imple­men­ta­tion of Youth­Works programming. 
  • The Core Coun­cil is geared toward youth who are inter­est­ed in careers in gov­ern­ment or pub­lic service. 
  • Youth­Works Con­tin­u­ous Improve­ment Tool, which offers young peo­ple a venue for shar­ing their per­spec­tives and aids busi­ness­es in iden­ti­fy­ing and devel­op­ing mean­ing­ful sum­mer employ­ment experiences.
  • Youth­Works’ YouTube chan­nel, fea­tur­ing videos cre­at­ed by and for youth on a vari­ety of ear­ly employ­ment top­ics, such as build­ing a per­son­al bud­get or fill­ing out income tax forms.
  • The Youth Lead­ers Intern­ship Pro­gram, sup­port­ed by the Bal­ti­more Work­force Devel­op­ment Board’s Youth Com­mit­tee, engages 10 city res­i­dents ages 16 to 24. These youth — called Youth Intern Lead­ers — lever­age their expe­ri­ences to advance the committee’s work on youth employment.

Thomas Moore, a for­mer Youth Advi­so­ry Coun­cil mem­ber who is an incom­ing first-year stu­dent at Calvert Hall Col­lege, calls Youth­Works a great expe­ri­ence for young peo­ple who want to help their com­mu­ni­ty. I real­ly liked how struc­tured the pro­gram was and how involved youth can be,” says Moore. Being on the Youth Advi­so­ry Coun­cil helped me bet­ter under­stand the per­spec­tives of oth­er young peo­ple when it comes to the prob­lems we face in Baltimore.”

Fall and Spring Internships

On July 10, 2023, young Bal­ti­more­ans will begin their sum­mer jobs with Youth­Works. When school resumes, the pro­gram will sup­port 200 intern­ships for high school juniors and seniors in the Bal­ti­more City Pub­lic School sys­tem. These intern­ships, offered in fall 2023 and spring 2024, will enable stu­dents to con­tin­ue build­ing their ear­ly career expe­ri­ence and crit­i­cal job skills while also earn­ing a pay­check beyond the sum­mer break.

Dis­cov­er how Youth­Works went vir­tu­al dur­ing the COVID-19 pandemic

Popular Posts

View all blog posts   |   Browse Topics

Youth with curly hair in pink shirt

blog   |   June 3, 2021

Defining LGBTQ Terms and Concepts

A mother and her child are standing outdoors, each with one arm wrapped around the other. They are looking at each other and smiling. The child has a basketball in hand.

blog   |   August 1, 2022

Child Well-Being in Single-Parent Families