8-5-11: Baltimore Elections 2011 — Summertime Blues
Every Wednesday and Friday on Maryland Morning, we’re examining an issue in the Baltimore 2011 elections. This morning, it’s youth jobs.
Today is the last day of work for about 5,000 participants in YouthWorks, the summer jobs program run by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. Some activists, community leaders, and even mayoral candidates have argued for expanding YouthWorks.
We asked each of the eight candidates running, including the incumbent mayor, this question: “Baltimore City says its YouthWorks program gave 5,300 kids jobs this summer. How many summer jobs do you think Baltimore City should provide–and if it’s more than 5,300, how would you fund them?”
The answers we received are below.
This morning, Sheilah gets an overview of YouthWorks from 18-year-old participant Devontay Spizey and Mayor’s Office of Employment Development director Karen Sitnick. Then she asks Ralph Moore, director of the Community Center at St. Frances Academy and convener of the Full Employment Baltimore Coalition, what these summer jobs mean for the communities where these young people live.
Here are the responses we received from the mayoral candidates:
I would try VERY hard to double the amount of summer jobs for the youth because we must find work for the young people. I would put pressure on the private sector to provide jobs and money, as well as ask contractors of all kinds to do business with the city.
I am committed to ensuring that young people are given every opportunity to succeed in life. I recognize that young people stand on our corners because they are in need of opportunities to choose something other than drugs, gangs and dropping out of school. I will work in partnership with the non-profit and private sector to ensure that every child in Baltimore that wants to work, is given a job. Not just during the summer, but year around work in fields that they hold some interest in and enthusiasm for. I will have lawyers, doctors, law enforcement and every other profession in the workplace giving young people a chance to make money and learn if that job is right for them!
Too many of our children need to work to contribute to their family expenses because their parents are addicted to drugs, or their parents are unemployed or under-employed, or because they need to make sure their siblings are eating and attending school. In a Pugh administration we will have a Marshall Plan-like effort to put young people to work and help them become fully participating adults in the life of our city.
Each YouthWorks summer job slot costs $1,200. When it comes to raising money for worthwhile projects, I believe you have to lead by example. As Mayor, I would commit to donating $12,000 per year to YouthWorks to cover 10 job slots. I would set a goal of increasing the number of slots available by at least 15% per year during each year of my term in office. In addition to corporate, foundation and church group sponsors, I will actively solicit participation from neighborhood associations for positions that could then be assigned to accomplish projects within the participating neighborhoods.
I am committed to actively participating in raising money for this worthwhile program, and setting a goal to increase the number of jobs each year.