A week after protests took over Baltimore in response to the death of Freddie Gray, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake launched OneBaltimore, a nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding the city and its affected residents. While progress toward addressing systematic failures that impact not only Baltimore, but other major cities across the U.S., is no easy feat, Baltimore has since made gains in the right direction.
Since announcing the launch of OneBaltimore in May, the nonprofit, which is supported by private–public partnerships, teamed up with the city’s summer jobs program called Youth Works to create an additional 3,000 summer jobs for Baltimore youth. Usually, Youth Works offers positions to 5,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 21, but this year, with the help of OneBaltimore, the program responded to a record number of applications by offering a total of 8,000 positions.
“When businesses hire one or two youths during the summer they are providing jobs that will inspire young people by giving them a glimpse into their future as productive employees,” Donald C. Fry, the president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee said in a statement.
Currently, it costs $1,500 to fund one young person in a Youth Works program. To help offset this cost, OneBaltimore partnered with other nonprofits, private businesses, and government agencies to meet the needs of the city’s youth and in total raised $15 million for future programs.
In addition to providing employment, Mayor Rawlings-Blake is working closely with Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Operation Hope to recruit volunteers to hold financial education seminars for the participants. She has also partnered with the Maryland Transit Administration to offer free public transportation passes for students to get to and from work.