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Baltimore Public Summer events canceled through August 31, Youthworks goes virtual

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(r) Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young

Mayor Jack Young says the decision after consultation with public health experts.  “That means, fireworks, that means Artscape, that means AFRAM,” said Young during his weekly press conference.

“Everything. Until we can see some type of downward turn, all that is cancelled.” Before the mayor’s announcement of the summer event shutdowns, Young reminded the public the Baltimore City remains under a stay-at home order, even though Governor Larry has relaxed some restrictions on outdoor activities such as boating, tennis and golf as part the state’s reopening plan.  “Everyone needs to stay home unless you’re going out for an essential reason, said Young. “If you’re going out for an essential reason, everyone should be wearing a face covering. This covering isn’t for you; it is for everyone you come in contact with. Every time you leave your house, you put yourself and everyone in your household at risk.”

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman says the governor made a mistake letting individual jurisdictions determine when to begin stage one of the coronavirus recovery. Governor Larry Hogan lifted his stay-at-home order Friday, but allowed local leaders to determine if they were ready to reopen.  According to the Capital Gazette, Pittman says it has led to chaos in areas where counties and cities have different guidelines. Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley is allowing retailers to let a customer or two in a store, but that's not the case countywide.

Meanwhile, a Summer program aimed at giving young people valuable work experience In Baltimore is being altered by the novel coronavirus pandemic.  Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced a 2020 virtual YouthWorks summer jobs program.

The program will begin on July 13 and run for five weeks. About 4,000 previously registered youth and young adults, ages 14-21, will have the opportunity to participate in a virtual work and educational experience gaining job readiness, career exploration, academic enrichment, and essential skills training. Participants will work four hours per day, five days a week.

YouthWorks participants will be able to earn up to $1,100 in gross wages by working a total of 100 hours. They will be paid $11 per hour.

“Our young people have had their worlds turned upside down due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Mayor Young said. “We are responding, despite the challenges the COVID-19 virus has presented, because we understand the importance of helping our students learn, grow, and advance this summer.”

Jason Perkins-Cohen, Director of the Mayor's Office of Employment Development, said that a number of cities across the country have eliminated their summer jobs programs in the face of declining revenues due to COVID-19.

“While we are pleased to have secured enough funding for 4,000 YouthWorks participants, we can offer more opportunities with additional dollars,” said Perkins-Cohen. “We want to offer as many summer jobs as possible and it’s not too late to make contributions through the Baltimore Civic Fund.”

The Mayor’s Office of Employment Development partnered with workforce and educational partners to develop a virtual program where up to 100 employers will provide remote work experiences using their established platforms.

YouthWorks participants will learn job readiness skills, career exploration, and educational enrichment through an established web-based platform providing workforce skills, assessments and assignments geared toward their age group. Job coaches will be hired to guide these YouthWorkers through their summer experience and support them to properly navigate the online tools and complete the work that is required.

With funding provided by the Maryland State Department of Human Resources and the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, at least 1,000 of the participants will be foster youth and those in households receiving SNAP or Temporary Cash Assistance.

YouthWorks is established as one of the biggest and best summer jobs programs in the nation, largely due to its vital public-private partnerships. The following private organizations have each committed at least $100,000 – Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

There is still time to support YouthWorks. Tax-deductible donations can be made online through the Baltimore Civic Fund or by sending checks made payable to Baltimore Civic Fund/YouthWorks to MOED, 101 W. 24th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.

More information for employers who are interested in providing a virtual work experience using their established platform, can be found here.