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Baltimore Mayor Announces Expansion Of Youth Summer Job Program

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--Eight thousands jobs for the summer. Today it is announced that all 8,000 applicants for the YouthWorks Summer Job Program have guaranteed employment this summer

Marcus Washington has more on the program and one partnership.

For years YouthWorks has given young people in the city ages 14 to 21 an opportunity to explore career paths and this year more kids will be able to have a summer job.

"Well I've learn a lot about architecture since I've been here," said Alexandra Odom.

There is no doubt that Alexandra Odom is determined. This college senior has been working since she was 14-years-old.

"Picking up and cutting back weeds, the next summer I was working in Patterson Park and the third year I got to work in air conditioning," she explains.

Six years later, she's on her second year interning at Mahan Rykiel Associates--a landscape architecture urban design and planning firm.

But Alex--as she's often called--got her start like thousands of Baltimore's youth, through the YouthWorks and Hire One summer job programs.

"Those kinds of experiences in an environment where they were aware this was one of my first jobs and they were willing to teach, (this) was a really good way for me to become comfortable, so when I did go into a job where I just had to get an interview and prepare for it, I already had that experience," Alex says.

In years past the annual goal is to place 5,000 of the city's youth ages 14 to 21 with summer jobs. This year, the goal was set at 8,000 jobs and every single applicant has been placed.

"People have asked, 'Are these meaningful jobs?' Trust me, if you're working, it's meaningful," said Michael Cryor, One Baltimore.

The summer job program is not only benefiting students, companies are seeing a return on the investment.

"The youth bring new energy and ideas," said Tom McGilloway, Mahan Rykiel Associates Inc.

McGilloway says the opportunity to provided young people with jobs--like Alex--is an opportunity to help them open doors to the world.

"They're in school right now, so they get to see a professional environment, how the day to day, the glamour, the exciting aspects, but also the more mundane," he says.

"I definitely wouldn't feel as comfortable in a work place environment or feel as prepared moving forward," said Odom.

Many of the youth will start their jobs bright and early at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning.

It costs $1,500 to fund one person in the YouthWorks Summer Program.

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