BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore City received $6.8 million in State American Rescue Plan Act funs to help unemployed and underemployed residents, and Mayor Brandon Scott said he intends to use the money to "invest in communities that have historically been left behind."
The Mayor's Office of Employment Development will put the funds, which were formally accepted at the Board of Estimates meeting Wednesday morning, toward training, apprenticeships and support services.
"The ongoing pandemic exacerbated longstanding challenges in Baltimore and continues to plague working families across the city. I thank the State for making this critical investment in Baltimore residents and look forward to working closely with the Mayor's Office of Employment Development to support our unemployed and underemployed residents," Scott said in a statement. "This is one way my administration will focus on investing in our people and lifting our economy as a whole, all while building a more equitable Baltimore."
Scott said he hopes the funds will raise employment beyond pre-pandemic levels in underserved communities. Even before COVID-19 crippled the economy, Black residents faced an unemployment rate three times higher than white residents.
The Mayor's Office of Employment Development will direct some of the funds to its Hire Up initiative, which connects jobseekers to temporary positions at city agencies and nonprofits, and the Grads2Careers program that provides training for 150 new high school graduates.
"This award will bring substantial opportunities to residents and businesses most impacted by the pandemic," Jason Perkins-Cohen, director of the Mayor's Office of Employment Development, said in a statement. "It will increase access to vital workforce services by expanding partnerships with community-based organizations, offering training and apprenticeships to residents seeking to enhance their skills, and creating incentives for businesses to hire city residents."
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