The programs help more than 20,000 city residents a year with customized job search assistance, interviewing skills, resume writing, career counseling and computer literacy, Rawlings-Blake said. The public also can use the centers to connect to job training opportunities.

"It frustrates me sometimes when you see on the news the CEOs are making multiple millions and millions and millions, and the stock markets are going — and I am happy for that success — but there are so many people that the recovery has left behind," the mayor said.

Colleen Spriggs, a 56-year-old East Baltimore woman, said the Eastside One-Stop Career Center on East Madison Street helped her land a job as a security guard after she was laid off in April 2011. She collected unemployment and found a string of part-time jobs before landing steady work with Securitas.

"I prayed and it worked out for me," Spriggs said. "I just kept my head up, and I never gave up. You can't give up."

Leslie, the unemployed Lauraville woman, said she also uses the Eastside center and was recently called back for a second interview for a job in child advocacy. Congress should preserve the long-term unemployment benefits and invest more in workforce development, she said.

"Having resources like the career center and job opportunities make things brighter for you, and you can regain that self-esteem you lost when you were unemployed," Leslie said. "They give you hope."

Baltimore Sun reporter John Fritze contributed to this article.

Looking for work?

Baltimore City provides several one-stop career centers and community job hubs where the unemployed can receive free computer training, learn job search techniques and find job training opportunities.

•Call 410-396-3009 or go to for more information.

•The one-stop career centers are at 2401 Liberty Heights Ave., Suite 302 in Mondawmin Mall; 1100 N. Eutaw St.; and 3001 E. Madison St.

•The community job hubs are at Bon Secours Community Works, 26 N. Fulton Ave.; Govans Ecumenical Development Corp., 5513 York Road; My Brother's Keeper, 4207 Frederick Ave.; Southern Community Action Center, 606 Cherry Hill Road; and Transforming Life Church of God, 4801 Sipple Ave.