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Summer jobs for city youth

I read with interest Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young's recent op-ed on the need for more job opportunities for youth ("Solutions, not excuses, for Baltimore post Freddie Gray," April 30).

As I've spoken with community leaders, faith groups and nonprofit executives in light of last week's events, everyone agrees that getting Baltimore's teens working this summer must be an immediate priority.

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Productive employment, plus new job skills, plus resume building, some spending money and a few weeks with positive role models to see first-hand what success looks like can add up to a priceless experience for many of our young people.

It is already May, and time is running out. I've been advised that, at present, the city's Hire One Youth Program has just 73 employers who have pledged about 200 jobs. Yet 500 youth have already been screened and completed six hours of job readiness sessions.

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We need to close that gap. We at United Way of Central Maryland are doing our part as an employer to bring youth on board over the summer. We implore other businesses to do the same.

Mark S. Furst, Baltimore

The writer is president & CEO of United Way of Central Maryland.

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