Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen on Wednesday kicked off a second year of the This is Working summer jobs program in which businesses in his Southeast Baltimore district provide employment for students.
With about 4,000 more applications than available slots for Mayor Catherine Pugh’s in-demand YouthWorks summer jobs program, Cohen said he’s grateful that 22 businesses in his district stepped up to hire between 25 and 35 students looking for work.
This is Working provides a summer job for a student, but also weekly mentoring and coaching of workforce skills. It’s run in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.
“We have thousands of kids who applied to YouthWorks that right now do not have slots available,” Cohen said. “Kids in Baltimore are not looking for a handout. They want to work.”
Janiya Jackson, 17, a student at Patterson High School who is participating in the This is Working program for a second year, said she hopes the program can expand, so other students can be introduced to the workforce like she was.
“My generation feels like there is no hope, like they will not make it out of poverty,” Jackson said. This is Working makes it feel like we are important, like we can really do something.”
Participating businesses include Poppy & Stella, Joe Benny’s, Ekiben and the Waterfront Partnership.