Baltimore Receives Federal Grant to Connect Juvenile Offenders with Education, Community Service Opportunities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2011

Contact: Brice Freeman, Communications, 410-396-1910, [email protected] Kate Schmelyun, Communications, 410-396-7336, [email protected]

Baltimore Receives Federal Grant to Connect Juvenile Offenders with Education, Community Service Opportunities Mayor’s Office of Employment Development to use funds to establish Civic Justice Corps for 100 West Baltimore youth Baltimore, Maryland (September 28, 2011) – The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) a grant totaling $1.46 million through the Civic Justice Corps program to help formerly incarcerated young adults reconnect with their communities and find pathways to success through community service and educational opportunities. The grant allows MOED to operate a Civic Justice Corps (CJC) for 100 juvenile offenders – primarily 18-year-olds who reside in the West Baltimore community. Participants are being recruited with the assistance of the juvenile justice system’s diversion programs and alternative sentencing programs, as well as youth placed in juvenile correctional facilities or local juvenile detention centers within the past 12 months. The following zip codes will comprise the geographic area to be served: 21201, 21207, 21215, 21216, 21217, 21223, 21225 and 21229. YO! Baltimore, a well-established MOED program that has been serving disconnected, out-ofschool city youth for over a decade, is providing the foundation for the CJC project. The newly appointed Mayoral Youth Cabinet, comprised of the directors of the city’s workforce development, human services and juvenile justice agencies, will play a central role in facilitating this initiative. The Youth Cabinet will promote communication among partner agencies and develop formal agreements to maximize effective cross referral of services and support for the CJC participants. “We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Department of Labor for its support of Baltimore and its citizens,” said MOED Director Karen Sitnick. “Baltimore City has achieved positive results in the area of workforce development, especially in connecting ex-offenders and at-risk young adults with resources to successfully enter the labor pool and become contributing members of our community. Through this grant, we will be able to directly impact the lives of 100 young people from West Baltimore, but the effects of this program will ripple far beyond these individuals and these neighborhoods to benefit our city as a whole.” Since July, when the grant was awarded, the YO! Baltimore CJC has formed the implementation team to work with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and the Western District Community Association (comprised of 12 community groups) that will identify meaningful community service projects beneficial to the Westside communities. These projects will include green upgrades to area parks, hiking trails, streams, playgrounds and common areas; graffiti removal and vacant lot cleanup; and support for the maintenance of area community centers and meeting places. CJC program operations are set to begin in November 2011 and will feature three phases: Phase 1 (two weeks) will be devoted to participant orientation and include team building, comprehensive assessments, life skills and mental health programming. Phase 2 (eight weeks) will be devoted to educational interventions and career preparation and will include academic classes, life skills training, an introduction to community service, job readiness workshops, and the exploration of continuing education and high-growth industry careers. Phase 3 (22 weeks) will focus on paid community service projects and transitional planning for post program job placement and/or post-secondary enrollment. In addition to the Mayor’s Youth Cabinet, the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board’s Youth Council is a key partner to help ensure that city services and employer engagement are fully infused into the YO! Baltimore CJC. Other partnerships include Civic Works, Western District Community Affairs Council, Maryland’s Drug Courts, Maryland Department of Public Works, Baltimore City’s Safety Enforcement Office, Baltimore City Department of Social Services, Maryland State/Baltimore City Departments of Juvenile Services, and Parks and People Foundation. Goals set for the program include an anticipated 85 percent completion rate among participants throughout all three phases; 100 percent of the completers will be placed in a career-training program, unsubsidized employment or college; and 85 percent of those will be retained in their placements for at least 90 days. The program will help participants to cultivate the habits of responsible citizenship and not engage in criminal activity. For more information on the range of Department of Labor employment and training programs, visit www.doleta.gov. For more information about MOED, visit www.oedworks.com. ### In fiscal year 2011, the Mayor's Office of Employment Development hosted more than 139,000 visits from city residents at our one-stop career centers, facilitated nearly 19,000 computer literacy training sessions at our Digital Learning Labs, and placed close to 2,700 individuals in jobs. We connected more than 5,000 youth to summer employment and assisted more than 500 businesses through our Employ Baltimore strategy. This year we are continuing our commitment to match Baltimore citizens with good jobs and satisfying careers, and to link area businesses to qualified employees. www.oedworks.com. Visit Baltimore City’s Website at www.baltimorecity.gov 

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