Through Pilot Project, West Baltimore Youth Build Picnic Tables, Stock Market Knowledge


Brice Freeman, Communications, 410-396-1910, [email protected]
Ernest Dorsey, Youth Services, 410-396-6722, [email protected]

Through Pilot Project, West Baltimore Youth Build Picnic Tables, Stock Market Knowledge
Targeting out-of-school, out-of-work youth, the “Construct A Difference” project couples construction and financial skills

Baltimore, Maryland (April 14, 2016) – Members of the Westside Youth Opportunity (YO) Baltimore Center who are working toward their GED have a unique chance to explore and develop two very different skill sets through a new project called “Construct A Difference.”

During the 14-week program, which began April 8, young people spend three hours a week learning construction skills by building picnic tables and planters under the instruction and supervision of Civic Works. The completed picnic tables and planters will be donated to and placed throughout Druid Hill Park in West Baltimore.

In addition to the construction workshops, participants work with a Morgan Stanley investment advisor to learn banking and investment fundamentals. Along with a cash stipend, participants earn an hourly rate in stocks for their construction work and are able to buy and trade stocks with the money earned. At the completion of the program, students get possession of their stocks and may also qualify for more advanced skills training through Civic Works.

Project partners include local visionary and philanthropist Pat Bernstein, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Morgan Stanley, Civic Works, and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.

YO Baltimore was founded with federal funds in 2000 to address the many needs of young people disconnected from the education system and workforce. Over the past 15 years, YO has served approximately 8,000 people; today the YO system serves 700-800 city residents annually. The Westside YO Center, which is also home to the YO Academy public high school, is located at W. Lafayette Avenue and Gilmor Street, provides academic, career/job training, advocacy, mentoring, health and social support services to out-of-school, out-of-work city youth. Since federal funding for YO expired in 2006, the program has continued to operate thanks to the vision, commitment and strong support from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Council President Jack Young and their predecessors, as well as the current and past members of the Baltimore City Council.


The Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development is committed to building a strong workforce for our city by developing meaningful partnerships with the local business community and connecting Baltimore citizens of all ages and backgrounds with jobs and pathways to careers. In fiscal year 2015 MOED hosted more than 93,000 visits from city residents at our career center locations, connected more than 1,200 people with computer literacy training at our digital learning labs, and placed more than 9,200 individuals in jobs – including nearly 7,000 young people through the 2015 YouthWorks summer jobs program – and assisted more than 1,100 businesses through our Employ Baltimore – Ready to Work for You strategy. Please visit for more information.

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