Wednesday May 11th, 2011
A 21‐year‐old with a criminal record, Darrin could have continued to choose a negative path and not pursue finding a job.
Instead, in July 2010, he was determined to turn things around for himself and applied to be part of Urban Youth Corps, a program operated by the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s Youth Opportunity (YO! Baltimore) initiative in partnership with the Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. Urban Youth Corps is tailored to minority men and women between the ages of 17 and 25 living in Baltimore’s Sandtown‐Winchester community. Urban Youth Corps participants are enrolled in the program for one year, during which time they help to rehabilitate, reclaim and beautify public spaces, recreational sites, youth and senior centers, public roads and public works facilities.
They participate in life skills and job readiness workshops, and develop skills through hands‐on work experience. Participants also have an opportunity to earn their GED and explore post‐secondary education, while having access to on‐site mental health and substance abuse support services as needed. During the interview process to evaluate Darrin’s candidacy for the Urban Youth Corps program, Supervisor Tim Johnson and Senior Advocate LaKeia Funderburk told Darrin that one way to overcome his criminal background obstacle to employment was to make himself very valuable to his internship supervisor. “We told him that, because of his background, he would have to go to work every day, show up on time, and outwork everyone there,” Mr. Johnson said. “And he did just that.”
Outcomes & Benefits
Darrin started as an intern with Baltimore City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) in October 2010, responsible for maintaining the sidewalks, streets, pedestrian bridges and water fountains in and around the Inner Harbor area downtown. His duties included cleaning, repairing and removing snow. Before long, his supervisor, Paul Scrutzi, was so impressed with Darrin’s work performance that he told him he wanted him as a full‐time employee. Darrin submitted his application for the position, fulfilled all the necessary job requirements, and was hired as a full‐time Baltimore City worker in April 2011. “This hire is of such significance because Darrin fully demonstrates that obstacles to employment can be overcome,” said Mr. Johnson.