Thursday Dec 12th, 2019
Kyle Green graduated in 2016 from Francis Scott Key High School, not knowing what he wanted to do next. He tried college for a semester but it didn’t seem like a good fit for him. Kyle’s jobs were limited to entry-level positions with not much room for advancement.
Kyle was a member of the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s (MOED) Eastside Youth Opportunity (YO) Baltimore Center, managed by the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition. YO Baltimore serves 18- to 24-year-olds who are out of school and unemployed or underemployed and connects them to career pathways while providing additional support services. Kyle proved to be job-ready, but really wanted a career with upward mobility.
He was employed as a warehouse worker when he learned about the Youth Water Mentoring Program (YH2O), a program operated by the Department of Public Works (DPW) and MOED designed to replenish the water industry’s aging workforce by training young people for employment in public and private sector jobs. Kyle applied and was excited to be accepted in the 2019 class. “It seemed like a great opportunity to get on track for a career,” Kyle said.
With assistance from the Chesapeake Water Environment Association (CWEA), YH2O participants, ages 18-24, learn job readiness, explore available positions in the water industry, and participate in a five-week on-the-job paid internship through Baltimore City’s YouthWorks summer jobs program. An individual career coach is paired with each young worker, helping them become well poised for employment upon completion of the program. And they are. Since YH2O’s inaugural year of 2015, 90 percent of the participants completed the program, and 96 percent of those were hired in full-time entry-level positions.
Outcomes & Benefits
After his summer internship Kyle was hired by DPW as a Lab Assistant at the Montebello Filtration Plant. “We monitor all the water for East Baltimore. One of my jobs here is to measure turbidity, which is the clarity of the water, and I maintain lab cleanliness,” Kyle said.
“They [MOED] are dedicated to preparing us for careers with a lot of opportunity for advancement. Mr. [Anthony] Greene [YH2O coordinator] is a great advocate and great resource and personal reference,” Kyle said. “There is so much peer support throughout the program, opportunities for networking with professionals and at the end is a great career.”
In September Kyle accepted a position as an Operator in Training at the Dorsey Run Wastewater Treatment Plant with Maryland Environmental Services. “I will take an operator’s test for each of the next three years and each time that I pass I get a considerable increase in my salary. After passing the third test I will be certified and become a Full Operator,” Kyle said.
Kyle’s supervisor at the Montebello plant, Maria Reed, praised Kyle, calling him, “bright and sharp and eager to learn.” She added, “His personality is uplifting. It’s great to have young people around us; they bring such a different perspective.”