Solutions City Town Hall Addresses Youth Employment

IMAGE: Mayor Rawlings-Blake and youth employment partners participate in a Solutions City panel at Starbucks

Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Starbucks Hold Town Hall to Address Youth Employment 

New initiative unites local leaders, stakeholders to unlock opportunities for youth 

BALTIMORE, Md. (October 21, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined with Starbucks officials to host a town hall meeting focused on increasing youth employment opportunities for Baltimore City youth—bringing together representatives from the Greater Baltimore Committee, the mayor's Hire One Youth initiative, and the Mayor's Office of Employment Development, along with businesses and community members.

This event is the first of six planned town hall meetings that seek to raise awareness of youth employment, educate employers about the benefits of hiring youth, and increase the number of area employers that hire young people for summer jobs and year-round positions.

"If we are serious about preparing our young people for the world of employment, we must ensure that we are doing our part to offer them opportunities that will allow them to grow," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "In order to bridge the gap between our unemployed young adults and employer demand, we need to give our youth opportunities to develop and enhance marketable skills in real-life work environments."

This town hall meeting is part of Solutions City—a new initiative conceived by Starbucks and mayors of five U.S cities, including Baltimore, MD; Sacramento, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Columbus, OH; and Orlando, FL that brings residents and local leaders together at neighborhood Starbucks to address three key issues: providing access to education, supporting veterans, and empowering opportunity youth.

"Mayors are problem solvers, rising to meet the challenges facing our communities every single day," said Blair Taylor, executive vice president and chief community officer for Starbucks. "Solutions City helps put a formal framework and tangible goals around what's already occurring and uses Starbucks stores as gathering places for mayors and citizens to deliberately discuss issues and drive toward the best local solutions."

Mayor Rawlings-Blake and the other participating mayors will evaluate the impact of the town hall series, share best practices, and help Solutions City potentially expand to Starbucks stores nationwide.


  • In Baltimore City, according to Census and data compiled by the Aspen Institute, there are approximately 15,931 young people between the ages of 16-24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market.
  • In Maryland, the employment rate for 16-19-year-olds is approximately 30%, and approximately 68% for 20-24-year-olds. (U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Throughout the United States, the youth employment rate is the lowest it's been since World War II. The recovery in the broad job market has largely left younger workers behind. Many entry-level or unskilled jobs—such as in fast food restaurants or in manufacturing—have either disappeared or are being filled by older, more experienced workers. As of August 2014, youth unemployment in the U.S. has been at least twice the national average for more than 60 consecutive months.
  • According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2012 Kids Count Policy Report, for each 16-year-old out of school and out of work, the future lifetime taxpayer burden is $258,040. The same study calculates that the total taxpayer burden for all out-of-school and out-of-work youth ages 16 to 24 is $1.56 trillion.
  • According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2012 Kids Count Policy Report, Northeastern University researchers have demonstrated that early work experience—such as that gained through a part-time summer job— is a powerful predictor of future success and earnings in the labor market, and increases earnings over a person's lifetime by 10 to 12 percent.

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