BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis is making it his business to put young people on career paths.
How does the 2014 unrest following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri lead to a jobs initiative in Baltimore?
“It’s time to make it better, city by city, person by person, change one life a day,” said Ray Lewis, co-founder, Baltimore 1000.
On the heels of unrest in that city, Ferguson 1000 was founded — a plan to provide training and create jobs for 1,000 young people in low income communities.
Baltimore’s crisis following the death of Freddie Gray — fatally injured while in police custody — inspired leaders of the Ferguson 1000 to partner with former Raven Ray Lewis to address the problems here.
“It is our objective to duplicate the same success we’ve had in Ferguson to create 1,000 jobs,” said Lance McCarthy, co-founder, Ferguson 1,000.
Many city leaders saw the riots as the violent fallout of systemic problems.
“So many of these young people have been disappointed over and over again. They’ve been a part of programs. The next thing you know, the program’s gone, and they begin to lose hope and lose faith,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D) 7th District.
Baltimore 1000 promises to be different.
“If they’re working for $3 or $4, then they’re going to stay doing exactly what they’re doing. But if you’re able to give them not just a job, but a physical skill–to teach them how we should live and how you should prepare and how you should carry yourself and certain manners–that’s what Baltimore 1000 has the ability to really create,” Lewis said.
The first hiring event is Saturday at the Morgan State School of Business between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Fifty companies, community and church organizations are taking part in the event.