BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is calling on the business community to empower city youth, one student at a time.

Monique Griego was there for the kick-off of the Hire One Youth campaign.

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The mayor got down with the girls of Western High School with the hopes of opening up summer jobs for students.

“It keeps them more focused– focused on what they want to be when they grow up– off the streets which is most important especially in Baltimore City,” Raechel Mattison, a senior at Western High, said.

Mattison got her start in the career world through the city’s YouthWorks program.

“I got to know a lot of skills that I didn’t know before YouthWorks,” she said. “I got to work with older people so it was a more mature environment.”

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Every year the program places around 5,000 students in summer jobs. But Wednesday, the mayor had a message for the business community to help increase that number.

The Hire One Youth campaign calls on all local businesses to hire at least one student this summer.

“Employers have the opportunity to build tomorrow’s workforce today and teach them necessary skills to be successful,” Rawlings-Blake said.

YouthWorks provides opportunities for young adults ages 14 to 21. So far this year, several new employers have signed up but the city needs more to meet the demand.

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Businesses interested in joining the program can sign up on the city’s website by clicking here. Employers do have the opportunity to interview and select the students they hire.