With its summer-jobs-for-youth budget suddenly almost doubled -- thanks to an emergency urban aid package passed by Congress Wednesday -- Baltimore is now scurrying to find 2,500 more disadvantaged teen-agers who want to work.
"I'm very happy," said Karen Sitnick, project director of Commonwealth Youth Services. "I just need everyone's help."
Her office, part of the city's Office of Employment Development, had been planning to run a summer jobs program on a budget of $3 million. It had spent the past year lining up minimum-wage jobs for 3,400 Baltimoreans ages 14 to 21.
Now, the urban-aid bill that President Bush is expected to sign soon adds at least $2 million to the program. That means Commonwealth will be able to pay another 2,500 to 3,000 workers from low-income families for summer work.
If the president signs the bill, the city will be looking for those extra teens. Ms. Sitnick said the new money will let the city reopen registration.
To be eligible, the teen-agers must come from homes with incomes that meet federal standards -- less than $16,000 for a family of four.
The new employees will begin work July 13, two weeks later than the teen-agers already registered. The jobs end Aug. 14.
The city will place the workers in non-profit organizations, government offices and community groups, with the $4.25-an-hour salaries covered by federal funds.
The jobs range from receptionist to park maintenance work, from summer camp aide to school department painter.
"We'd been doing registration in schools while school was in session, and also with community organizations, on the Community College of Baltimore campus and at the War Memorial," Ms. Sitnick said.
Once the president signs the federal bill, Commonwealth will reopen registration at sites around the city, including mayor's stations, Ms. Sitnick said.
Her office will mail fliers to 50,000 students informing them of the new job openings.
"I know there are loads of kids in Baltimore City who are motivated to work and should be working," Ms.Sitnick said. "The question is, will we be able to tap them in this period of time. It is a very intensive project.
"We want to show Congress that we can in this system use this money as well as possible."
And her office could find itself with even more federal money to pay summer salaries.
Besides the $2 million dedicated to Baltimore, the state will receive funds to distribute to local governments.
Baltimore could receive even more from that grant.