The country’s only Black governor, Wes Moore, has launched a lucrative program for high school graduates, age 18-21, to boost community service.
The SERVE Act is the first program of its kind that allows young people in Maryland to give back to their communities while getting paid, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Through a partnership with the new Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation, the service options will address pressing issues of the state, including climate, education, health, and workforce expansion.
In a video posted to YouTube, Moore opened up about how service helped him navigate through the years.
“Service has impacted my life in immeasurable ways, and our Maryland Serves programs will allow us to build a stronger, more compassionate, and competitive state,” Moore said.
“The Maryland Serves application portal offers an unprecedented opportunity for Marylanders to explore career pathways that allow their talents and purpose to come together to serve their community,” he said.
There are applications in the portal for two nine-month programs that opened on Sept.1. The program is open to high school graduates between ages 18 and 21, who have their high school diploma, completion certificate, or earned their GED in Maryland. Under this option, program participants will have the opportunity to work with organizations across the state that provide job training and professional development to get paid at least $15 an hour.
The other option is the Maryland Corps, which is open to adults of all ages interested in performing public and community service. Also, earning close to $15 an hour, members will work with organizations to receive access to resources like personal money management training.
At the completion of either program, members will earn $6,000 that can be put towards tuition costs or will receive a cash stipend.
The Service and Civic Innovation Secretary Paul Monteiro says he is proud to support the governor for an initiative of this magnitude.
“I am pleased to support Governor Moore’s call to make service the foundation for a stronger Maryland,” Monteiro said. “Our programs provide Marylanders the opportunity to explore their possibilities and discover their power through service.”
Moore has been keeping an eye on the state of service jobs in Maryland. In September 2023, he visited Baltimore City Community College to discuss the severe nurse shortage, according to WBAL TV 11. The state will need close to 14,000 healthcare workers by 2035 and to help expedite the need, Moore’s administration provided close to $6 million in funding to nearly a dozen schools in an attempt to improve nursing programs.
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