BWI host 3rd Annual Summer Initiative program: Baltimore City youth learn about potential careers

(Left to right:)Aaliyah Harris, 10, Najah Johnson, 11, and Youth Workforce Specialist Lori Crisafulli control a tugboat captain simulation program during the annual Summer Initiative Program for Baltimore City youth at the Maritime Institute. (Photos by Nate Pesce)

In just one week, a group of Baltimore City youths were introduced to a variety of career options ranging from the hospitality industry and engineering to piloting a plane.

The Third Annual Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Summer Youth Initiative was held the week of Aug. 7 for 50 youths from Baltimore City.

Malachi Goodridge, 13, creates a mock vehicle manuscript in a workshop about freight shipping during the Third Annual Summer Initiative Program for Baltimore youths held Aug. 7-11 at different locations.

The weeklong event was held at multiple facilities including BWI Airport, Martin State Airport and the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies.

The Summer Youth Initiative exposes fifth- and sixth-graders from city recreation and park centers to careers in airport management, airline operations, aviation security, transportation logistics, engineering, the maritime industry, the military, hospitality/tourism and logistics.

The annual event is a collaboration between BWI Airport and the BWI Business Partnership. Fort Meade is a partner with the BWI Business Partnership.

Ten-year-old Kamiah Jones said she is excited to tell her friends about the variety of careers open to them.

“A lot of my friends say being a pilot is a dangerous job, but now that I’ve seen how it works, it’s not so dangerous to me,” said Kamiah, who attends Baltimore International Academy.

Members of Marine Corps Support Battalion at Fort Meade led several workshops on Aug. 10 at the Maritime Institute. Throughout the day, youths were introduced to port operations and the importance and diversity of ships and cargo calling at the Port of Baltimore.

The group witnessed how professional mariners are trained by visiting two of the institute’s full-mission training simulators and experiencing what it’s like to steer a ship in a busy harbor or serve as a crew member aboard a tugboat or barge.

“So far, I’m having a great time,” said 12-year-old Lakayla Young, who attends Leith Walk Elementary School in Baltimore. “Observing the simulator was amazing. I was able to see more than a regular guest would see.”

The youngsters also learned career success tips such as job interview etiquette, social media strategies, timeliness and verbal communication.

Taysia Pendergrass, 11, tries on a military flak jacket as Sgt. Jacob Meade of Marine Corps Support Battalion explains how the vest works. On Aug. 10, Fort Meade service members led several career workshops throughout the day.

After the session, they were introduced to the hospitality industry during a tour of one of the surrounding hotels. They explored the front and back of the hotel including the front desk, kitchen, a bedroom and housekeeping laundry room.

“There were so many different things to do today,” said Makayla Prioleau, 11, who attends the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. “Learning about the different jobs and careers was my favorite part of today.”

During the hourlong luncheon, Anne Arundel County Councilman Peter Smith spoke to the group about the difficulties he experienced growing up in Chicago. He also offered some tips to help them succeed in their future careers.

“It’s almost like a drug where I’m sort of addicted to helping these youth, because I was one of them,” Smith said. “I was in their shoes at one point living in a chaotic environment. I was one of those kids throwing rocks at the buses during the riots in Chicago.”

Smith mentioned how it was rewarding to be able to give back to the community.

“You know the old saying about when you throw a rock in the water, it creates all these ripple effects, and those ripples spread out? I think lives are the same thing,” Smith said.

“Life can create those ripple effects for different generations. If I can help one person, then that’s success for me.”

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