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Maryland Governor Wes Moore testified before the state House on behalf of a bill to help high school graduates obtain jobs. The SERVE Act provides every Maryland high school graduate or GED holder with a year of service work.

The SERVE Act stands for the Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration Act of 2023.

With the SERVE Act, Governor Wes Moore will provide career and life-skill opportunities for high school graduates and GED holders. It is a commitment he made during his campaign for Governor. 

Maryland high school graduates could also work in government positions. Governor Moore wants students to know about job opportunities for high school graduates, and for students before they enter college.

According to Governor Wes Moore, “This is an option for all of our students, all of Maryland’s graduates and completers to be able to see what it would look like if we could have a year devoted to something bigger than ourselves. I believe deeply that all the challenges that our state and all the challenges that our nation are facing, that it is going to be service that is going to help to save us.”

Maryland Governor Wes Moore serves high school students with SERVE Act

The state would have one application website to handle traffic for students who plan to complete the SERVE Act program. The program will connect graduates with a mentor, and one-year jobs.

Additionally, the SERVE Act jobs will pay more than the federal minimum wage. Maryland graduates would make at least $15 per hour in their positions.

SERVE Act participants will work at least 30 hours per week. According to Governor Wes Moore, “The service year serves as a bridge to each participant’s next step in employment, education — whether it be a new career, whether it be public service, whether it be technical training and apprenticeship, post-secondary education or another service program.”

Proponents of the legislation tout its innovative approach to supporting graduates. According to June Chung, deputy legislative officer for the governor’s office, “This bill will provide other networking opportunities, it will branch out the participants’ exposure and horizons so they can get to meet other people.”

Governor Wes Moore, Maryland’s first Black governor and the nation’s third Black governor in history, has already promoted other statewide programs. He recently invested state funds in oyster recovery projects, as well as committed to supporting Maryland’s environmental sustainability. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...