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For weeks in 2014, Christopher Simms often walked to one of Baltimore’s malls and picked up job applications from stores he passed on the promenade. The 31-year-old submitted applications online and asked store managers for work. The attempts failed and he stopped looking.
Then in the middle of 2016, things changed. The job market improved and he got tired of sitting at home. He went to a career center and found a job as a sheet metal apprentice.