New Reports Provide a Roadmap for Creating Opportunities for Baltimore's Young People

Posted February 23, 2016, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog baltimorereports 2016

More than one in five young peo­ple ages 16 to 24 in Bal­ti­more are nei­ther in school nor work­ing. That’s about 18,000 young peo­ple — one of the high­est city rates in the coun­try. With­in that pop­u­la­tion, about 38% lack a high school diplo­ma or GED, and, on aver­age, these young peo­ple have a sev­enth-grade read­ing lev­el and fifth-grade math level. 

Two recent­ly released reports offer rec­om­men­da­tions for find­ing new ways to recon­nect these young peo­ple with edu­ca­tion, train­ing, jobs and entre­pre­neur­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties, focus­ing on expand­ing indus­try-spe­cif­ic train­ing pro­grams, fos­ter­ing more col­lab­o­ra­tion between orga­ni­za­tions and pro­vid­ing expand­ed sup­port ser­vices for youth to help them succeed.

The reports, which were devel­oped by Baltimore’s Promise, the Bal­ti­more Work­force Fun­ders Col­lab­o­ra­tive and the Job Oppor­tu­ni­ties Task Force with sup­port from Casey and oth­ers, high­light the spe­cif­ic needs of young peo­ple not in school or work­ing (some­times called dis­con­nect­ed youth), as well as the local work­force field­’s capac­i­ty to meet those needs. These pub­li­ca­tions come at an impor­tant time, as many through­out the city seek to address the chal­lenges that pre­vent Bal­ti­more youth from access­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty — chal­lenges under­scored dur­ing last spring’s unrest. 

Among the pol­i­cy and prac­tice recommendations:

  • Expand Baltimore’s work­force devel­op­ment pro­grams focused on indi­vid­ual employ­ment sec­tors to more effec­tive­ly serve youth not in school or working.
  • Pro­vide proven youth sup­port ser­vices — such as men­tor­ing and intern­ships — as part of work­force programs.
  • Expand col­lab­o­ra­tion and part­ner­ships between non­prof­it and pub­lic agen­cies to devel­op or improve youth-focused work­force pro­grams in Baltimore.
  • Devel­op a ded­i­cat­ed fund­ing source to pay for expand­ed work­force pro­gram­ming for dis­con­nect­ed youth.
  • Build a com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem to col­lect and share data about young peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in work­force pro­grams, and do ongo­ing eval­u­a­tion of all pro­grams to gauge their success.

The reports also rec­om­mend non­prof­it and pub­lic agen­cies work close­ly with Bal­ti­more youth them­selves to devel­op new approach­es to serv­ing dis­con­nect­ed young people. 

Read a sum­ma­ry of the rec­om­men­da­tions, or check out the full reports, Expand­ing Sec­tor Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ties for Young Adults in Bal­ti­more and Con­nect­ing Baltimore’s Oppor­tu­ni­ty Youth to Careers.

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