One Baltimore for Jobs Strengthens Local Workforce Systems

Posted February 13, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog onebaltimoreforjobsstrengthensworkforcesystems 2017

One Bal­ti­more for Jobs, an ini­tia­tive sup­port­ed by the Casey Foun­da­tion, has helped hun­dreds of young adults from dis­in­vest­ed city neigh­bor­hoods get jobs in con­struc­tion, health care, trans­porta­tion and oth­er high-growth indus­tries in the two years since it was cre­at­ed after the unrest fol­low­ing Fred­die Gray’s death.

The unrest spot­light­ed many of the sys­temic chal­lenges fac­ing Bal­ti­more, includ­ing a lack of employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for youth and young adults from low-income fam­i­lies. In response to the upris­ing and to test inno­v­a­tive strate­gies for con­nect­ing young peo­ple with jobs, the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor award­ed a two-year, $5 mil­lion grant through the Mary­land Depart­ment of Labor, Licens­ing and Reg­u­la­tion to the City of Bal­ti­more to estab­lish the initiative.

Admin­is­tered by the Mayor’s Office of Employ­ment Devel­op­ment, One Bal­ti­more for Jobs has built a city­wide infra­struc­ture to help train and place Bal­ti­more res­i­dents who face the great­est bar­ri­ers to employ­ment and self-suf­fi­cien­cy. The effort also has received sup­port from oth­er local pri­vate foundations.

The suc­cess of the effort has been dri­ven by the col­lab­o­ra­tion of state and local agen­cies, work­force ser­vice providers and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions work­ing to remove employ­ment bar­ri­ers for res­i­dents, such as crim­i­nal records and out­stand­ing child-sup­port debt. One Bal­ti­more for Jobs, for exam­ple, has worked with offi­cials to adjust child sup­port pay­ments to fit a worker’s income lev­el and attor­neys from sev­er­al non­prof­it legal ser­vices orga­ni­za­tions have helped job seek­ers with crim­i­nal record expungement.

The Casey Foundation’s sup­port for One Bal­ti­more for Jobs is part of its long­stand­ing com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty among Baltimore’s chil­dren, youth and their fam­i­lies. Jobs are just one piece of the puz­zle,” says Tomi Hiers, direc­tor of Casey’s Bal­ti­more Civic Site. We must sup­port our local agency part­ners and build on these col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts so that we can con­tin­ue mak­ing progress in the areas we know are most crit­i­cal to the long-term suc­cess of our city — edu­ca­tion, employ­ment, health and housing.”

In 2017, Casey will con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing sup­port to many of the work­force-focused orga­ni­za­tions that par­tic­i­pat­ed in the One Bal­ti­more for Jobs pilot. These funds will help strength­en local capac­i­ty for engage­ment and bol­ster job-reten­tion ini­tia­tives for dis­con­nect­ed youth.

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