In the spring of 1997, The Abell Foundation awarded Baltimore City Healthy Start a $250,000 grant to replicate in Baltimore the highly successful East Harlem job placement program called STRIVE. The East Harlem program has been in operation since 1985 and now has affiliate programs in ten other cities, including Baltimore.
The STRIVE model emphasizes attitudinal training, job placement and post-placement support. The program prepares participants for the workforce through a strict, demanding three-week workshop (115 hours) that focuses on sharpening job-seeking and job-readiness skills and improving workplace behavior, appearance and attitude. Upon completion of the training, most STRIVE participants are placed in jobs within three weeks. A key component of the STRIVE program is that its graduates are monitored for a minimum of two years.
Now in its 14th year, STRIVE Baltimore continues to produce impressive
results. In 2011, with a $450,000 grant from The Abell Foundation:
- The program graduated 368 participants, with 228 new graduates (or 62 percent) placed into jobs, and 250 former graduates placed into jobs, bringing the total number of job placements to 478 people; and
- STRIVE graduates who were placed in employment
earned, on average, $10.16 per hour, which translates into $21,133
STRIVE continues to reach the hardest-to-serve: some 66 percent of graduates were male, 29 percent had not received their high school
diploma or GED, and 45 percent had felony or misdemeanor convictions.
Of those placed in jobs in 2011, 75 percent had retained
employment for six months or longer. The average cost per placement