In recognition that a competent, skilled workforce
is essential to the economic health and growth of Baltimore City,
the Foundation supports job skills training that enables low-income,
unemployed and underemployed job seekers to secure jobs that pay family-sustaining
wages. Priority is given to programs that link hard-to-serve job seekers
with employment, that promote job retention for at least one year
of employment, and that enhance opportunities for low-wage workers
to improve their skills and move into higher wage jobs.
The Foundation works with nonprofit organizations,
employers and public agencies to improve how public workforce development
funding is being spent in Baltimore and to link effective programs
with public funding. The Foundation also works with nonprofit organizations
to increase job seekers' access to needed services, including literacy
services, transportation, substance abuse treatment, and services
for ex-offenders. Finally, The Abell Foundation seeks to strengthen
policy initiatives that support low-income families and enhance
wages. These initiatives include increasing
access to income supports such as the earned income tax credit
and benefits such as food stamps for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Areas of interest include:
- job training and placement
- job retention and career advancement
- job readiness training
- non-custodial parents
- income supports
- transportation to employment
- bridge programming
- sector-based training programs
- transitional employment
Learn more about the workforce development initiatives
funded by The Abell Foundation by visiting Publications/Research.
More information is also available in our Highlights below.
Workforce Development Highlights
Alliance Careers in Healthcare
The Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare
was founded to address unemployment, underemployment, and health
care workforce shortage issues in Baltimore City. The Alliance has 1) worked with hospitals to design a bridge program for employees who are not testing high enough to enter in-house training programs; 2) developed healthcare career maps that identify healthcare careers in administrative, technical and patient care positions; and 3) has offered small grants to support the salaries of career coaches in participating healthcare institutions in an effort to improve retention and advancement of frontline workers in entry-level skilled healthcare jobs. Coaches are in place in seven hospitals and one nursing home. Of the 605 employees who have received coaching since July, 2007, 92 percent have remained employed for six months, 84 percent have remained employed for one year, and 73 percent have remained employed for two years. Among those retained one year, 31 percent achieved a promotion.
St. Ambrose Outreach Center
For the past eight years, The Abell Foundation has supported Learn to Earn, the skills training and employment program of the St. Ambrose Outreach Center, located in the Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore. In 2011, 251 people successfully completed occupational skills job training. A total of 105 people completed the seven-week, 99-hour child care training and received a certificate that allows them to work as a senior staff in a daycare or preschool program. A total of 45 people completed a 20-hour medical terminology class, and 114 people completed an eight-week, 150-hour Certified Nursing Assistant program in partnership with Genesis Healthcare. Thirty-four people completed the 140-hour, 12-week culinary arts training program and passed the ServSafe certification, a nationally recognized food safety course that requires completion of training and passing a written examination.
Over the past year, Learn to Earn has placed 169 people into jobs, with an average starting wage of $10 an hour. Some 76 percent remain employed for at least six months. All participants are required to complete two weeks of job readiness training before enrolling in hard skills training.
Baltimore CASH Campaign
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a powerful
work incentive and poverty alleviation tool, helping low-income
working families to increase their earnings by as much as 40%. In 2011, the Baltimore CASH Campaign prepared 10,211 tax returns, refunding more than $17 million in federal and state dollars and saving more than $1.5 million in tax preparation.
CASA of Maryland
CASA of Maryland opened the Baltimore Workers’
Employment Center at 2224 East Fayette Street on December 19, 2007.
The center provides employment placement services for day laborers
and low-income workers who begin to assemble as early in the morning
in the hopes of being picked up for low-wage paying jobs in construction,
landscaping, home improvement, sanitation, and other day-to-day,
low- skilled, physical labor intensive jobs. The center was established
to reduce the risk of unfair, illegal treatment and exploitative
practices faced by many day laborers. CASA provides employment placement
services at the Center from 6 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.
Although many of the day laborers served are Latino immigrants,
the center also serves other immigrants as well as African-American
and white day laborers. In the past year, CASA placed 94 workers in temporary and daily jobs and moved 40 workers into permanent employment. CASA provided information and referral services to 450 community members per month; library workshops to 639 low income Baltimore workers and assisted 264 low-income families in filing tax returns.
Rose Street Community Center
Since February, 2000, with support from The Abell Foundation, the Rose Street Community Center (Rose Street) has offered small weekly stipends (no more than $10 a day) to community residents in exchange for participating in daily community clean-ups. GED classes, or gang mediation meetings. Last year, Rose Street served more than 100 people per week. nearly half of those served each week (approximately 50 people) reside in Rose Street's nine transitional houses. Those men who are unemployed and reside in the houses in community cleanups, removing nine tons of trash from the community each week. Once they have secured employment, Rose Street staff assists them in obtaining permanent housing. Compared to other transitional housing programs, Rose Street serves those most often turned away by other program--those with violent crime histories. Most participants have not earned a high school diploma or GED.
Biotechnical Institute of Maryland
The Biotechnical Institute of Maryland, Inc. (BTI) was founded in 1998 to enable high-school graduates and low-skilled workers to pursue entry-level positions in bioscience. BTI offers two programs: 1) the BTI Lab Associates Program consists of nine weeks of lectures and laboratory exercises, and a three-week internship with a biotech laboratory;and 2) the BioSTART program is a 12-week "bridge" program that introduces students to bioscience terminology, occupations and lab procedures, and that provides math remediation. Once students complete BioSTART, they enroll in the Lab Associates program. Since 1998, BTI has trained 265 laboratory technicians, with 75 percent being placed in laboratory and manufacturing technician positions at an average wage of $12.00/hour. Over 30 organizations in the Greater Baltimore area employ BTI graduates; the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions employ 25 percent of BTI's graduates. Research indicates that graduates remain employed, earning an average of $25,000. The average cost per placement is relatively high, approaching $10,000.
STRIVE teaches the unemployed "soft skills," such as the
ability to communicate with customers and coworkers and work effectively
as a member of a team. The programs also offers, job placement and
Vehicles for Change is a program that puts a car within reach of
any low-income family that needs one to get to work. Vehicles for
Change demonstrates how ownership of a car can, and often does,
make a critical difference.
Year Up provides low-income high school graduates
and GED recipients, ages 18 to 24, with a year of information technology
(IT) and Investment Operations training, leading to technical careers,
with starting salaries of over $35,000. In 2006, Year Up opened
an office in the Washington, DC area (the office is located in Arlington,
VA). The site is posting impressive outcomes:
- 90 percent of graduates are placed in jobs
within four months of graduation, averaging $38,000 a year;
- More than 85 percent of Year Up’s
corporate partners continue to renew their commitment to future
- 91 percent of corporate partners express
satisfaction with apprentices.
With funding from the Abell Foundation, Year
Up is now serving Baltimore area high school graduates. Through partnerships with Community College of Baltimore County and Baltimore City Community College, 3 student cohorts of Year Up students have achieved the following outcomes:
- 65 percent of students graduated from Year Up Baltimore
- 80 percent of graduates are employed within four months of graduation
- 90 percent of graduates demonstrate positive outcomes within four months of graduation -- they will be enrolled in college full-time or working full-time or part-time
- Those graduated who are working earn an average of $14/hour.
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