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Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative to Receive $600,000

Tuesday, December 7, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Buffy Beaudoin Schwartz
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For Immediate Release

December 7, 2010

Martha Holleman, 410.662.8109;
Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, 410.727.1205

Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative to Receive $600,000 from National Fund for Workforce Solutions to Strengthen Unique Approach to Workforce Training

Baltimore is one of ten communities to receive a total of $5.5 million in new funding to expand innovative approaches to job training and career support from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions via the federal government's Social Innovation Fund - a landmark effort to co-invest with private philanthropy in identifying solutions to some of the nation's toughest challenges.

The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative, housed at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, will receive $600,000 over two years to add to its investments in training and placing formerly low wage workers in career track jobs in Biotechnology, Construction, Healthcare and Food Service/ Culinary Arts.

"I was extremely proud to receive word that Baltimore had been selected as one of the first recipients of a Social Innovation Fund award" said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"The highly effective workforce partnerships supported by the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative are meeting the needs of our region’s employers while training and placing formerly low wage workers in jobs that can support their families and lead to a career – even in this difficult economy,” said Marci Hunn of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, a co-chair of the Baltimore Funders Collaborative.

Along with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, other members of the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative include the Mayor’ Office of Employment Development, the Abell Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, whose Associate Director for Civic Sites and Investments, Patrice Cromwell, joins Ms. Hunn as co-chair.

The Social Innovation Fund award also leverages a dollar for dollar match from the Living Cities Integration Initiative for workforce training announced as part of a larger award to Baltimore last month. Staff and logistical support for the Collaborative comes from the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.

About Workforce Partnerships in Baltimore

Workforce partnerships bring employers and training providers together in targeted sectors to create training and career support programs that meet the needs of employeesandemployers. Workforce partnerships to be supported with this award in Baltimore are:

The Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Health Care (BACH) that creates opportunities for low-income residents to pursue healthcare careers while meeting the hiring needs of local healthcare institutions. A key focus is providing hands-on coaching for healthcare workers, which is designed to increase employee retention rates, improve job performance and promote career advancement. Of those who receive coaching through BACK, 70 percent stayed employed for at least six months, and were in jobs that provided health benefits. Coaching recipients who retained a job for more than a year, saw their wages increase by 75 percent.Contact: Ronald M. Hearn, Executive Director: 443-451-9822

The BioTechnical Institute of Maryland (BTI)that trains people for entry-level jobs in Maryland’s expanding biotechnology industry and partners with more than 30 life sciences companies in the region. A study by the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore found that BTI graduates experienced wage gains, on average, of 60 percent in the year following their training. Even during the economic downturn, BTI continues to place between 65 and 70 percent of its graduates into industry jobs.Contact: Kathleen Weiss, Executive Director: 410-752-4224

JumpStartis a pre-apprenticeship construction training program that works with low-income city residents to become licensed construction craft workers and obtain family-supporting, career track jobs – while improving the skills of the area’s construction workforce. Operated by a partnership of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. and the Job Opportunities Task Force, JumpStart continues to post strong results with 80 percent of graduates placed in jobs and a 50 percent increase from pre-enrollment wages.Contact Jason Perkins-Cohen, Executive Director: JOTF: 410-234-8040

In addition, Baltimore Workforce Funders will use the Social Innovation Fund award to explore opportunities in Food Service/ Culinary Arts. Salaries for skilled culinary positions in the region can range from $24,000 for line cooks up to $45,000 for sous chefs. Given poor school completion and graduation rates, this sector is especially attractive for Baltimore workers as advancement depends more on an individual’s initiative and ability rather than formal educational milestones.

About the National Fund for Workforce Solutions

The National Fund is one of the nation’s largest philanthropic endeavors, with nine national investors joining with more than 200 local and regional funders across 18 states, with more to come, testing local, innovative approaches to workforce development. "What makes the approach of the National Fund unique is the strong focus on two customers: the employee and the employer,” said Damian Thorman, National Program Director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Chair of the National Fund. "While implementation varies from community to community, all 24 of our local sites forge a close working relationship with employers. This ensures that we are supporting training and career programs in communities like Baltimore that will prepare jobseekers and workers for the jobs that will exist in each community as the economic recovery takes hold.”

About the Social Innovation Fund

The grants announced this week represent a combination of direct funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund and matching funds raised from private donors. The Social Innovation Fund is an innovative new federal program that addresses major challenges confronting communities by growing high-impact nonprofit organizations delivering proven solutions.

About the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

As a membership organization of foundations, donor advised funds, and corporate giving programs, the mission of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective grantmakers. ABAG’s primary purposes are to strengthen and promote organized private philanthropy in the Baltimore region, facilitate effective grantmaking by their 135+member organizations, and provide supportive activities to enhance the nonprofit sector.

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