Southwest Partnership

Education and Workforce Development Committee Meeting

January 5th 2017


1138 Hollins St



Amanda Benjamin

Jane Mayrer

Lou Packett

Ivan Leshinsky

Dotie Page

Lisa Rawlings

Elizabeth Weber

Vernell Lewis

Bill Joynell


Baltimore Education Coalition


St Luke’s is a member of the Baltimore Education Coalition, a coalition of organizations in Baltimore working on education policy. They have two main areas of focus: advocacy in Annapolis during the legislative session and holding North Avenue accountable for how money allotted to the school system is spent. Currently one of the bills they are advocating for is to increase spending for Out of School Time Programs and Community Schools. BEC has been meeting with delegates and senators to get support for the bill. Representatives from Franklin Square have been meeting with their representatives.


As per the last meeting, Jane and Elizabeth had a meeting with BEC about the SWP becoming a coalition member, and Lou and Vernell attended a BEC event. The question is whether the SWP Education and Workforce Development Committee would be interested in being a member of the BEC.


Vernell and Lou went to a BEC training. Lou thought that the training went well and that many of the things that BEC does would be hard for an individual to do on their own. He was concerned that some of the more politically focused tactics could have negative ramifications for the SWP. Vernell felt positively about the training she attended and thought that it was a good organization to be involved with.


The Committee discussed the possibilities of being a full member vs or an affiliate member. The BEC affiliate membership category is new for BEC, so the SWP would be a test case. In general. The affiliate members are not as active in setting the focus and activity of the BEC.


Lou made the motion that the SWP Education and Workforce Development Committee would become an affiliate member, appoint a point person, and after a year would decide whether or not to become a full member. The motion passed and Vernell will be the representative.


Community Schools Update


The initial goal of the Committee was to have every school in the area be a community school. Currently only James McHenry is a community school. (Steuart Hill is self-funding their community school and will be unable to afford it after this school year). The Committee has done a lot of work building community and school buy-in.


Lisa and Elizabeth met with the Family League, who while they don’t expect to have the funding to expand the community school model, they can connect non-Family League funded schools to their professional networks and connections, which is a huge benefit. The Family League suggested that the SWP embark on an area-wide planning process. It is possible that the Local Development Council will fund half of it (for the schools in Pigtown). The costs will be primarily to hire someone to lead the process. Ivan suggested private foundations that he knows may be interested in the process.


Elizabeth will write up a one pager on Steuart Hill’s needs, as well as a proposal for the planning process as a whole as well as a two page LOI.


At the meeting with the Family League we also learned that Bon Secours Community Works is a community school vendor.


Committee Chair Elections

Elizabeth opened the floor for nominations. Vernell and Lou nominated themselves for Committee Chair.


Vernell: She can help support education and schools be a big, positive impact on the community. She has always worked and volunteered in education and has lived in the community for over twenty years. She knows a lot of people in the community and in the general area and has been in involved with education in the community for a long time.

Dotie asked if Vernell thought she could work equally for all communities.

Vernell: yes, she knows people across all seven neighborhoods and would meet people she didn’t know; she is an easy going person.


Lou: Has a global view on the impact of this Committee. Educating individual students is an important aspect of what we’re trying to do and when looking at all of the different committees he realizes that so many of their efforts will be for naught if the education is not successful. Schools have to be an integral part of the plan, and have to make greater connections with what’s going on with the committees to make everyone part of the SWP really focused on how important it is to get this job done. Lou thinks his strong suit is his wide ranging interests and that he will be able to make connections to other Committees.


Lisa asked both candidates about how they would handle the workforce development aspect of the Education and Workforce Development Committee.


Lou: in his mind they are equally important, and thinks he’s done workforce work as strong as his education work. Is hoping for help with the facilitation of the Workforce Roundtable.


Vernell: her work doesn’t just stop at education, she also works trying to help people get jobs and has connections with employment agencies. She tries to get information about available jobs to the community and connect other people with information.


Lisa discussed the SWP Workforce Roundtable, which handles the workforce development side of the Committee. She would be willing to continue chairing the Roundtable if the new Chair was interested.


Dotie asked each candidate if they thought they would be good fits for the workforce roundtable. Both candidates said yes.


The Committee voted: Lisa, Lou, Dotie, and Vernell were eligible to vote. Lou was elected Committee Chair for 2017.


Lou: thanked the Committee. He will be leaning heavily on Lisa for the workforce development side, and would like to be able to lean on Vernell for the education side.