The Committee elected a Chair to serve for the next year. Elizabeth explained the roles and responsibilities of the Chair. Bill requested that the Committee vote for Chair using a closed ballot, the Committee voted to use an open ballot to vote for the Chair with five votes for a closed ballot, 10 votes for an open ballot, and three abstentions.
Kristine nominate Richard, Richard accepted
Bill and Khandra nominate Caryn, Caryn accepted
Each candidate spoke briefly about why they would like to be Chair.
Caryn is the ED of the Jobs Opportunities Task Force and a Hollins Market resident. She was previously the Chair of the Committee and served on the Committee and is excited to be back and to see so many attendees. She acknowledged that this might be an uncomfortable election, but wants to focus on the needs of community members–that they have the tools to mitigate the barriers that render them unemployable. Have a chance to ensure that community members have the opportunity to succeed and not drown in the wave of development around them–doesn’t want to take anything away from the current Chair but also knows that there is important work to be done and believes that because she is a resident and the leader of JOTF she is the person to do this work.
Richard has worked with Caryn in the past, reached out to her in the midst of COVID, and wants people to know that she is a wonderful person who’s advocacy work has been excellent. Feels that currently the workforce development committee is a blueprint for what a good committee looks like. There isn’t negativity or animosity among Committee members because the nuclear group here is about job creation and job training, moving community members beyond entry level training. Don’t have a singular focus because can’t have a singular focus–adult education, redevelopment, opportunities for young people. Richard has done everything he could this year to advance these goals–looked at other places to see what could be done. There has been a great range of folks involved in the meetings, and he has done everything he could in the past year to make the Committee inclusive and to have community members work together. Membership has grown, were able to grant funds to various community organizations–Richard made sure that Committee members were involved in the decision making process in awarding this funding. Prioritizes transparency and inclusion and wants to continue that moving forward.
Ivan: wanted to know why Caryn hasn’t been involved since she was no longer the Chair.
Caryn: her last meeting was the meeting after the all night community resource fair clinic they had had, which was very successful. At that meeting concerns were raised by Bif about partners that were at the event and this spiraled into the Board meeting. At the next meeting Richard was nominated to replace her as Chair, and she was taken aback by how she was treated and so took a step back from the SWP. She has still remained with the workforce roundtable and with members and staff and continuing the work.
Kristine: Why does Caryn want to be involved now given the reasons she stopped being involved?
Caryn: people recognize that people have stopped being involved due to dominant personalities which stop work from being done, and wants to ensure that there is diversity in opinion, industry, passion, and interest.
Lisa: how many cases were expunged at the event?
Caryn: a little under three hundred
Virgina: how many people got jobs or calls back?
Caryn: wasn’t a job fair, so hard to track that, were only able to capture numbers in terms of people who attended and had cases expunged
Virginia concerned that Caryn hadn’t attended meetings since she was voted out as Chair. Caryn wants to ensure that there aren’t resources pushed out because of disagreements or neighborhood drama
Khandra: how has JOTF pivoted during COVID
Caryn: constituency is the low wage/essential worker and have had increased case management work, increased work with community members on addressing shut offs etc, JOTF now administers the bail fund for Baltimore CityThere, and work has intensified.
Lisa wants to say that both Richard and Caryn have experienced people working behind the scenes to get them out of their positions. Not in line with what the SWP should be if held to the highest ideals. Also wrong and unfair to suggest that either one of them doesn’t have the professionalism to deal with what they have to deal with. Lou agrees, and wants to add that he thinks that there is another instance happening tonight.
Bill thinks it’s appropriate for the Committee or a neighborhood association to select another leader if they so choose.
Caryn thinks that purposes for this election they are electing a Committee Chair and should focus on that.
Lisa has a question about outreach–she doesn’t think that enough people know what we do and the resources available, and would like to know how the Chairs would support more outreach.
Richard: very supportive of outreach–thinks that this is something the Committee wants to focus on, has impacted ability to do outreach, wanted to the committee to work on impacting covid. Had a discussion about outreach measures using the Lowe’s grant, would like the Committee to focus on helping folks impacted by covid. Have worked with grant partners to ensure that projects were ready to go and has reached out to partners around the country.
Caryn: there’s not a playbook for community outreach. It was difficult to do outreach before the pandemic and its even harder during the pandemic. Digital divide is a major issue–organic in its truest form right now, especially because we can’t do stuff outside. Community outreach could include encouraging people to wear masks and using that as a way to get engagement
Richard was re-elected Chair of the Committee 7 votes to 6
Workforce Grant Program Update
All three grant recipients have been met with and are working on getting their programs up and running. They will be presenting at the next workforce roundtable meeting on November 20th if workforce committee members want to attend. We will be able to do outreach and share information about the programs once they have the information ready for recruitment.
Expanded Case Management Services Update
SWP put out an RFP for expanded case management services. The subcommittee that reviewed the applications found that Bon Secours Community Works had the strongest application. The Workforce Committee voted to accept the subcommittee recommendation. Elizabeth and Rachel will work with them to develop an MOU.