Workforce Policy Presentation and Discussion
Kurt lead a discussion on the workforce development policy context in Baltimore and two readings:
Scaling Workforce Development Programming in Baltimore (Abell Foundation)
Pgs 59-63 The Criminalization of Poverty (Job Opportunities Task Force)
Workforce Development Context in Baltimore: how do we grow workforce development work in Baltimore? Why is scaling so important? There are a lot of people who want good paying jobs, but don’t necessarily have the skills and credentials to get them, and the workforce programs are a great way to bridge that gap. Employers need quality, dedicated workers–want to scale into a larger/more quality job.
The Committee discussed barriers–criminal records, outreach, transportation, technology, personal records. There are also many low quality programs that people have had poor experiences with and that discourages folks from engaging with the quality programs.
Youth can be especially important to work with but face many specific challenges–high schools don’t prepare them to be critical thinkers, they lack access to employment skills, needed to be engaged differently than adults. Committee discussed the importance of giving them leadership opportunities
Older adults are also a focus demographic, as a formerly incarcerated folks, and people with childcare responsibilities
Geographically, there are a lot more jobs in the county rather than the City which can be challenging to get to via public transportation–can also encourage folks to bike and scoot to work where appropriate
Warehoursing, transportation jobs are areas of growth. Non-profit workforce development programs tend to focus on food service and hospitality, construction, healthcare, biotech, IT, administrative, landscaping. Healthcare is very lucrative but it can be very challenging to move into higher level positions like nursing
Quality workforce development programs need to have a lot of intentionality and think about how to think regionally
Committee discussed the importance of green careers and jobs that deal with the impact of climate change
Wrap around services and support are essential to quality workforce programs as well as soft skills, hard skills, employers, job search assistance and interview support, employer developed curriculum, and has ongoing supports, data driven, advocate for clients
Barriers for scaling workforce development are in three categories–personal, organizational, systemic. The Committee discussed various examples and thought of solutions
The Committee discussed possible areas for the committee to advocate for changes or make interventions–the need for access to technology for job seekers, work place mentors, improved expungement processes, transportation allowances for folks in workforce development programs, adjusting the state tax code, and other policy changes