Maryland New Directions, Inc., (MND) is a private, nonprofit, career counseling and job placement agency dedicated to helping individuals become contributing members of their community. Founded in 1973 as Baltimore New Directions for Women, the 41-year-old organization has helped more than 130,000 clients make positive, employment-related life changes.
MND focuses on career counseling before job search and job placement activities. Last year, with $120,000 in funding from the Abell Foundation, MND provided employment services to 303 low-income job seekers from Baltimore City. Most (78 percent) were African
American and 46 percent were men. Many (65 percent) had been out of work for more than four months, 31 percent had criminal backgrounds, 16 percent did not have a high school diploma, 57 percent did not have a driver’s license, and 72 percent did not have access to a car.
A total of 243 enrolled in the training program, with 181 people (or 75 percent) completing it. Of those, 158 (or 87 percent) successfully obtained employment, and 80 percent have remained employed for six months at an average wage of $10.92 an hour. The average cost per placement is relatively low at $1,957.
In December 2013, MND was approached by a maritime industry employer who asked MND to develop a training program that would prepare entry level workers for Port of Baltimore job openings. By July 2014, MND was awarded a Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation EARN grant to screen and train 100 disadvantaged job seekers for this $3.2 billion industry. Using Abell’s $120,000 grant as matching funding, MND has developed a 90-hour training program that provides an introduction to the Port of Baltimore and provides instruction in warehousing and stevedoring, logistics and freight forwarding, customer service, general computer software training and certified forklift training. MND also helps participants to obtain Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) cards, an identification card required to enter the Port distribution areas.
MND has successfully completed two cohorts of training (in October 2014 and March 2015) with a total of 51 graduates. Of those, 41 obtained TWIC cards, 32 received forklift training and certification, and 39 (or 75 percent of graduates) are now employed with an average wage of $14.88/hour.