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The following grants are in excess of $5,000 and were awarded in 2020.
Baltimore City Health Department, Fiscally Sponsored by Baltimore Civic Fund
The Baltimore City Health Department, in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Employment Development (MOED), Baltimore Corps, Jhipiego, and Healthcare Access Maryland, is launching a $12.4 million initiative to control the transmission of COVID-19 through contact tracing and public health education outreach. The initiative will hire 300 unemployed Baltimore residents and train them as contact tracers and community health workers, who will work for up to eight months, earning $38,000 a year plus benefits. Those trained will build Baltimore's public health infrastructure, helping to coordinate care for residents needing assistance. With support from MOED, those trained will be placed into unsubsized employment.
BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, Inc.
Since 1998, with support from the Abell Foundation, BTI has trained over 450 Baltimore City residents as entry-level technicians in the growing bio-pharma industry. Students first complete BioSTART, BTI’s six-week bridge program, which was started so that BTI could admit students with lower math scores. Students move on to the Laboratory Associates program, where students continue training for 10 weeks and complete a 100-hour internship. Of the 40 students to be trained in 2021, BTI estimates that 29 (or 73%) will graduate and of those who graduate, 22 (or 76%) will be placed into research laboratory and manufacturing technician positions, at an average wage of $17/hour.
Turnaround Tuesdays is a BUILD jobs initiative in which residents meet at Zion Baptist Church on Tuesday mornings from 9 am to 11 am to receive help in finding employment. Over 125 people participate in Turnaround Tuesdays each week, completing a 10-week leadership training curriculum that focuses the skills needed to sustain employment. The jobs movement is working: last year, 181 people were placed into jobs, earning an average wage of $15 per hour. According to BUILD, 74% of those placed have remained employed at least a year. Retention is higher (84%) at anchor institutions such as Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical System. BUILD is establishing an employment pipeline to “good paying jobs” at these and other long-standing large, anchor institution employers, encouraging them to hire people with criminal records.
Byte Back is a Washington, DC nonprofit organization that trains low-income adults with no computer experience in learning the basic fundamental skills of how to turn on a computer, use a mouse and use Microsoft Office applications. Byte Back then works step by step with students to build upon those skills, preparing students to earn industry-recognized IT credentials. Last year, with support from the Abell Foundation, Byte Back expanded its programming to Baltimore. In 2021, with continued support from Abell, Byte Back plans to enroll 100 Baltimoreans into its classes, with 76 completing. Byte Back will help 36 graduates who earn IT certifications to obtain careers in IT, tracking their job retention for a year.
CASH Campaign of Maryland
The Baltimore CASH Campaign—Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope—was launched in 2001 to increase access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a powerful work incentive and poverty-alleviation tool, lifting more families out of poverty than any other federal aid program. Now a program of the CASH Campaign of Maryland, Baltimore CASH plans to serve 7,500 Baltimore residents by operating 15 to 20 free tax preparation sites, continuing its efforts to build high volume sites that can provide quality tax preparation, and asset development services.
Center for Urban Families, Inc.
The Center for Urban Families (CFUF) works to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic succes. STRIVE Baltimore, the cornerstone of CFUF's programming, is a strict, demanding, three-week workshop that focuses on workplace behavior, appearance, and attitude. Upon completion of training, STRIVE graduates are placed in jobs, and are followed by STRIVE staff for two years. Last year,146 participants graduated from STRIVE Baltimore, with 132 graduates (or 90%) being placed into jobs; 70 former graduates were also placed into jobs, bringing the total number of job placements to 202. STRIVE graduates placed in employment earned an average of $13.01 per hour, and 90% remained employed for at least six months.
Civic Works, Inc.
The Center for Sustainable Careers (CSC) has built a multi-tiered green career “pathway out of poverty” by training and placing Baltimore City residents in the infastructure remediation and residential energy-efficiency industries. Across its programs, CSC has maintained an average job placement rate of 93%. Since 2014, 81% of graduates have remained employed for at least one year. Over the next year, with funding from the Abell Foundation, CSC will train 80 Baltimore City residents for entry-level positions as well as 24 incumbent workers. .
Job Opportunities Task Force
In January 2006, in partnership with the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) launched Project JumpStart, a pre-apprenticeship construction program designed to provide low-income Baltimore City residents with 13 weeks of pre-apprenticeship training. Since its inception, Project Jumpstart has served over 1,300 Baltimore residents, almost all of whom are African-American men (96%) with a criminal record (75%). With funding from the Abell Foundation, Project Jumpstart plans to serve 145 new students and maintain its 75% job placement rate.
Maryland New Directions
Maryland New Directions, Inc., (MND) is a private, nonprofit, career counseling and job placement agency that provides occupational skills training, including the Commercial Transportation Careers training program. MND also provides other employment services, including computer literacy training, walk-in job search and application support and individual job coaching. Funding from Abell will support MND in assisting more than 425 job seekers in Baltimore.
Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, Fiscally Sponsored by Baltimore Civic Fund
The Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) operates one of the largest summer employment program among larger cities, last year employing 8,600 young people between the ages of 14 and 21 for five weeks. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MOED plans to operate a smaller initiative, employing 4,000 youth in jobs with over 100 non-profit and government partners. Many youth will work remotely for an average of 20 hours a week for five weeks, earning $11 per hour.
In 2016, with support from the Abell Foundation and others, NPower replicated its IT training program for low-income young adults in Baltimore. NPower's core training program provides students with 16 weeks of hands-on classroom instruction in hardware and software. The academic portion focuses on teaching fundamental IT skills, including networking, cloud computing, coding and service management. Following the classroom instruction, students earn their CompTIA certification and have the option to take additional certificate exams. NPower participants then enter a seven-week paid internship, working four days per week, while one day is spent in professional development activities in the classroom. In the coming year, NPower plans to enroll 150 low-income young adults into training, graduating 135 and placing 122 into employment.
PIVOT was founded in October 2017 in response to the dramatic gap in services geared towards women in reentry in Baltimore City and the lack of coordinated services specifically targeting workforce development for women. The PIVOT model was designed to establish cooperative relationships between service providers in workforce development, public health, substance abuse treatment and mental health, human services and other supportive services such as legal aid, transportation, clothing, housing, childcare, family reunification, financial education and more. Funding from the Abell Foundation will support 45 women being served by Pivot during the grant period.
Rose Street Community Center
Since February 2000, with support from the Abell Foundation, the Rose Street Community Center (Rose Street) has offered small weekly stipends (no more than $10 a day) to community residents in exchange for participation in daily community cleanups or gang mediation meetings. Last year, Rose Street served more than 120 people per week. Nearly 20% of those served each week (an average of 22 people) reside in Rose Street’s six transitional houses. Those residing in the houses participate daily in community cleanups. Once they have secured employment, Rose Street staff assists them in obtaining permanent housing. Over half of those served each week (approximately 70 people) are high-risk youth ages 15 to 24. Rose Street holds morning meetings with the youth where the youth identify and de-escalate disputes. Rose Street also connects the youth to programs and services available in the community.
Rose Street Community Center
The Rose Street Community Center, with support from the Abell Foundation, serves over 120 people per week, providing transitional housing for over 20 people a week. Funding of up to $50,000 will provide rental assistance to Baltimore City crime victims over a period of two years.
South Baltimore Learning Center
South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC) has provided adult education services for nearly three decades, serving over 700 adult students each year. Three years ago, with funding from the Abell Foundation, SBLC established an office and classroom at the Regional Skills Training Center in Park Heights. Working with sector skills training programs, SBLC provided 60 students with remedial instruction in math and reading. On average, students gained 2.5 levels in reading and 4.0 levels in math. These gains were achieved over an average of 30 hours of instruction. With continued funding from Abell, SBLC will enroll 81 students into remediation programming, with the goal of 55 (or 68%) achieving the reading and math levels required to enroll in the sector skills training programs.
The Work First Foundation
With funding from the Abell Foundation, in 2009, America Works (through its nonprofit Work First Foundation) launched the Baltimore Ex-Offender Reentry Employment Program. The program provides a two-week-long job-readiness workshop for cohorts of six to seven ex-offenders. The program targets ex-offenders under 40 years of age, and those who have been recently released from prison or jail. To date,1,318 ex-offenders have graduated from the two-week training course, with 804 being placed into jobs (a 61% job placement rate). Participants earned an average of $9.39 at placement, with 65 percent remaining employed for six months or more. Since June 2017, the Baltimore City court system has been referring low-income individuals to the program as they await trial, rather than jailing them because they cannot afford to pay bail. To date, 305 pretrial defendants have enrolled into the program. Of those, 227 have gone to trial, with 78 percent experiencing a positive outcome.
Vehicles for Change, Inc.
Since 1999, the Abell Foundation has supported Vehicles for Change (VFC) in making low-cost cars available to low-income job seekers in Baltimore City. In 2015, with funding from Abell, VFC launched an automotive technician repair program. VFC hires men and women who have been recently released from prison or who have been granted work release (usually in small cohorts of seven to eight people). All program applicants have successfully completed the 600-hour Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Auto Maintenance and Light Repair training program while incarcerated. At VFC, they receive three to five months of paid work experience, earning $9 an hour. The on-the-job experience is designed to build the trainees’ resumes and overcome any reservations that employers have about hiring returning citizens. All trainees must pass at least four ASE certification tests. The program is working: of the 150 trainees who enrolled since the beginning of the program, 13 are still in training, 131 wer placed into full-time employment and only six have not completed because they were on work release and had to return to prison. All of the 131 graduates have been placed into employment, with an average starting hourly wage of $16 per hour. Funding from Abell will support the training and job placement of 56 to 60 Baltimore residents.
Vehicles for Change, Inc.
Since 1999, the Abell Foundation has supported Vehicles for Change in making low-cost cars available to low-income job seekers in Baltimore City. With funding from Abell, VfC plans to award 40 repaired and Maryland-inspected cars to Baltimore City residents referred by the following sponsoring agencies: Center for Urban Families, Humanim, Living Classrooms, JOTF’s Project Jumpstart, and the Biotechnical Institute of Maryland.