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Building Baltimore's Workforce: Views from the Front Lines

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AP Photo by Keith Srakocic
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Last month, the Labor Department reported a national unemployment rate of 3.5%, the lowest it’s been in 50 years.  The unemployment rate is only one metric by which the job market can be evaluated, and many point to its inherent flaws, but the reality for many employers is that filling jobs with skilled workers is harder than it used to be.  One estimate has it that there are nearly 70 million available jobs nationally.

There are more than 30 workforce development organizations in the Baltimore metro area.  Today on Midday, a look at some of those programs, and a conversation with three experts in the employment field about what can be done to scale-up the effective ones, so that more people can be trained for jobs that are in demand, and that pay well.

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Credit Photos courtesy Abell Foundation; JARCBaltimore and Habitat for Humanity/Chesapeake
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Linda Dworak, BWFC; Tiffani Truss, JARC; Mike Posko, Habitat for Humanity/Chesaspeake: Growing jobs in Baltimore.

Linda Dworak is the Director of the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative  (a member of the Maryland Philanthropy Network) and the author of a report being published this week by the Abell Foundation that suggests ways some of these programs can be expanded to serve more than the 2,700 people currently involved in job training programs…

We’re also joined by two people whose organizations offer workforce training.

Mike Posko is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.   He directs Habitat's HabiCorps program, which trains previously incarcerated individuals in carpentry and construction management;

And Tiffani Truss is the Director of Training Services at the Jane-Addams Resource Corporation (JARC), which offers job training in manufacturing.

This conversation was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook Page. Watch the video here; the segment runs from 0:00 to 39:55 on the video stream.

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Speaking of workforce development:  there will be a special event later this week (on Thursday October 24 -- at 4:00pm) at the Peabody Heights Brewery, an initiative called GOOD BUSINESS WORKS will be launched.  It’s a collaboration by Baltimore business leaders, workforce experts, and nonprofits who are recognizing businesses that are creating jobs and maintaining equitable and inclusive workplaces.  For more information on the event, click here.

Another program note about an event in which Tom Hall will be participating tomorrow night (October 23) at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.  It’s another in the Great Talk series.  The topic tomorrow night is “Baltimore: Not Just an American City: What Baltimore Means, Beyond the Headlines.”

The panel will include Andre Davis, the Baltimore City Solicitor, Trif Alatzas, the Publisher and Editor in Chief of the Baltimore Sun, and Thibault Manekin, the co-founder of Seawall Development.  Tom Hall will be the moderator.  The conversation will begin at 7:00pm.   Tickets for individual talks in the series are $15, and can be purchased online or at the door.  For details on the event, click here.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.