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State Announces Strategic Workforce Investment in Post-Graduation Baltimore City High Schoolers

Grads2Careers provides career pathways for City Schools graduates

BALTIMORE (Aug. 7, 2018) – Under the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Secretary Kelly M. Schulz of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation announced the award of $750,000 to support the Career Pathways Demonstration Model. Called Grads2Careers, the program is a coordinated effort between Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools), the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED), and Baltimore’s Promise, a cradle-to-career collective impact organization.

“The innovative Grads2Careers program will provide Baltimore City graduates with transformational opportunities for learning and advancement,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “By providing the in-demand occupational skills for our 21st century workforce, graduates will develop the tools they need for successful careers to share in Maryland’s growing economy.”

Grads2Careers establishes a career pathway for Baltimore City school graduates who are not enrolled in two- or four-year colleges or universities. Through occupational skills training in high-demand industries, participants are placed on the path to well-paying, in-demand, high-growth occupations throughout the region. This training is a first step towards post-secondary education and continued training for graduates of City Schools.

“Following high school graduation, 25 percent of Baltimore City high school graduates are neither enrolled in a post-secondary institution nor working,” said Labor Secretary Schulz. “The Department of Labor is proud to deliver on Governor Hogan’s commitment to a strong, capable workforce by funding the Grads2Careers program. In this way, we are helping create immediate job opportunities for these Baltimore City school graduates.”

Grads2Careers is one of the first large-scale, city-wide initiatives focused on systems change launched through the organization Baltimore’s Promise. Conceived in 2012, Baltimore’s Promise was born of the discussion between foundation, public system, business, and non-profit leaders as they contemplated innovative ways in which community, philanthropy, public agencies, and policy makers could support children’s health and education from an early age through entry into college or a career.

“Grads2Careers helps students identify, prepare for, and enter a career pathway,” said Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. “As local data show, linking students to training opportunities and supportive services as quickly as possible after graduation is critical to ensuring their long-term financial stability.”

Funded by the governor’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) set-aside, administered by the Department of Labor, the project trains participating City School graduates in various occupational career tracks: healthcare, construction, automotive, surveying, bioscience, information technology, and logistics.

In this way, Grads2Careers creates immediate opportunities for Baltimore City high school graduates by funding up to 500 training slots with training providers, such as Baltimore City Community College, the Biotechnology Institute, Bon Secours Community Works, Community College of Baltimore County, Job Opportunities Task Force, Maryland New Directions, and Urban Alliance.

“Young adults have historically not been able to take full advantage of occupational skills training after completing high school,” said Director Jason Perkins-Cohen of the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. “This initiative has allowed us to work closely with training providers to find more effective ways to reach and serve older youth interested in joining the workforce.”

The funded partners will also place program graduates into well-paying jobs or apprenticeship opportunities in high-growth occupations, and will offer job retention services to ensure long-term success. The program will build a pathway between Baltimore City Public Schools and the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development that supports continued collaboration and development of other intentional strategies that address the weak employment and earnings outcomes of city school graduates.

Students interested in job training and employment after graduation through Grads2Careers must be a Baltimore City resident and fit at least one of the following descriptions:

  1. Baltimore City Public Schools Class of 2018 graduate (or on track to graduate by August or December 2018);
  2. Baltimore City Public Schools graduate who graduated from City Schools between December 2016 and June 2018; or
  3. Baltimore City resident who has received a GED and is between 18 to 21 years old.

Opportunities through Grads2Careers are for individuals who are not planning to enroll nor are presently enrolled in a two- or four-year college.

Programs running in 2019 and 2020 will be open to 2019 and 2020 City Schools graduates.

“Through strategic investments such as Grads2Careers, the Department of Labor is joining in this systems-change approach to workforce development,” said Secretary Schulz. “These 500 graduates will benefit from occupational skills training, which will lead to employment with a strong starting wage and potential for career growth.”

For more information on Maryland’s workforce system or training opportunities provided for those who qualify, please the DLLR Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning or e-mail the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning.

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow the Maryland Department of Labor on Twitter (@MD_Labor), Facebook and visit our website.

Theresa Blaner
Director, Communications and Media Relations
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About Baltimore City Public Schools

Edie House Foster

Baltimore City Public Schools is one of the nation’s largest urban school districts, serving close to 80,000 students in 171 schools and programs. City Schools’ mission is to provide excellence in education for students at every level, preparing them for success in higher education and the global workforce.

About the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development

Brice Freeman

The Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development is committed to building a strong workforce for our city by developing meaningful partnerships with the local business community and connecting Baltimore citizens of all ages and backgrounds with jobs and pathways to careers.

Each year, MOED serves more than 20,000 residents at our career center locations, places several thousands of individuals in jobs, connects more than 1,000 people with computer literacy training at our digital learning labs, assists more than 1,000 businesses with developing and retaining their quality workforce, and manages the YouthWorks summer jobs program offering more than 8,000 young people employment at more than 900 worksite locations. For more information, visit the Mayor's Office of Employment Development.

About Baltimore’s Promise

Janelle Gendrano

Baltimore's Promise is a city-wide collaborative composed of public, business, higher education, nonprofit, community, and philanthropic leaders. We serve as a catalyst for organizing efforts and resources around a shared vision: all Baltimore City youth will travel a safe, healthy, and successful educational path from cradle to career.