One year ago today, the Maryland Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation announced that the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) had received a $5M demonstration grant, part of a $22M nationwide USDOL grant to seven urban areas with high youth unemployment, “to develop innovative job training strategies and work opportunities for at-risk youth and young adults.” Industries targeted in the Federal grant included Construction, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Technology, and Transportation/Logistics.
Ernestine Chambers, 2016 NAWDP-Award winner and KRA Operations Manager for a TANF Work Participation, Placement, and Support Services Program—funded by the Baltimore City Department of Social Services—reports, “MOED used its grant award to fund the One Baltimore for Jobs Initiative, targeting unemployed youth and young adults, 16-29, in our communities most damaged by last April’s civil unrest.”
The Associated Catholic Charities (ACC), a longtime KRA/Baltimore community- and social-services partner, received a grant to create and direct a 1-year, multi-partner collaboration to provide 50 youth/young adults, divided into three cohorts, the occupational-skills training and certification required to qualify for positions with local automotive-service businesses.
In addition to physical facilities, KRA/Baltimore provides recruitment, screening, and referral services; the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA) is the automotive-services training provider; and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, in collaboration with Dayco Products, oversees the examination and certification process.
“Two female and two male KRA/Baltimore customers have each acquired three certifications—Automotive Technician I, HVAC, and Drive Belt—and have already obtained sustainable employment with Auto Zone, Jiffy Lube, Monro Muffler Brake/Mr Tire Auto Service Centers, and Vehicles for Change.
At the first-cohort graduation, ACC acknowledged KRA/Baltimore for the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by our customers, who represented 36% of the graduates. The second cohort, in which three more customers are enrolled, is underway, and we are now recruiting for the third and final cohort.”
KRA/Baltimore is pleased to be a contributing partner to this ACC project, demonstrating—as stated in the grant announcement—that “These funds [brought] together employers, anchor institutions, and nonprofits to build on best practices and unify efforts to provide needed services, skills training and real job opportunities to at-risk and in-need individuals.”