Baltimore already has solid Foundational Programs providing youth with training, support, and employment services (see details below). These are operated by government agencies, institutions of higher education, faith groups, community-based organizations (CBOs), and businesses, including an increasing number run by young entrepreneurs. Through the efforts of this initiative, these will be expanded, better connected, and provided with increased opportunities for supporting their youth trainees and employees. The BCOYC will mobilize our network to create more youth-friendly policies and procedures, facilitate improvements in the functioning and integration of organizations and networks critical to the success of youth, expand resources available for youth training and support, and increase the number of career slots occupied by individuals who formerly were youth.
The BCOYC has made significant progress linking the efforts of high-level leaders from key sectors to benefit youth (The Proposal Summary includes a list of leaders involved in the BCOYC). These include a broad-based coalition including youth and youth-serving agencies, representatives from the local foundation community, city government, secondary education, the not-for-profit sector, advocates, and groups with access to the labor sector. Many members also serve as members of other key decision-making groups such as the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board Youth Council (WIBYC). These efforts will be integrated with expanded efforts by the Workforce Investment Board’s Youth Council, the Mayor’s Cabinet, and other relevant groups to ensure that the BCOYC’s activities are amplified through engagement of federal, state, and local resources. We will utilize and expand the BCOYC’s networks through increased peer outreach between already-engaged high-level leaders and their peers, as well as linkages to existing collaborative impact initiatives, such as Baltimore’s Promise, (a new city-wide cradle-to-career initiative that the BCOYC has partnered with) to enhance and align post-secondary education, employment, entrepreneurial, and support opportunities and to advocate for supportive policies.
To align post-secondary educational and employment opportunities, the BCOYC has identified post-secondary programs that are working to improve retention and graduation rates. We will work with these and other successful programs, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED), and the WIB Youth Council to expand and streamline job placement and training efforts. We will also work with the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) and Train Baltimore networks of training providers focused on those 18 and older, to determine how best to target low-cost and free training opportunities for youth. The BCOYC will support organizations employing youth by convening people to share best practices and by providing youth with access to coaching and services to improve employment retention. We also will support businesses in increasing the number of occasional, part-time, or full- time youth they employ by subsidizing youth wages either directly or through partnerships with Public Allies and Vista.