Education and Workforce Committee

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Chair: Demaune Millard, President & CEO, Family League of Baltimore

Staff: Teresa Milio Birge, 410-727-2820

Description: The Education and Workforce Committee seeks to identify, support and promote programs, policies and new training and educational initiatives, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and vocational programs, designed to ensure an educated, well-trained and highly-skilled workforce that meets the needs of the Baltimore region’s diverse industries.

Membership: Membership in the Education and Workforce Committee is open to all GBC members.


2019 Education and Workforce Committee news:

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee convened on September 19, 2019. Committee Chair Deamune Millard, President and CEO, Family League of Baltimore, welcomed committee members and had them briefly introduce themselves. Tenne’ Thrower, Family and Community Engagement Specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools, shared information about the new Office of Communications and Community Engagement, and its efforts to move partnerships from transactional to transformational. Dr. Rachel Pfeifer, Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for Baltimore City Public Schools, shared information about career technology education and how businesses can engage in meaningful partnerships with city schools for the benefit of both students and businesses. Following the presentations, the committee discussed how to best move forward with the creation of a guide to assist schools and businesses in creating effective, sustainable partnerships.

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee heard from Roger Schulman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Educational Excellence, at its April 11, 2019 meeting. Schulman discussed the recently released report “Broken Pathways – The Cracks in Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Baltimore City Schools.”

The Fund for Educational Excellence interviewed 114 recent students who had been enrolled in CTE programs, as well as 25 current teachers. The report, which examined the impressions of former students and current teachers regarding the CTE program, made several recommendations for how CTE in City Schools could be improved. Recommendations include providing year-round, paid internships to all CTE students, giving younger students more information on the CTE programs available to them in high school and allowing more time in student schedules for CTE classes. The Fund for Educational Excellence also recommended that City Schools engage in a complete overhaul of its CTE programs.

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee heard from Charisse Williams, Managing Director of New Site Development for iMentor, at its February 21, 2019 meeting. Williams told the committee that iMentor, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping young people meet their fullest potential, has selected Baltimore as its next expansion city and she is currently talking to Baltimore City Public Schools about how to determine where to start the program.

iMentor, which can reach up to 400 students in its first year, targets eleventh graders at a school and mentors will continue to work with those students through at least the first year post-high school. The program and curriculum are very structured, so mentors need only to have a minimum of an associate degree and a strong desire to positively impact the life of a young person. Williams also explained how someone interested in the program can get involved.

Teresa Milio Birge, GBC Senior Policy Analyst/Special Assistant, then briefed the committee on education related legislation under consideration by the Maryland General Assembly.

2018 Education and Workforce Committee news:

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee met on November 8, 2018 for a discussion regarding family supporting jobs. Leading the discussion was Mike Kelly, Executive Director of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), who focused his remarks on the recently-released 2018 Family-Supporting Jobs Report.

Kelly said family supporting jobs are defined as those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. The report identified 39 occupations in middle-skills jobs areas that can provide a family-supporting wage, which is determined to be a minimum of $22.28 per hour based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator. It is important for the Greater Baltimore region’s employers, educators and workforce professionals to focus on middle skill employment for residents for whom a four-year degree is not the best fit.

The September 27, 2018 meeting of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Education and Workforce Committee featured a presentation from Dr. Lynne Gilli, Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education.

Dr. Gilli focused her discussion on the State of Maryland’s system of Career Technology Education (CTE) initiatives, which aim to promote college and career readiness. She provided a briefing on the Apprenticeship Maryland program, a CTE program of study for students ages 16 and older designed to prepare them for sustainable employment and further education based on career pathways in manufacturing and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields as well as traditional occupations.

Dr. Gilli also briefed the Committee on the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools) program. P-TECH schools are innovative early college programs that create clear pathways from high school to college and careers for students. In six years or less, students graduate from a P-TECH school with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee met on June 7, 2018 and engaged in two distinct discussions. First, the Committee heard a presentation from Richard Jones, President of Mahan Rykiel. The Baltimore-based landscape architecture firm recently initiated Project Birdland, which created outside learning landscapes for students at Francis Scott Key Elementary School. The project focused on four key factors: teacher and professional development; student experimental learning; youth workforce development; and habitat restoration.

Following that presentation, the Committee engaged in a discussion with Corrie Schoenberg, Senior Program Director for the Fund for Educational Excellence, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that works to secure the resources necessary to support innovation and increase student achievement in Baltimore City schools. Schoenberg discussed the nonprofit’s efforts to complete an analysis of career and technical education in Baltimore City schools.

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee’s April 12, 2018 meeting featured a presentation from Phil Rogofsky, Director of the Maryland STEM Festival Blue Collar STEM Conference. Rogofsky recapped the 2017 festival and updated the Committee on planning efforts for the 2018 event, which is slated to be held on October 29, 2018 at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. The 2018 festival will again include multiple tracks related to enhancing blue collar STEM and will add a job fair. He cited the GBC/Associated Black Charities report, STEM:  Middle-Skill Career Pathways in the Baltimore Region, as in influence for the festival.

The Committee also heard a presentation about the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, better known as the Kirwan Commission after its chair, Dr. William E. “Brit” Kirwan. The Commission is charged with addressing two critical issues: review and update the current funding formulas for the schools in Maryland and develop policies and practices so that Maryland’s schools perform at the level of the world’s best systems. These issues are of critical importance to Maryland, including the creation of a well-educated populace that is able to meet current and future workforce requirements. It is imperative that the efforts of the Kirwan Commission have support from the business community.

Finally, the Committee received a presentation about the 2018 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly, which concluded Sine Die on April 9, 2018. Regarding education and workforce initiatives, the legislature passed bills to institute a computer science curriculum in schools, ensure reliable funding for Baltimore City schools, improve career education and enhance opportunities for apprenticeships.

The GBC Education and Workforce Committee convened on February 8, 2018 to hear two presentations. First, Michael Thomas, Vice President for Workforce Development and Continuing Education for Baltimore City Community College (BCCC), discussed the institution’s efforts to provide for the training and workforce development needs of the region. BCCC plays an important role in meeting Baltimore City’s current and future workforce needs.

The Committee also received a presentation from two members of Governor Larry Hogan’s Legislative Office, Keiffer Mitchell, Special Advisor, and Ali Keane, Deputy Legislative Officer. Mitchell discussed Governor Hogan’s education and workforce priorities and accomplishments, including a Fiscal Year 2019 budget pending in the Maryland General Assembly that provides $6.5 billion for K-12 education. Keane briefed the Committee on the Governor’s legislative agenda for education and workforce. She focused on SB300 and HB350, which are identical bills entitled “Achieving Computer Science Collaborations for Employing Students Statewide (ACCESS) Act of 2018”, which seek to implement a computer science curriculum in Maryland public schools.