Education and Workforce Committee

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Chair: David Warnock, Managing Partner, Camden Partners

Staff: Brian Levine, 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.


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.

2017 Education and Workforce Committee news:

The Education and Workforce Committee’s final meeting of 2017, held on November 17, 2017, featured two discussions. First, Demaune Millard, Interim President and CEO of the Family League of Baltimore, delivered a presentation about his organization’s efforts with community schools, which serve more than 23,000 Baltimore City students. Millard also shared information about the upcoming Community Schools National Forum’s three-day conference, which will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center starting May 2, 2018.

Brian Levine, the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Vice President and Special Assistant to the President and CEO, followed Millard’s presentation with a discussion about career and technical education, a growing focus of the Education and Workforce Committee. Levine’s presentation focused on one school, the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center, in Leonardtown, Maryland. The Forrest Career and Technology Center prepares its students to be career and college ready as they learn skills in one of 24 specific career areas. The Committee is examining ways to expand non-college options for Greater Baltimore region students. This topic is also an area of interest to the Commission on Innovation and Excellence and Education, also known as the Kirwan Commission, which is working on recommendations regarding the adequacy of school funding and ways to improve education in Maryland.

The Education and Workforce Committee’s October 5, 2017 meeting featured a presentation from Michael Kelly, Executive Director of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC).  BMC is in the process of an extensive study of middle-skill employment in the Baltimore region.

Middle-skill employment opportunities are an important issue to the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC).  With the support of the Abell Foundation and BMC, the GBC and Associated Black Charities produced in 2016 the workforce report STEM:  Middle-Skill Career Pathways in the Baltimore Region.  The study examined opportunities and recommended strategies to increase the talent pipeline of workers in middle-skill STEM careers.

In BMC’s effort, they define a middle-skill job as one that requires less than a Bachelor’s degree but more than a high school diploma and has wages at or near $22 per hour. Greater Baltimore’s middle-skill talent development pipeline, according to BMC’s initial findings, includes healthcare, construction, information technology/cybersecurity, transportation/logistics and business services.

The committee followed BMC’s presentation with a group discussion about training, certifications and other non-college options for the regional workforce.

At its May 4, 2017 meeting, the Education and Workforce Committee met and heard from Brian Levine, the GBC’s Vice President and Special Assistant to the President and CEO. Levine provided an overview of the 2017 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly and the impact it had on the overall state and the education and workforce community. Following  the presentation the committee discussed ways to support the expansion of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) schools in Baltimore City.

The Education and Workforce Committee discussed how to connect the business community with the various social enterprises throughout the region at its April 6, 2017 meeting. Following the discussion, the committee decided to create subcommittees which will focus on preparing youths for the transition to college or the workplace. At the conclusion of the meeting, Committee Chairman David Warnock asked each member to sign up for a committee before its next meeting.

At its March 17, 2017 meeting, the Education and Workforce Committee heard from Sarah Hemminger, Co-Founder and CEO of Thread, and Julia Baez, Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise.

Hemminger and Baez presented to the committee information about the work of their respective organizations. Following the presentations the committee had an open dialogue with Hemminger and Baez to share their ideas and recommendations.

The Education and Workforce Committee held its first meeting of the year on February 24, 2017. The committee had a lively discussion about education issues that are of major concern in the Greater Baltimore region as it works to select an issue the committee plans to work towards improving.