Employment has been a hot topic for the entire nation, but especially in Baltimore. In December, 2015 the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% in July to 7%. This is great, but the unemployment rate in Baltimore City is still higher than the national average of 4.9%. What are the barriers causing this? What can we do to help get Baltimore employed?
Ironically, one of the top barriers for people to get a job is poverty. In Baltimore 24% of the population are living below the poverty line of $20,090 for a family of three. 1 in 4 people in Baltimore are living in poverty! Whereas 1 in 6 across the US. Education is another barrier. The National average for high school graduation is 80%, but only 56.4% in Baltimore. People who have a criminal record have a 12% penalty towards getting hired. As much as we fight for equality, statistics show a discrepancy in race when it comes to unemployment. In 2013 37% of people in Baltimore who were unemployed were young African American men, compared to only 10% were caucasian young men.
Serve the City Baltimore partners with Second Chance Inc., a nonprofit that focuses on employing those who are unemployed, have barriers in getting employed, or are underemployed. Second Chance trains men and women to be successful in jobs where they can earn a living and sustainable careers. Within their workforce development training last year 90% are male, 78% are African American, 65% have a criminal record, 35% have a high school level education, 14% have less than a high school education and 15% have earned their GED. Serve the City Baltimore volunteers get to serve within the warehouse where the resources that are saved by the deconstruction teams are sold. We have the privilege to work alongside men and women who are in the workforce development training and hear their stories. It is a great organization helping to retrain, reclaim and renew people, resources and the environment.
Goodwill is a pretty well known organization, especially when you are looking to get rid of some of your old clothes! Did you know that your donations to Goodwill helps get people employed? Goodwill helps people get jobs through trainings, job search assistance and advocating for jobs. According to their website donations this year have helped get 42,280 people jobs!
Serve the City Baltimore has helped served meals with Our Daily Bread. The Our Daily Bread Employment Center serves meals to the hungry, train people for job readiness, and offer job placement assistance. Through the Christopher Place Employment Academy assistance is given to homeless men to transition to employment, stable housing and self-sufficiency.
The Mayor’s Office has an Employment Connections Center that provides workshops and trainings to help people to have the education and skills to get a job. They also provide job seeking assistance and other resources to help get unemployed Baltimore residents hired.
The resources are out there, and if we all work together we can help renew the city of Baltimore and help with the need of employment.