The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative is a group of private and public funders focused on advancing the labor market prospects of unemployed and underemployed residents while meeting employer needs for a skilled workforce in the Baltimore region. The BWFC is committed to advancing equity, job quality and systems change efforts that lead to family sustaining wages, strengthened communities and a vibrant local economy. The BWFC was established to support the alignment and pooling of resources around common workforce development goals and strategies.
The BWFC is hosted by the Maryland Philanthropy Network and is a signed partner of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Our Collaborative aims to:
- Build pathways to well-paying jobs with career advancement possibilities in targeted industries in the Baltimore region;
- Work closely with employers to align programs with real industry needs for skilled workers;
- Remove barriers to work by improving education, skills training, and support services;
- Analyze performance data and direct resources to practices and programs that demonstrate effectiveness;
- Strengthen policies and promote systemic changes that enhance the ability of low-wage workers to advance in the local labor market.
Strategy 1: Facilitate Collaboration, Coordination and Learning among Workforce Funders in Baltimore.
The BWFC members are public and private investors who fund workforce development in Baltimore, are willing to co-invest, share a commitment to tracking outcomes and aligning efforts to strengthen the workforce system. Integral to our work are a focus on job quality, the embracing of race and gender equity and inclusion, and the development of a high-trust workgroup.
Strategy 2: Advance Industry Sector Workforce Models
The BWFC supports workforce models that:
- Engage deeply with employers and stakeholders in key industry sectors to identify and effectively address labor force needs.
- Focus on serving low-income and disadvantaged job-seekers and entry-level workers.
- Offer high-quality programming that includes relevant skill development and industry-recognized certifications are that are in line with industry need and requirements.
- Integrate robust efforts to address personal and structural barriers to employment faced by jobseekers.
- Conduct rigorous job placement and post-program follow-up services.
- Include systems change efforts that work to address policies and practices that impede access to family-supporting jobs.
- Hold a commitment to analysis of performance data.
Strategy 3: Conduct Coordinated Measurement and Evaluation
The BWFC is working to build the capacity and shared systems needed for effective analysis of what works and for continuous improvement of workforce development efforts in Baltimore.
Strategy 4: Support Best Practices and Catalyze Innovation
The BWFC conducts research, hosts learning events, convenes stakeholders and produces reports to help support best practices and catalyze innovation.
Strategy 5: Increase Investments in Workforce Strategies
Our Collaborative tracks data about workforce development grantmaking, advocates for designated revenue streams and sustained public funding and attracts national funding to augment local investments.
Strategy 6: Facilitate Strategic Alignment and Collaboration with Local and Regional Initiatives
The BWFC contributes to a wide range of local and regional initiatives focused on intersecting topics that impact communities and workers. The BWFC also engages with a national network of peers through its affiliation with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Supporting Industry Sector Partnerships
Collectively, BWFC members provide financial and technical support to sectoral workforce programs across a variety of industries. Target industries are selected based on their strength in the local economy, the availability of quality employment opportunities that match the skills and aspirations of unemployed and underemployed Baltimore residents and the potential for advancement along career pathways that lead to family-supporting jobs. Employers within these sectors are committed to partnering on the design, oversight and implementation of these efforts. Industries served through BWFC-affiliated sector programs include: Automotive, Construction, Culinary Arts/Food Service, Energy Efficiency, Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing, and Maritime TDL (Transportation, Distribution and Logistics).
Advancing Careers in Retail (ACR) – Baltimore
ACR-Baltimore is an initiative aimed at improving job quality and advancement opportunities for front-line workers in the retail sector and the adjacent food/beverage service sector. Funding for the work is provided through grants from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and Walmart Giving. The project is under the management of the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative. Core implementation partners are Civic Works, Humanim and Choice.
Good Business Works
Good Business Works (GBW) aims to advance good jobs practices among employers in consumer-facing industries including home improvement, retail and food/beverage. Through customer acquisition services and marketing support, including a Socially Responsible Business Directory, BWFC grantee, Civic Works, incentives employers to upgrade job quality. GBW is guided by an Advisory Board comprised of non-profit organizations and city representatives, all committed to advancing high quality employment opportunities for front-line workers in Baltimore. This work is supported through grants from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Hitachi Foundation, Open Society Institute-Baltimore and Walmart Giving.
Wage Record Study
BWFC works with the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore to conduct analysis of pre- and post- training earnings for participants of Baltimore’s workforce development programs. Data from the State’s Unemployment Insurance records supplement demographic and training outcomes collected from workforce development grantees, helping understand the impact of workforce interventions.
Efforts to expand upon the capacity of key stakeholders in Baltimore’s Workforce Development system have included educational workshops for non-profit workforce staff, sponsorship of attendance at national conferences, ad hoc technical assistance and support of peer learning opportunities. The Weinberg Sector Skills Academy was a year-long learning and leadership experience for senior professionals who provide workforce development services and technical training in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The Academy consisted of nine retreats, meetings, and webinars; and concluded in May 2016 with three capstone presentations. Click here to see a final report about the Academy.
- Advancing Careers in Retail Baltimore: Labor Market Analysis
- Strengthening Baltimore's Workforce: Reflections and Lessons Learned
- A Call To Action: Creating New Opportunities for Baltimore City's Disconnected Youth
- Connecting Baltimore's Opportunity Youth To Careers
- Expanding Sector Employment Opportunities for Young Adults in Baltimore
- Scaling Workforce Development Programming in Baltimore
The Annie E. Casey Foundation*
Associated Black Charities
Bank of America
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development*
Caplis Family Fund
Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation*
International Youth Foundation
Port Covington Impact
South Baltimore Gateway Partnership
Thalheimer Eurich Charitable Fund
United Way of Central Maryland