Baltimore County Health Care Workforce Program Advances in National Initiative to Boost High-Quality Jobs

Health care worker takes a patient's blood pressureBaltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced February 8 that Baltimore County has been selected to participate in the competitive second phase of Results for America’s Good Jobs & Equity Project, backed by the Families and Workers Fund, which will help 12 U.S. jurisdictions implement innovative job quality strategies that promote economic mobility and strengthen local economies.

“We’re thrilled that Baltimore County’s innovative workforce partnership has been selected for the second phase of this nationally competitive program and we look forward to working with Results for America to equitably deliver 21st century jobs to residents across our county,” said County Executive Olszewski. “We believe the Public Health Pathways program is a model for modern, and compassionate workforce development that will pull financially vulnerable residents out of poverty and provide a pathway to rewarding careers in health care with one of the country’s most esteemed medical systems.”

Nationwide, more than 53 million Americans are working in low-wage jobs, and roughly six in 10 workers report being in “mediocre” or “bad” jobs. The Good Jobs & Equity Project represents a growing movement to rethink what makes a good job and take evidence-based action to promote equitable, high-quality employment for all.

“For decades, governments have focused mostly on the quantity of jobs created, not the quality of those jobs. But that is changing—these 12 communities are taking steps to lift wages, improve benefits, provide stable schedules, and ensure voice, dignity and purpose,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “We look forward to helping leaders use evidence-based strategies to create high-quality jobs for their residents and build more vibrant and sustainable communities for all.”

Through the Good Jobs & Equity Project, jurisdictions will receive the tools, resources and skills needed to build and use evidence and data to create high-quality jobs. The project will also identify the most effective evidence-based strategies for improving job quality in more communities across the country.

Baltimore County’s Good Jobs & Equity Project: the recently-announced Public Health Pathways Program, is an innovative workforce development partnership between the County, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center (UM SJMC) and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) that aims to connect residents in historically underserved communities with high-demand nursing positions through customized educational programming and community wraparound supports.

The joint initiative will leverage federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding to meet dual imperatives of providing workforce training to economically disadvantaged residents while helping to address a national nursing shortage.

Launching later this year, the Public Health Pathways Program pilot will initially provide 30 scholarships that will fully cover the cost of tuition and all educational fees for the CCBC Certified Nursing Assistant program. To remove barriers to learning, students in the program will also receive a $1,000 per month workforce stipend, which can be used to supplement wages, address transportation or housing needs, and pay for childcare, or other workforce-related barriers.

Upon successful completion of CCBC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, graduates will be offered guaranteed employment with full benefits at UM SJMC, where they will continue their education in a Practical Nursing program, creating a career ladder to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs). In total, participants will receive a 24-month education program including four months of CNA training, four months of pre-requisites, and 16 months of LPN education.

“We’re thrilled to support state and local leaders through RFA’s Good Jobs & Equity Project as they leverage historic federal investments to provide good jobs that sustain and uplift all residents,” said Rachel Korberg, Executive Director of the Families and Workers Fund. “These innovative projects will be models for communities across the country looking to break down the racial, gender, and other inequities that have left too many Americans behind.”

The Good Jobs & Equity Project will run through December 2024 and include a comprehensive evaluation of resident impact, with the goal that Baltimore County’s learnings can provide a roadmap for other communities as they advance job quality.

Results for America: Results for America is a leading national nonprofit organization helping policymakers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Results for America’s mission is to make investing in what works the “new normal”  so that government decision-makers regularly and effectively use evidence and data to increase the impact of the over $2 trillion that governments spend each year to open opportunities and advance economic mobility.

Families & Workers Fund: The Families and Workers Fund is a platform for collective action and a pooled $65+ million collaborative fund supported by 25 diverse funders working together to build a more equitable economy that uplifts all. We were founded on the belief that the United States is experiencing a once-in-a-generation opening to advance economic security, opportunity, and mobility. The Fund is able to respond quickly and effectively to emerging ideas by leveraging catalytic partnerships and collaboration across philanthropy, government, and the private sector.