Baltimore City, along with four other cities, was named a “Workforce Hub,” under a new federal initiative aimed at matching more Americans with “good jobs and careers.”
Baltimore City has been deemed a “Workforce Hub” as part of a federal effort to ensure that all Americans can access the jobs created by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda, designed to jumpstart the economy as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Named alongside Baltimore as “Workforce Hubs” were Phoenix, Columbus, Augusta, and Pittsburgh. Each chosen Hub is centered on a key industry.
In each Workforce Hub, the Administration “will partner with state and local elected officials and community leaders to drive effective place-based workforce development efforts that are essential to building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”
Baltimore City was chosen for its geographical location and industry importance:
Baltimore’s position in the Northeast Corridor makes it essential to the Administration’s efforts to upgrade and improve the nation’s rail service through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In January, President Biden visited Baltimore for the kickoff to replace the 150-year-old Frederick Douglass Tunnel—a project estimated to create 30,000 jobs that will be built with a project-labor agreement between Amtrak and the local building trades unions. The Baltimore region also has a burgeoning offshore wind industry, and the Maryland Department of Labor won a Good Jobs Challenge award to support the industry’s growth by implementing a new apprenticeship model in partnership with multiple employers and seven unions. The city is also using $30 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand many workforce efforts, including credential programs to help workers get jobs in in-demand fields.
Just one part of the recovery strategy, under Workforce Hubs the federal government will collaborate with state and local officials, employers, labor unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders to ensure “that a diverse and skilled workforce is available to meet the demand for labor in the five focus regions named this week.” A White House fact sheet reads:
Workforce Hubs The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act are catalyzing public- and private-sector investments across the nation—including significant concentrations in key cities and regions. The Administration will partner with state and local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders to ensure a diverse and skilled workforce can meet the demand for labor driven by these investments, starting with five focus regions beginning this summer: Phoenix, Columbus, Baltimore, Augusta, and Pittsburgh. These efforts will not only strengthen the five cities—they will create models the Administration will work to replicate with partners across the country.
As part of the program, each Workforce Hub, consistent with the needs of the specific city or region, will work to:
- secure private-sector and state and local commitments to expand pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs,
- develop or expand career and technical education programs aligned to Investing in America jobs and careers, and
- provide supportive services that are particularly critical to helping underrepresented students and workers succeed.
Notably, to complement the Workforce Hubs program, the U. S. Department of Labor has identified 16 additional cities to receive in-depth technical assistance and support to start or accelerate workforce initiatives, with Frederick, Maryland, being designated as one of the 16.