BALTIMORE WORK FORCE INVESTMENT BOARD by c2CbV38A

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									                                       BALTIMORE WORK FORCE INVESTMENT BOARD
                                             2004-2005 Public Policy Priorities

In General —
         Increase awareness of the need for a work force development system in Baltimore that:
               -   Provides job seekers with information and services to prepare for careers;
               -   Connects employers with qualified and skilled workers;
               -   Addresses skills deficits and prepares Baltimore’s current and emerging workforce for careers of the future.
State Public Policy Priorities –
         Summer Jobs for Youth
               -   Continue to strongly advocate for establishing and funding a summer jobs
                   program for Maryland youth.
         Comprehensive Youth and Young Adult Resource Center for Homeless Youth
               -   Advocate for establishing and funding a Comprehensive Youth and Young Adult Resource Center for Homeless
                   Youth in Baltimore City.
         Ready By 21
               -   Support legislative initiatives for a Ready by 21 strategy in Maryland to improve the job readiness of Baltimore’s
                   youth.
         Training for Low-Wage Incumbent Workers and Job Seekers and Adult Literacy and Workplace Literacy Training
               -   Support legislation and budgetary initiatives that would assist Baltimore’s job seekers and low-wage workers to
                   access training programs designed to help them overcome education and skills deficits and to access adult and
                   workplace literacy programs.
         Training for Incarcerated Individuals and Ex-offender Employment
               -   Continue to support legislative and budgetary initiatives that promote the employability of previously incarcerated
                   adults, including efforts to provide skills training and literacy services to a greater number than is presently
                   served.
               -   Continue to support legislative and budgetary initiatives to enhance the employability of incarcerated individuals,
                   including adult education and literacy services, thus increasing their likelihood to connect to employment upon re-
                   entry.
Federal Public Policy Priorities –
         Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
               -   Support Workforce Investment Act reauthorization that builds upon the progress already achieved in the evolving
                   private sector-led local workforce investment system, strengthens the authority and flexibility of local elected
                   officials and local workforce investment boards to design and implement local workforce systems, and increases
                   funding for local areas.
         Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
               -   The BWIB will closely monitor developments in TANF reauthorization, specifically in the areas of training, child-
                   care, participation rate and the superwaiver, to determine potential impacts on Baltimore’s public workforce
                   development system.


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2004-2005 PUBLIC POLICY PRIORITIES


Members approved the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board’s Public Policy Priorities for 2004-2005 during the board’s September
19, 2004 annual strategic planning session. Moving forward, during the fall of 2004 the BWIB’s Legislative Committee will facilitate
informational briefings and meetings with key legislators to increase their awareness of the need for a workforce development
system in Baltimore that:

                  Provides job seekers with information and services to prepare for careers;
                  Connects employers with qualified and skilled workers;
                  Addresses skills deficits and prepares Baltimore’s current and emerging workforce for careers of the future.

STATE PUBLIC POLICY PRIORITIES

 Summer Jobs for Youth

   For each of the past four years, State Senator Nathaniel McFadden has proposed legislation that would formally establish and
   fund the Maryland Summer Youth Connection Program in the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. The
   program would provide local jurisdictions with funding to support paid summer work opportunities, employability training, and
   career counseling for thousands of disadvantaged youth.

   Research shows that youth and young adults who work in part-time jobs and during the summer have a greater attachment to the
   labor market after graduation and earn higher wages than those who did not work. Research also shows that youth participation
   in employment programs contributes to a safer environment and a reduction in high-risk behavior. Also, minority, low-income
   youth, especially younger youth, generally have a difficult time finding employment on their own.

   YouthWorks, Mayor Martin O’Malley’s summer jobs program for Baltimore city youth ages 14-21, has been the vehicle for
   introducing youth to the workplace, enhancing academic skills, upgrading employability skills, helping them make career
   decisions, providing them with their first paycheck and beginning the process for assisting them in becoming responsible citizens.
   Last year YouthWorks provided summer work experience opportunities for more than 5,700 young people with Baltimore
   businesses. This summer 7,200 Baltimore City youth registered for summer employment, but funding was available to support
   paid summer work experiences for only 4,700 students, just 66% of the total that registered.

           Position: The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board will continue to strongly advocate for
           establishing and funding a summer jobs program for Maryland youth during the 2005 session of the
           Maryland General Assembly.


 Comprehensive Youth and Young Adult Resource Center for Homeless Youth

   Mayor Martin O’Malley has demonstrated a deep commitment to programs that target vulnerable youth utilizing effective youth
   development practices. Youth development focuses on a young person’s assets, communicates high expectations, provides
   opportunities for leadership, encourages a sense of personal identity, broadens a young person’s perspective, provides safe
   surroundings and connects youth with caring adults. Research and experience among youth practitioners validates that too many
   youth in the city of Baltimore face overwhelming physical, social, and economic challenges in a city that as a whole
   disproportionately suffers from high rates of poverty, low educational attainment, and high rates of HIV and AIDS. The ultimate
   goal of an effective youth development system is for individuals to achieve self-sufficiency in adulthood and engage in positive
   and responsible family and social relationships. These goals are achieved by fostering a sense of competency, a sense of
   connectedness to others and to society, a sense of self-control over one's future and a stable identity.

   The transition from childhood to adulthood is socially and economically difficult and discouraging for many of Baltimore’s youth.
   Conditions in the city exacerbate this difficult transition. According to the 2003 “Portrait of Poverty” issued by the Maryland
   Department of Legislative Services, there is a high poverty rate in Baltimore, particularly for children. In addition, Baltimore has
   not escaped the nationwide affordable housing crisis. Twenty-five thousand households in Baltimore live in substandard housing
   or pay over half of their incomes for rent. Moreover, Baltimore has also been disproportionally impacted by a relentless HIV/AIDS
   epidemic. Baltimore has the third highest incident AIDS case report rate of any major US city. Youth hold the fastest growing HIV


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    infection rates in the country; 20,000 youth are infected annually. And African-Americans are disproportionately represented
    among the HIV positive population. Baltimore city’s population is 68 percent African-American.

     Homeless youth are particularly vulnerable and lack adequate services. Additionally, their workforce training, education, and
     development needs all must be addressed. An entry-level job will not bring youth out of poverty. Youth without educational
     competencies or credentials are have limited access and success in the labor market and are often relegated to life on the
     margins of society. Any program aimed at achieving self-sufficiency for youth must provide educational services and adequate
     skill training to provide access to jobs that pay a livable wage.

     The ultimate goal of the Comprehensive Youth and Young Adult Resource Center will be to provide housing and services to
     youth so they can become self-sufficient, self-confident young adults. The Resource Center will be located in Baltimore city,
     because of the high percentage of youth and young adults with unstable housing living in the area. The Resource Center will
     include a drop-in center and transitional housing facility. Services offered through the project will include: street outreach,
     institutional outreach, crisis counseling, alcohol and drug counseling, GED preparation, social skills training, life skills training,
     job readiness and interview training, job placement assistance, and vocational or post secondary training.

            Position: The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board will advocate for establishing and funding a
            Comprehensive Youth and Young Adult Resource Center for Homeless Youth during the 2005 session of
            the Maryland General Assembly.


    Establish a Ready By 21 Strategy in Maryland

     Too many youth in Maryland are not ready for work, community and family when they reach the age of 21. Maryland has
     developed a six-step process for crafting a strategic plan that focuses on a single result area. The six steps are: identification of
     the outcomes and indicators that measure whether our youth are ready for work, community and family when they leave either
     high school or post-secondary school; examine how Maryland youth are doing on the Ready By 21 indicators; identify the
     causes and forces at work that explain our current situation with respect to readiness for work, community and family; identify
     what it will take to improve the readiness of our youth for work, community and family; calculate the cost if we do nothing — the
     “cost of bad outcomes”; develop a comprehensive Ready By 21 Strategy, implement the strategy and update it based on new
     data. The process was piloted for the result area. Ready to Learn is now ready for replication for Ready By 21.

     Ready By 21 will make sure that all youth in Maryland reach age 21 prepared for a career, ready to become an active,
     empowered member of his or her community and ready to raise a family. It will have four major components: annual report
     cards on the extent to which Maryland’s youth are ready for work, community and family; a comprehensive Ready By 21
     strategy that describes how the State can best improve the readiness of its youth for work, community and family; alignment of
     existing spending and programs with the Ready By 21 strategy and identification of additional needs that require new
     investment; and a grassroots campaign to mobilize public support behind efforts to improve outcomes for youth.

     Maryland has a unique opportunity to be one of the first states to develop and implement a comprehensive Ready By 21
     strategy. Advocates for Children and Youth, the host agency, will partner with an Advisory Board comprised of national and
     state experts, the Youth Investment Partnership (YIP), the Maryland Coalition for Youth Development, as well as with state and
     local agencies. State agencies and departments that are responsible for youth development initiatives are already collaborating
     by recognizing common result areas for youth and looking at all programs comprehensively. Ready By 21 will require the active
     involvement of public agencies, the leadership of elected officials, and strong public support and will serve as a model that other
     states can learn from and replicate.

            Position: The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board will support and advocate for a Ready By 21 strategy in
            Maryland that will improve the readiness of youth for work, community and family.



    Training for Low-Wage Incumbent Workers and Job Seekers, Adult Literacy and Workplace Literacy

     - Baltimore faces the dual challenge of developing a workforce that meets the needs of employers and addresses low-wage
     workers’ need for family sustaining wages. In its 2003 report, Baltimore’s Choice: Workers and Jobs for a Thriving Economy, the
     Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) found that low-wage workers’ job prospects and economic stability could be improved
     with moderate training and education. The report notes that the concentration of higher-skills jobs in Baltimore demonstrates a

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    clear need for job training and skills upgrading to meet the needs of the city’s employer community. Consistent with this finding,
    JOTF recommended that strategies to improve wages, retention, and career advancement opportunities be implemented,
    including the expansion of current efforts to create career ladders in occupational areas and establishing a more comprehensive
    incumbent worker skills training program for low-skill, low-wage workers.

    Recognizing workers’ need for family sustaining wages and employers’ need for a qualified and skilled workforce, Baltimore
    created an incumbent worker skills training program that increases the earning capacity of low wage working parents while
    assisting employers by addressing worker shortages. In its third year of operation, over 200 participants trained for growth
    occupations in healthcare, an industry that is essential to the region’s economic future and faces some of the most critical
    shortages of skilled and technical workers. Successful training completers are guaranteed job promotion and career
    advancement by the participating hospitals. Training completers are promoted to paraprofessional jobs in the healthcare
    industry, and earn an average of $5,000 more in their post-training occupations. Participating employers absorb all the costs of
    job backfill and agree to pay employees their full wages while they train. However, consistent with the Governor’s cost
    containment efforts, the General Assembly did not reauthorize funding for this program in 2005. Thus, the program will not
    continue after the current funding cycle ends in 2004.

    - Our economy needs an educated workforce to be competitive. However, an estimated 613,640 Marylanders do not have a
    high school diploma. The National Adult Literacy Survey reports that 20% of Maryland and 38% of Baltimore City residents
    function at the lowest literacy level. Despite these alarming statistics, only 4% of the target population in Maryland receives adult
    education and literacy services each year, while 4,000 to 5,000 adults put up with long waiting lists. Equally disturbing is the fact
    that a family headed by a high school dropout earns about 50% less than a family headed by an individual with a high school
    diploma. Employers, too, have a significant stake – educated adults are better prepared to work, with businesses reporting that
    workers’ lack of basic skills impacts negatively on work quality and profits.

          Position: The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board will support legislation and budgetary initiatives that would
          assist Baltimore’s job seekers and low-wage workers to access training programs designed to help them
          overcome education and skills deficits and adult and workplace literacy programs, to facilitate the transition to
          career track employment with family sustaining wages.

   Training for Incarcerated Individuals and Ex-offender Employment

    Baltimore is home to the most densely populated geographic distribution of returning ex-inmates in Maryland, with an estimated
    9,000 returning to various neighborhoods each year. Those who become employed in the labor market quickly after release are
    less likely to engage in criminal activity, thereby enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism. However, the majority face
    significant barriers to employment, such as low literacy levels, lack of marketable job skills and permanent housing, substance
    abuse issues and child support arrearages.

    The social and economic consequences of large numbers of ex-inmates returning to Baltimore are significant, particularly with
    regard to employment. Research shows that over 40% recidivate within 12 months. Early employment is fundamental to
    successfully reintegrating ex-offenders into society. The public safety consequences that this population poses if not employed
    shortly after release are considerable. Baltimore’s workforce system must include workforce strategies to ensure that ex-
    prisoners have a solid, immediate opportunity to connect to the labor market upon release from prison.

           Position: The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board will support legislative and budgetary initiatives that
           promote the employability of previously incarcerated adults, including efforts to provide skills training and
           literacy services to a greater number than is presently served. The Board will also support initiatives to
           enhance the employability of individuals while they are incarcerated thus increasing their likelihood to
           connect to employment upon re-entry.




FEDERAL PUBLIC POLICY PRIORITIES

   Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)


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    Congress is in the process of reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. As lawmakers continue to debate how
    WIA will be structured, it is important to recognize the progress that has been made at the local level under Title I of the current
    law and the positive features of the local workforce investment system. In particular, the first years of full WIA implementation
    have proven that the one-stop career center system, while needing some minor adjustments to achieve its fullest potential, has
    nevertheless uniformly benefited employers and job seekers alike.

    Locally, Baltimore’s business-led BWIB has made significant progress in creating a workforce development system that
    improves the skills of our citizens to meet the needs of our local businesses and ensure they remain competitive. With three full
    years of WIA performance data available, Baltimore’s four one-stop career centers have served an average of 17,000
    customers annually, providing comprehensive workforce development services including skills assessment, Internet access, job
    fairs, employment opportunities, Individual Training Accounts, computer literacy, customized training, Adult Basic Education,
    GED preparation, resume writing, employment seminars and occupational skills training through four one-stop career centers.
    Baltimore’s one-stops have placed over 5,000 job seekers in jobs in each of the past three years, where they earn an average
    hourly wage of $9.50. In addition, each year Baltimore’s workforce investment system has provided value-added services to
    over 500 employers.

    The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board, like many of its counterparts across the country, believes that WIA reauthorization
    should build upon progress already achieved in the evolving private sector-led local workforce investment system, strengthen
    the authority and flexibility of local elected officials and local workforce investment boards to design and implement local
    workforce systems and increase funding for local areas. Specifically, reauthorization should respond to the workforce
    development needs of business and workers throughout America at a time when joblessness remains a major impediment to a
    full economic recovery. Reauthorization should address the key areas of local governance/control, infrastructure funding, one-
    stops and integrated service delivery, training, commitment to youth, business services and performance measurement.


           Position: The BWIB will continue to support S. 1627, draft legislation that makes positive changes to WIA without
           causing unnecessary disruptions or structural changes to this relatively young system or undermine the
           successes that have already been achieved. If adopted into law, this legislation would strengthen and improve the
           overall quality of the WIA program and enable counties, cities and workforce investment boards to respond to the job
           training and workforce development needs of their constituents, by:

                              Enhancing services to business, unemployed and dislocated workers and others in need of workforce
                               development assistance;
                              Strengthening the relationships between the public and private sectors and states, counties and cities;
                              Improving the role of businesses in the local workforce development system;
                              Strengthening the role of business on local workforce investment boards;
                              Encouraging expanded opportunities for training, including incumbent worker training;
                              Expanding coordination among various workforce development service providers;
                              Addressing partner funding for one-stop systems.

           Notwithstanding the positive features of S. 1627, the BWIB remains concerned about youth forward funding,
           which under current law enables local areas to access dollars to support pre-summer jobs activities for the next
           fiscal year. The BWIB will continue to support efforts to ensure language to enable the current practice of youth
           forward funding in final WIA reauthorization legislation.


   TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Reauthorization

    In February 2003, the House passed a reauthorization bill, HR 4, which would require cash assistance recipients to work 40
    hours a week by 2008. The bill would also fund new programs to promote marriage and provide an additional $1 billion in
    mandatory childcare funding over the next five years. The Senate Finance Committee amended HR 4 to require participants to
    work 36 hours a week, with 24 hours a week for parents with children younger than age 6, and added $6 billion in mandatory
    funding for child care grants when the bill was brought to the floor in March of that year. Debate over an amendment on
    minimum wage on the floor stalled the movement of the bill’s passage. As a result it was pulled from the floor and no further
    action has been taken in the Senate to date.



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    On June 22, 2004, Congress passed another extension of the 1996 welfare law, which continues to fund the TANF program
    until September 30, 2004. An eighth extension will continue TANF through March 31, 2005.
          Position: The BWIB will closely monitor developments in TANF reauthorization, specifically in the areas of
          training, child-care, participation rate and the superwaiver, to determine potential impacts on Baltimore’s
          public workforce development system.




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