Building Baltimore’s African-American Workforce: The Role of Unions, Minority Business and Public Spending in Advancing Prosperity


On July 14, JOTF and Associated Black Charities held a forum to release a joint issue brief exploring strategies to build Baltimore’s black middle class.  The report, entitled Expanding Baltimore's Black Middle Class: Workforce Strategies for Advancing Prosperity, describes the challenges and opportunities facing Baltimore’s African-American workforce, and provides concrete recommendations for advocates and policymakers.  At the event, report author Andrea Payne Roethke discussed the brief’s findings.  She focused on three key areas for change: expanding the number of good jobs within the city, building pathways to help low-skill workers access these jobs, and reducing employment discrimination.  


The event also featured a discussion of one of the report topics already being explored by city leaders: policies that require city contractors to hire locally.  Diane Bell-McKoy, President and CEO of Associated Black Charities, moderated the conversation, which featured Jayson Williams, Political Director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) in Maryland, and Pless Jones, President of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association.  Williams explained LiUNA’s work on the Get Baltimore Working campaign for community partnership agreements, while Jones shared concerns that certain policy approaches could hurt local minority business.  


Click here to watch a video recording of the event.  


Click here to view the PowerPoint.


For more information, or to request a hard copy of the issue brief, contact Andrea Payne Roethke at 410-234-8303.


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