By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
Mayor Brandon Scott and Jason W. Mitchell, director of Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works (DPW), recently unveiled a new workforce development initiative.
B’More WISE, the Baltimore Water Infrastructure Strategic Educational program, is targeting youth, veterans and returning citizens for employment within DPW.
This is good news for Balitmoreans who seek a career track that pays a living wage.
“B’More WISE is about putting residents on pathways that build their economic potential and set the city up for success,” said Scott, in an interview with the AFRO. “It allows us to facilitate growth, while providing support staff for DPW–which is well needed.”
B’More WISE connects residents to technical-based training and provides access to long-term careers as water and wastewater operators.
All Baltimore City residents 18 years or older with a high school diploma are eligible.
Yosef Kebede, the Bureau of Water and Wastewater head, leads efforts to create strategic partnerships for the B’More WISE program.
The B’More WISE curriculum includes general public works and construction industry training.
Last week, members of the first cohort attended a “signing day” ceremony at City Hall in Downtown Baltimore.
DPW encourages residents of all walks of life to apply, including recent high school graduates and residents who suffered job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want young adults, high school grads and veterans to know they are welcome,” said Scott. “DPW does a great job of hiring many returning citizens. We work through our re-entry partners to reach returning citizens and incorporate them into our program to create a better path forward.”
Starting salaries for DPW can range from $37,000 – $43,000 a year.
Scott said his office is in talks with DPW and Baltimore City Public Schools, seeking to create a partnership that will encourage students from career and technical education schools, like Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School, to choose a career with DPW.
The program will also help DPW build out its staff with Baltimore natives, instead of outsourced talent from other parts of the state and country.
B’More WISE is a part of DPW’s rebranding initiative for 2023. They also launched the BMore LOVE Volunteer Network, the Residential Advisory Council and Eco-Warriors of the Future Schools Competition this year. DPW will announce more projects along with a new logo in the coming weeks.
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