SkillsUSA Joins Mike Rowe to Support Baltimore Workforce Development

Published: February 27, 2017
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SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence with Mike Rowe. SkillsUSA executive director Tim Lawrence attended the 2017 Build Baltimore Gala on February 25 to support and celebrate Project Jumpstart, a Baltimore workforce development program. The invitation was extended to SkillsUSA by the Koch Foundation, which partners with both mikeroweWORKS and SkillsUSA. Brennan Brown from Koch Foundation and Laura Hands of Koch Industries were in attendance, along with many other current or potential SkillsUSA partners. For more than a decade, hundreds of Baltimore residents have participated in Project Jumpstart, a 14-week workforce development construction-training program for Baltimore residents who are 18 years or older with a high school diploma or GED. The second annual Build Baltimore Gala attracted business and industry, community leaders, local chefs, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and Baltimore native and TV host Mike Rowe, who are all working to create a better future for Baltimore’s workforce. More than 600 people attended the sold-out event at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel. Project Jumpstart, dedicated to the construction trades, offers on the job training and interviews with potential employers. Many key sponsors including Mike Rowe’s foundation say the program is a vital investment in Baltimore’s future. “On a micro level I want to see more people go through this program, turn their lives around and contribute to society. On a macro level, I see so many other cities with the same challenge skill gap: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Nashville and Sacramento — opportunities are everywhere,” Mike Rowe said. “If Baltimore plays its cards right, they have a story they can tell across the whole country,” Project Jumpstart has graduated 700 individuals with a 75 percent success rate for job placement. “SkillsUSA was honored to be represented at this event, where we can network with corporate and foundation leaders and support workforce development,” said Tim Lawrence. “It is rewarding to see the success of this program and to meet graduates who have benefitted.”

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