BALTIMORE SBLC, a Baltimore nonprofit that provides adults with functional literacy, life skills training, career preparation services and several pathways to a high school diploma, has been awarded a $400,000 grant by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
The two-year program grant will be used to academically prepare Baltimore City residents for entry into a technical skills training program.
The grant will continue a two-year pilot effort by SBLC to integrate remedial and academic support with skills training and certification at the Regional Skills Training Center (RSTC) in the Park Heights community through JARC (Jane Addams Resource Corporation; focuses on manufacturing) and Jump Start (focusing on construction). The Weinberg grant will also provide workforce development classes at other community organizations such as the Bio-Technical Institute, Civic Works and others.
In addition, the grant will allow SBLC to introduce Bridge-to-Careers Skill Builder Academies. The courses offered will emphasize the knowledge and education needed for a particular industry. With partners, SBLC will outline the career paths that start at the entry level and grow to more technical occupations where a combination of training, education and credentialing are explored.
A third component of the grant is to increase the number of students, called learners by SBLC, who are co-enrolled in GED prep classes and sector-training. Existing work-ready learners will work with SBLC staff, who will provide academic and post-secondary support. The goals are to increase co-enrollment by five percent and 10 percent, respectively, over the next two years by expanding partnerships to include additional sector training providers and community colleges.
"We are so grateful to the Weinberg Foundation for their support of our mission and focus," said Tanya Terrell, executive director of SBLC. "The work we have done implementing programs at the Regional Skills Training Center has helped us positively impact the lives of our learners. With the most recent grant, we are able to expand the work we do to help adults earn a high school diploma and an industry-recognized credential to increase the quality of life for our learners, their families and the Baltimore community."
More than 80,000 adults in Baltimore do not have a high school diploma. Data from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce forecasts that by 2020, 69 percent of jobs in Maryland will require additional training beyond high school, making a high school diploma a necessary credential for most employment opportunities. In addition, the U.S. Census American Community Survey shows that Baltimoreans who have a high school diploma or its equivalent earn about $7,000 more a year than those without a high school diploma; for those with a college
degree, the difference is $30,000.
For nearly 30 years, SBLC has provided a supportive, rigorous and transformative education to adults of all ages and backgrounds who are eager to learn, motivated to succeed and committed to making a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. Students may pursue the GED program or National External Diploma Program. When a student completes either program, he/she receives a Maryland State High School Diploma. For more information, visit southbaltimorelearns.org.