New partnerships raise nearly $2.7 million to support hiring, training, and career assistance for groundbreaking Covid-19 program
BALTIMORE, MD. — Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and the Baltimore Health Corps (BHC) initiative announced the addition of 10 partnerships totaling $2,687,500 to help support BHC operations. Mayor Young issued the following statement:
“I want to thank all of our partners who recognized the critical needs the Baltimore Health Corps fills in public health and economic development,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “The contributions and collaborations created to support this program provide significant support to the City’s response to Covid-19.”
The Baltimore Health Corps, announced in June, is recruiting, training, and employing more than 300 residents who are currently jobless during the pandemic to serve as contact tracers and care coordinators for Baltimore City residents. Health Corps staff will be deployed to address critical Covid-19 needs in Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities, performing three key functions: contact tracing, public health education outreach, and care coordination and social support.
“With our partners’ help, we are able to more quickly reach those who have been confirmed to be Covid-19 positive, provide medical advice, care coordination, and limit the spread of disease transmission, all the while, employing dozens of City residents,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said. “With the continued support of our partners, we can continue to lead the city’s COVID response.”
“We’re excited to not only make a difference in controlling the spread of COVID and offer employment to hundreds of residents but to also demonstrate the impact that a transitional work model – first implemented by FDR’s New Deal – can make increasing employment, stimulating our economy and making our city stronger,” Mayor’s Office of Economic Development Director Jason Perkins-Cohen said.
The strong support from local and national philanthropic organizations continued in the three months since the program’s launch. Post-launch contributions were led by an additional $1 million dollars of support from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Health program, $500,000 from Bank of America, $250,000 each from the Baltimore Ravens and the Abell Foundation, and $200,000 from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
The Baltimore Health Corps program also received contributions since launch from the Maryland Department of Labor’s Dislocated Worker Grant, The Hoffberger Foundation, The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and the Covid-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation. The program also received in-kind contributions from Indeed.com to support the recruitment process.
“The Baltimore Health Corps is a solution to the City’s economic and health crises that truly puts those whom have been disproportionally impacted, BIPOC communities, first,” said Otis Rolley III, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation. “The additional support from our philanthropic partners will allow us to continue this vital work to promote stability and mobility across the City, and reflect the type of crucial response that should be a national model.”
“We must provide simultaneous relief for the public health and employment crises that continue to reshape our personal and professional lives in countless ways,” said Sabina Kelly, Greater Maryland market president for Bank of America. “Bank of America is committed to supporting critical partnerships like the Baltimore Health Corps program, which offer multiple points of relief to our area’s residents and economy.”
“We’re committed to supporting measures that positively impact the health and safety of our community,” Ravens president Dick Cass stated. “Not only does Covid-19 tracing play a critical role in helping Baltimore overcome the effects of the pandemic, but this program creates local job opportunities for people seeking employment.”
“We must reduce the spread of Covid-19 and care for the communities that are being hit hardest by the virus,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, Regional President, Kaiser Permanente. “Building our contact tracing team is also an important workforce development strategy that will provide new skills and talent to serve public health needs. Kaiser Permanente is pleased to support this dual effort.”
In total, the Baltimore Health Corps has raised $3,000,000 through its partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, $2,100,000 through local institutions, and nearly $1,500,000 through other national institutions. The city has also allocated $4,500,000 of federal funding through the CARES Act. In total, the program has raised $11,078,512 for the Baltimore Health Corps program and has $1,375,000 to go.
The Baltimore Health Corps initiative also includes key external partnerships with Baltimore Corps, HealthCare Access Maryland, and Jhpiego. These partnerships have allowed the initiative to rapidly scale recruiting, screening, onboarding, and continuous public health training for Baltimore Health Corps employees.
“Jhpiego is honored to play a role in this community partnership to improve the health of Baltimoreans and build the skills of the local workforce to conduct contact tracing, an essential component of Baltimore City’s Covid-19 response and re-opening efforts,” Dr. Leslie Mancuso, Jhpiego CEO and President said. “This initiative is win-win for the city, training hundreds of out-of-work residents for new jobs while stopping the spread of COVID-19.”
“HealthCare Access Maryland appreciates the continued support from the foundation community,” Traci Kodeck, CEO, HealthCare Access Maryland, said. “HCAM’s Community Health Workers are addressing key social issues such as food access and health insurance navigation that impact communities hardest hit by Covid19.”
“We launched the Baltimore Health Corps in the early summer with the audacious goal of mobilizing Baltimore residents, especially those who find themselves unemployed, to respond to the pandemic. While the coronavirus pandemic persists, the Health Corps is making strong progress against the public health crisis while creating high-quality jobs in the neighborhoods and communities hardest hit by the virus,” Baltimore Corps President and CEO Fagan Harris said. “Racial equity has centered our approach and we are proud to build and field a Corps that reflects Baltimore. We have much work left to do, and many hard months ahead, but Baltimore City is rising to the challenge. I am proud of our city, its courageous residents, and the extraordinary leadership on display this summer. I am thankful for the Health Corps team that is working tirelessly to keep our city healthy.”
Since the program launch, the city has received over 6,697 applications from 4,079 applicants, of which 139 have accepted offers and 73 have already started. The city is hiring at a pace of approximately 20 staff per week on eight- to ten-month contracts. Every staff receives employment development support, training, legal and behavioral services, and a stipend to purchase healthcare.
Another important component of the program, a training partnership with the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, completed its first round of training for prospective staff who want additional preparation in community health work before starting the job. Partly funded by the Maryland Department of Labor’s Dislocated Worker Grant, the training program expands access to good jobs in community health for workers who may be pivoting from another field due to the pandemic and want extra training to become stronger candidates for the roles.
Community health work is a fast-growing field in Maryland and nationwide, projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to expand by 13% between 2019 and 2029. Community health workers collect health information and help residents plan and achieve access to health services, filling gaps in existing care, particularly in underserved areas. By providing training and starting jobs in community health to hundreds of Baltimore residents, this program will significantly expand Baltimore’s long-term capacity for these careers.
The Baltimore Health Corps is hiring immediately. More information about the program can be found at https://coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov/baltimore-health-corps, while those looking to apply can go to https://www.baltimorecorps.org/baltimore-health-corps.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
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