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Center for Urban Families launches workforce development program at West Baltimore school

A job development and family support center launches a program for parents at a West Baltimore school

The Center for Urban Families has launched a job training and workforce development pilot program available to parents and other adults with connections to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School in West Baltimore.

The Baltimore-based urban families center has received a $150,000 grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Inc. to run the two-year pilot program based at the school, where the foundation has renovated the library through a separate program.

The goal is to work with about 200 unemployed or under-employed adults in the community who have a connection to the school, including parents and guardians, to offer job training or help link them to workforce development services and eventually to jobs, said Marci Hunn, the Weinberg Foundation's program developer for workforce development. The goal is that at least 50 people would find new or upgraded employment, she said.

"Our hope is that this effort, if successful, would be replicated in other school communities that we've supported," Hunn said.

By having a staff member based out of the school, Urban Families, a group that works to help stabilize fathers and families through workforce training, will be able to extend its services into the community in a new way, said James C. Durrah II, a spokesman for the organization. Services could range from case management to job lead resources to offering parenting suggestions, he said.

Urban Families will work with partners such as The University of Maryland, Baltimore, Promise Heights, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and the Baltimore Integration Partnership on the new "Anchor Institution Workforce Development Initiative." Other partners include the Job Opportunities Task Force, Maryland New Directions and the Mayor's Office of Employment Development.

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