City Council President Nick J. Mosby announces legislation to create “Dante Barksdale Career Technology Apprenticeship Fund” to strengthen school-to-career pipeline for Baltimore youth
BALTIMORE, MD (March 8, 2021) — City Council President Nick J. Mosby will introduce legislation at Monday’s council meeting to establish the “Dante Barksdale Career Technology Apprenticeship Fund,” a non-lapsing trust to pay for more Baltimore students to receive education in skilled trades through the city school system.
Named for the late anti-violence activist, the fund will honor Barksdale’s legacy by strengthening the educational and career pathways available to the city’s young people, according to Council President Mosby. This creates new funding for local workforce development.
“Dante centered his whole life on finding ways to stop Baltimore’s gun violence, and he knew in his core the only way to effectively prevent crime is by going after its root causes. He knew that connecting our young folks to jobs is key to ending violence,” Council President Mosby said.
“This legislation is about creating opportunity for our young people. When our schools combine academic work with technology education, our students are positioned to compete for jobs that will pay them living-wage salaries so they can thrive.
“The Dante Barksdale Career Technology Apprenticeship Fund is the sort of policy prescription that can create transformative change in our city.”
The legislation seeks to amend the city’s charter. Under the proposal, city contractors would contribute money to city workforce development programs, including apprenticeships. Projections for how much will be raised annually will be determined through the legislative process.
Upon passage, the money would be stored in a lockbox until voters are given the chance to consider a charter amendment.
Barksdale’s mother, Joan Carlena Houston-Raye, said the fund will honor her son’s life.
“We understand how much Dante meant to the city that he loved and dedicated his life to improve,” Houston-Raye said. “This Career Technology Apprenticeship Fund will cement his legacy for years to come.”
Council President Mosby first met Barksdale a decade ago, and the two grew to be friends. The inspiration for the legislation came from the last text exchange Council President Mosby shared with Barksdale in which the Safe Streets outreach coordinator encouraged him to find more ways to connect young people to jobs.
Barksdale was killed in January after being shot in Southeast Baltimore.
Career and Technology Education combines workforce training with technical instruction. By giving young people hands-on experience through apprenticeships, they leave high school ready to compete for jobs, often with the credentials and certifications necessary for their chosen fields.
Gregory A. Malcolm is founder and CEO of IronShore Contracting in Southwest Baltimore, a small, locally-owned business that works with city schools to offer apprenticeships to students. Malcolm has hired graduates of Baltimore City schools.
“We are committed to building the capacity of Baltimore City youth by providing them with critical training opportunities so they can develop life-long skills,” Malcolm said. “Working together, we can create a brighter future and a stronger city.”
Principal Karl E. Perry Sr. of Edmondson-Westside High School said the legislation would result in a “wonderful opportunity” for city school students. The proposal, he said, has the potential to “reshape” outcomes for the city.
“This is a true investment in our children that will prepare and strengthen the future workforce,” said Perry, vice president of the administrators’ union. “And what this means, ultimately, is a chance to enrich the lives of families across the entire city.
“Not only must ‘each one teach one,’ but for the next generation of leaders, ‘each one must uplift one.’ The children of Baltimore City are destined to do great things.”
Dyeon Stokes, a junior at Edmondson-Westside, said since enrolled in the school’s carpentry program in 10th grade, he has worked alongside carpenters on a dozen job sites, including kitchens, basements and decks.
“My trade pathway has taught me more in these two years than I have learned in a lifetime,” Dyeon said. “My trade class gives me a reason to engage daily. It hasn’t been all hands-on. My instructor has affirmations like, ‘Scholars for Dollars,’ and what that means is, striving for a ‘B’ or better in the classroom will open up more opportunity for advancement outside the classroom.”
Follow updates on the legislation using the #BmoreLocalJobs on social media.
Deputy Director of Communications
Office of City Council President Nick J. Mosby