Mayor Rawlings-Blake Names New Director of Mayor's Office of Employment Development

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Mayor Rawlings-Blake Names New Director of Mayor's Office of Employment Development

Jason Perkins-Cohen to lead administration’s efforts to provide career training for city residents, meet workforce needs of local employers

BALTIMORE, Md. (February 11, 2015)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the appointment of Jason Perkins-Cohen as director of the Mayor's Office of Employment Development (MOED)—the office responsible for workforce development initiatives responsive to the needs of Baltimore City employers and job seekers. Perkins-Cohen succeeds longtime MOED director Karen Sitnick, who retired last month.

“Jason Perkins-Cohen is a seasoned workforce development professional with a strong track record for developing high-quality training and career placement programs that facilitate long-term employment for city residents,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “His 20-plus years of experience with government, nonprofits, and the private  sector will play a key role in forming new partnerships that will ensure Baltimore City's workforce system meets the needs of our growing economy.”

As director, Perkins-Cohen will oversee all aspects of the City's workforce development system, including the City’s One-Stop Career Centers, the YouthWorks and Hire One Youth summer employment programs, and Youth Opportunities (YO!) Centers. Additionally, MOED oversees specialized training programs, working directly with employers through its Employ Baltimore, Ready to Work for You program. The office is also a founding partner in the establishment of the Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACCE), a public school (grades 6 – 12) with a special focus on providing workplace readiness skills.

MOED works in concert with the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board to address the diverse workforce needs of Baltimore’s employers and job seekers by directing innovative programs and collaborating with a host of specialized organizations. Mr. Perkins-Cohen will manage approximately 162 employees and oversee an annual budget of nearly $20 million, comprised of federal, state, and local funds.

“I am honored to serve as director of MOED,” said Perkins-Cohen. “Mayor Rawlings-Blake's vision to grow our city gives residents a prime opportunity to benefit from Baltimore's job growth by obtaining 21st century skills in expanding sectors of our local economy. I am fully committed to ensuring that every resident has a clear pathway to career-readiness and a good job.”

Since 2005, Mr. Perkins-Cohen has served as executive directorfor the Jobs Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), a nonprofit that works to develop and advocate for policies and programs to increase the skills, job opportunities, and incomes of low-skill, low-income workers and job seekers. While at JOTF, Perkins-Cohen designed and implemented JumpStart, a highly successful construction training program that has served nearly 400 job seekers. He also regularly testified before the Maryland General Assembly on a wide variety of workforce issues and supported policy changes to help increase investment in job training. Prior to JOTF, Perkins-Cohen managed the District of Columbia's Welfare to Work program and served as a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Perkins-Cohen earned his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Wisconsin. Perkins-Cohen was raised in Baltimore. He and his wife currently reside in Roland Park with their two sons, both of whom attend Baltimore City Public Schools.

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