Bloomberg Philanthropies Commits Nearly $4 Million to Expand Job Training In Baltimore Amidst Upheavals Caused By COVID-19 Pandemic

$25 Million of New Grants in Nine Cities and Two States Brings Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Support of High-Quality Career Training Partnerships to $90 Million

NEW YORK, NY (November 9, 2021) Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today that Baltimore’s Promise will receive nearly $4 million to grow its Grads2Careers job training program in Baltimore as part of an increased commitment of $25 million to prepare young people for well-paying jobs and help them recover from the financial and educational disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement of additional support for career and technical education programs in nine U.S. cities and across two states comes at a critical moment in the nation’s pandemic economic recovery when high school students need access to high-quality job training opportunities more than ever and businesses are eagerly looking to hire qualified talent in a range of middle-skill jobs – jobs requiring more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree.

Two types of programs apprentice-style programs based within businesses and workforce training programs housed at high schools and other training providers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Camden, Charlotte, Denver, Louisville, Providence, Washington D.C., and across Delaware and Texas (Austin, Houston, San Antonio and in west-central Texas) will collectively receive $25 million in grants. This new investment brings Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support of career and technical education programs to $90 million since 2016.

Grads2Careers is a partnership of Baltimore City Public Schools, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and Baltimore’s Promise to connect recent high school graduates with no college plans in the next year to workforce training programs for career-track jobs in high growth industries including health care, information technology, construction, transportation and warehousing, biotechnology, and hospitality. Baltimore’s Promise estimates that more than a quarter of the city’s high school graduates become “disconnected” -- neither in the workforce nor enrolled in higher education-- in the fall after graduation. 

"Grads2Careers is an opportunity to reimagine what postsecondary success can look like in Baltimore City,” said Dr. Sonja Santelises, Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. "This initiative, and Bloomberg Philanthropies' substantial investment in this important work, has built the foundation for a critical pathway between education and workforce systems that ensures that our City Schools graduates do not fall through the cracks in the transition from high school to the world of work."

"Grads2Careers focuses not only on serving young adults entering the workforce right now but also how Baltimore City creates permanent and lasting pathways to family-sustaining wages for generations to come," said Julia Baez, Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore's Promise. "Bloomberg Philanthropies, and their multi-year commitment to this work, understands what it takes to change systems and outcomes. They continue to be leading investors and thought partners, helping us to improve our approach over time."

"Baltimore City's young people have benefitted from the level of interagency and cross-sector collaboration fostered by Grads2Careers," said Jason Perkins-Cohen, Director of the Mayor's Office of Employment Development.  "The support of Bloomberg Philanthropies has not only allowed Grads2Careers to support high school graduates in unprecedented ways, but their investment in Phase II of this effort provides a valuable opportunity to innovate and build upon our Phase I success."

The support underscores Michael R. Bloomberg’s beliefs that expanding career programs and pathways for students not heading directly to a four-year college after high school is critical to gaining greater economic mobility and strong middle-class career opportunities – and that states, districts, local businesses and employers, and schools must work in closer partnership to grow these training programs.

“High school students have had their educations turned upside down by the pandemic. To put them on a path to success, we need to ensure they have access to the opportunities they need to reach their full potential – and that includes creating new avenues for them to get there,” said Mr. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Apprentice-style and school-based career programs allow students to get the skills and high-quality, on-the-job experience they need – and employers are looking for. These programs will help more young people begin successful careers and build a stronger future for our country.”

The new support includes $12.5 million for work-based apprentice-style programs that embed high school students in a workplace, programs adapted from the Swiss and German apprenticeship systems, and $12.5 million for school-based career training that offers students the opportunity to learn about careers and earn industry-recognized credentials and certification. Participants receive industry training and work experience for positions in health care, financial services, business operations, information technology, and advanced manufacturing, and step into jobs such as IT support technician, certified medical assistant, human resources associate, web developer, and machine maintenance technician.

The work-based apprentice-style programs receiving funding include:

  • The Birmingham Promise in Birmingham, AL is receiving nearly $2 million to catalyze the growth of a citywide apprenticeship and internship program.
  • CityWorks DC in Washington, D.C., is receiving $2.5 million for a new apprenticeship program, CareerWise DC, and to help engage more employers in youth career programs in the Nation’s Capital.

The other school-based career training programs include:

  • $1.5 million to Propel America to scale career preparation and industry credentialing efforts in Providence, R.I., and Camden, N.J that will connect recent graduates to good jobs.
  • $4.5 million to Delaware as part of the state’s $15.8 million expansion of career pathways programs. The expansion launched last month paves the way for eight in 10 of the state’s public high school students to gain work-based learning experiences, industry credentials, and early college credits for in-demand careers before they graduate. It also starts career readiness earlier, beginning in middle school.

In the last five years, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ focus on workforce training has led to the creation of outstanding models for workforce education across the country, such as CareerWise Colorado, YouthForce NOLA, and Talent Ready (across the greater Washington region). Prior to today’s grants, more than 15,000 high school students have benefited from these programs.

Media Contact:
Bloomberg Philanthropies

Rachel Nagler

Baltimore’s Promise
Tom Waldron


About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter.

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