NFTE Baltimore has started the school year off with a unique partnership with two Departments within the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office. Our engagement with these city offices brings a new prominence to our work in Baltimore City and validates the importance of our work across the Baltimore Metro business community! It is these types of relationships that help NFTE bring sustainable change to the economic landscape of Baltimore City through our work with Baltimore City students. The support by the Mayor and two of her prominent departments also brings a wealth of business expertise availability to our Baltimore City students! Through these partnerships our students have access to a variety of entrepreneurs and business professionals who can help students understand the role of entrepreneurship and how it can change their lives for the better!
NFTE Baltimore Staff with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake
Our first engagement is with the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Development (MOED). We have been awarded a grant from Wells Fargo supporting our efforts in the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC). YOC is a school operated by the MOED, and serves as a “drop in center” for students who previously had dropped out of Baltimore City Public Schools. NFTE Baltimore will engage a cohort of 20 young men ages 16-21 as they work towards their GED, acquire other workforce development skills and engage in the NFTE Program.
MOED and the YOC administrators have been waiting for the opportunity to bring NFTE into their programs as they see NFTE programming as core to their mission for helping high school drop outs take control of their future and acquire skills that provide increased opportunities to open businesses and become gainfully employed members of the localized workforce.
The second partnership is with the Mayor’s office of Minority and Women–Owned Business Development. This partnership has provided opportunities for NFTE students to meet with locally recognized Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises from the Baltimore City region as well as engage with city officials to learn about business development opportunities, challenges and resources available in the City of Baltimore. Increasing student awareness of resources and opportunities to own their own business and engage in innovation and incubation was a key message delivered to the NFTE students.
On October 30th, 2013, our two national finalists, Asia and Zoey, were formally recognized at the Mid Atlantic Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises (MBE). This event hosted awardees from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. This event recognized businesses that demonstrated business professionalism (leadership through business and professional organizations, client satisfaction, and mentoring), entrepreneurship ( introduction of a new product, process or service) and significant community contributions. After an amazing and heart felt introduction by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Asia and Zoey were invited on stage for recognition of their achievements and photo opportunities with the Mayor.
Students from Carver Vocational and Technical High School met with staff from the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises and select representatives from the TOP 100 MBE awardees from the Baltimore City region, on November 1st. Students were able to meet with entrepreneurs in small groups by profession to talk about workforce readiness and 21st Century Skills. Students learned about the Fast Facts of the MBE including but not limited to their business demographics, revenue generation, employment opportunities, sustainability and minority business enterprise certification. The MBE mentors also discussed the role of innovation and entrepreneurship and the struggles and successes that one will encounter from a real life perspective of those who have lived it. The MBE provided a diversity of mentors ranging from lawyers and construction company owners to accountants and engineers.
On November 25th, Asia was “Mayor for the Day”, a program that selects exemplary youth from Baltimore City to spend the day shadowing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake. Asia had the opportunity to learn about the role of the Mayor and the inner workings of the city government. Asia also attended two events with the Mayor and her staff. The first was a ground breaking ceremony and the second was a food distribution program serving needy families in Baltimore City.
These engagements demonstrated the commitment of the City of Baltimore to NFTE and the students that we serve. Baltimore is having a great year and looking forward to increasing our “innovative” partnerships with individuals and organizations in Baltimore City!
Happy Holidays from NFTE Baltimore!