WHAT WE DO


Advocates for Equity to Ensure that All Marylanders Have Opportunity to contribute to the economic success of the state

 

Removing race-based barriers in public policy and workforce that have the outcome of limiting people of color is not a matter of social justice or morality, it is an economic necessity.

We recognize that public policy has played a pivotal role in both creating and dismantling the structural and institutional barriers that have dis proportionally and negatively impacted African American and other racially marginalized groups in America.  Although the most obvious racially discriminatory policies have been overturned or mitigated, factors that disadvantage communities of color – intended and unintended alike – continue to operate in American society and in public policy.

Similarly, a workforce that is well-trained, ambitious, and free of demoralizing social hindrances expands opportunities for our most marginalized populations, and expanding their career options – and the options of area employers.

Structural and institutional racialized barriers don’t just hurt individual racial groups; they hurt our local, regional, and national economy, generating losses on our economic and material productivity.

Incorporating an Equity Lens in both policy and workforce development can assist in changing that dynamic.  Use of either the Workforce or Policy versions of the “10 Essential Questions” Tool can help to inform policy and workforce decisions and thereby increase economic growth prospects for Maryland and all its residents. Below are examples from each:

“Policy Applications of a Racial Equity Lens: Ten Essential Questions for Policy Development, Review, and Evaluation”:

  • Will the policy have a positive impact on racial / ethnic equity, inclusion and full participation of all people (in the process, in implementation, in breadth of outreach and participation, in decision-making and culture of decision-making, etc.)?

  • Will the policy protect against racial violence, racial profiling and discrimination? How?

  • What are the mechanisms in place to ensure accountability (such as equity-focused benchmarks or indicators)?

 

“Applications of a Racial Equity Lens for the Field of Workforce Development: Ten Essential Questions for Workforce Development”:

  • How is an equity lens incorporated within the program design including recruitment and outreach, training and curriculum design, and retention and tracking mechanisms?

  • What are the economic and societal benefits of incorporating an equity lens in this program design?

  • Does this program work with employer partners to create more inclusive and equitable hiring practices, employment practices and workplace culture?

 

For more information about Policy or Workforce “Ten Essential Questions”, please contact aayira@abc-md.org (Policy) or cminson@abc-md.org (Workforce).

 

In addition to the “Ten Essential Questions” tools, ABC also assists policymakers – both legislative and administrative – better understand why and how using a racial equity lens assists in creating more beneficial policies for our workplaces and in our society.  Through participation in our annual “Racial Equity Institute for Policymakers”, participants are guaranteed a confidential space to share about and hear about how colleagues have used the tool, and the outcomes of their doing so.  Invitations for this 2-3-hour session are delivered to policymakers by their colleagues.

For more information about the Racial Equity Institute for Policymakers,

please contact aayira@abc-md.org.

 

Brokers with and Supports Employers in Strengthening More Equitable Workplaces:

 

Since the 2015 Baltimore Uprising, Associated Black Charities has provided Customized Fee-for-Service facilitations to help broaden awareness of manifestations and economic impacts of race-based barriers.  Through customized workshops, facilitations, trainings, presentations, clinics, and executive coaching regarding the ways in which institutional and structural racism and implicit bias manifests and is operationalized in the workplace, employers – staff and board – build awareness about and create plans for strengthening institutional policies, practices, organizational culture, and organizational norms in ways that lower unintended barriers and support workforce recruitment, retention, and growth through use of an Equity Lens

With offerings that speak directly to the impact of workforce policies, practices, and organizational culture on retention and promotion – as well as assistance and guidance in workplan development using an Equity Lens -- the opportunity for positive impact within the workforce setting can be transformative to any institution developing an inclusive workforce.

 

ABC, in collaboration with the Aspen Community Roundtable for Change, the Baltimore Community Foundation, and OSI Baltimore, began the Baltimore Aspen Workgroup in 2011.  This working group of industry and civic decisionmakers and leaders in Baltimore came together as a result of a result of a seminar on racial equity for key Baltimore leaders that took place in October 2011 at the Aspen Institute in Wye, MD.  In the intervening years, we have expanded the group to include colleagues and leaders who are focused on building our collective capacities to use our ethos and institutional and civic leadership roles to advance racial equity -- a necessary step in realizing secure, just and prosperous futures for all Baltimore communities. This group has increased participants twice, by invitation only, in the intervening years. We have also welcomed the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a host site partner, while ABC has assumed its role as primary coordinator and content developer for this group of 70.

For more information about facilitations, trainings, workshops, presentations, clinics, executive coaching, or the Baltimore Aspen Workgroup, please contact aayira@abc-md.org.

 

 

Convenes and Expands Opportunities for Development and Growth of Local Workforce Talent:

 

Associated Black Charities offers well-received and long-standing programs / interventions that expand opportunities for development and growth of local workforce talent. 

Our Volunteer Career Mentoring (VCM) program pairs established managers and workers from diverse industries with low-wage workers of color who have a strong desire for career advancement but currently lack the career advancement skills that would ensure their upward mobility.  This six-session, six-month program of career development and mentoring is specifically (although not exclusively) targeted to low-wage workforce professionals from groups who have historically been negatively impacted by structural race-based barriers. VCM was created to offer “win / win” investment opportunity (in time and talent) for both striving low-wage workers and savvy employers who recognize that workforce talent can be grown and retained with nurturing and opportunity expansion.  To date, an estimated 300 incumbent workers have been partnered with individuals from corporations, fraternities, faith-based institutions, and other Baltimore-area industries, with the goal of assisting in the planning and achievement of career goals set by striving workers.

For more information about Volunteer Career Mentoring, please contact bsims@abc-md.org.

 

ABC’s Board Pipeline Professionals Leadership Development (BPP) program is more of an on-going strategic intervention to expand access and opportunity for groups that have historically been left out; in this instance, concentrating on developing a “leadership on-ramp” to nonprofit boards. Data regarding the racial composition of nonprofit (and corporate) boards continue to attest to the racialized disparities of board service – and to the need for BPP.  Nonprofit organizations are often as disconnected from the talent pipeline of people of color as people of color are to access to nonprofit organizations that would benefit from their skills and talent.  The Board Pipeline provides that connection, training emerging and seasoned professionals committed to board service in a five-week intensive training, from the worldview and historical perspective of people of color.  The training addresses the topics of structural racism and increases understanding of how systems of race, social class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation, and age shape social institutions that privilege or oppress citizens, expanding the “value add” of these board members as they take their places in growing awareness of the populations our nonprofit organizations support and in shaping the effectiveness of Maryland nonprofits. To date, more than 250 individuals have successfully completed BPP, with a rate of 78% of BPP’s participating on area nonprofit boards and more than 150 nonprofits recruiting from our Board Pipeline Professionals.

 

ABC’s Financial Education Project is a six-month pilot-project targeting low-wage/entry-level workers of color.  In partnership with New Lens Production Company, ABC has created a series of Financial Education Videos that provide workers with tools, tips, and tricks to augment their own understandings about and strategies for successfully creating savings and managing credit.

ABC understands the investments that employers make in their employees, as well as the costs to employers of low retention; a shallow promotion bench; and issues with talent attraction.  Because of employer need and an understanding of Maryland’s workforce demographic, we created and are testing a “Behavioral Competency” curriculum that:

  • Addresses five core attributes important to the success of every work space: dependability, courtesy, flexibility, accountability and professionalism;

  • Guides employees in realistically mapping their future careers and behaviors, and surfacing the knowledge changes necessary to access those opportunities, which means exploring the impacts of long-standing and current institutional and structural barriers which impact their daily lives;

  • Equips managers/supervisors with information and more effective management tools to increase their effectiveness with workers;

  • Is customizable to employer need; and

  • Maximizes employer investments in its employees by maintaining employee retention.

 

For more information about Board Pipeline Professionals and Financial Education Project, please contact jhardy@abc-md.org.

For more information about Behavioral Competencies, please contact cminson@abc-md.org.