Happy Birthday Train Baltimore
by Andrea Roethke
At JOTF we get a lot of calls from people who are out of work. Because of our name, people gravitate to us hoping we will be the silver bullet that turns around their job search, pairs them with training to build a career, and helps them regain the dignity of a paycheck.For a long time, we, like many other organizations, relied on a haphazard assortment of resources.With so much happening in Baltimore, it wasn’t always easy to keep track of who offers what, who serves who, and how to get started.
That all changed a year ago and on Nov. 1 we celebrate the success of TrainBaltimore.org – our workforce training database geared toward all the people in Baltimore who need new skills to advance their careers and earn family-sustaining wages.
JOTF launched Train Baltimore to put all of the local low-cost training options in one place that would be easy to access and simple to use. In the last year, Train Baltimore connected nearly 20,000 visitors to job training and a variety of other critical workforce resources. Our monthly traffic has more than doubled over the first year.
We’ve worked hard to ensure the website is doing its job and meeting the needs of our two core audiences – job seekers and service providers. We’ve gotten positive feedback from job seekers through focus groups and surveys. They are finding programs that they would not have known about otherwise, and are enrolling in programs to advance their careers. Some providers report recruits coming directly from Train Baltimore, and others report using the website as a referral tool.
What’s next for Train Baltimore? We’re working hard to maintain and improve the website, and we need your help to move things forward.
1) Marketing. Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time out in the community, at neighborhood events and career fairs trying to get the word out. We want to keep it up, so get in touch if you have an event coming up. We also have fliers and posters available.
2) Updates. We want to ensure that Train Baltimore provides accurate, up-to-date information. Let us know if you have a new program or new information for the website.
3) Improvements. We take feedback seriously, and hope to add features and content that will increase Train Baltimore’s impact. We’ll be looking for ways to improve the website, focusing on things like helping residents identify training for high-growth occupations and allowing users to get a better sense of program outcomes. If you have ideas or suggestions, we’d love to hear them.
While we still have a big skills gap to close in the Baltimore region, we’re working hard to close the information gap. If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to visit Train Baltimore and consider how it might help your organization or clients. To get in touch, please contact Andrea Roethke or Crystal Adegbola.
Andrea Roethke is JOTF's senior policy analyst.