Each day, JOTF works relentlessly to eliminate obstacles to meaningful, stable employment through investments in adult education and skills training, effective public policy reform, and cutting-edge research. By doing so, we can consistently help low-wage workers advance to high-paying jobs and create paths for workers from every possible background to thrive and prosper.
BetterU Construction Training
The BetterU Construction Training is an 87-hour pre-apprenticeship construction program for Baltimore City residents, which is owned and operated by the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF). Training includes construction math, tool training, safety skills and certifications, and entry-level skills in electrical, plumbing and carpentry.
- JOTF has trained over 1,200 Baltimore residents with significant employment challenges enrolled
- 80% of graduates were placed in industry employment with a $15/hr average starting wage
JOTF COMMUNITY BAIL FUND
In May 2020, through an anonymous donation, the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) established its first community bail fund – the Community Bail Fund for Baltimore City. This Fund supports city residents represented by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender who are charged with nonviolent offenses. This Fund prioritizes individuals who identify as women and individuals under the age of 25. The following month, JOTF began soliciting funds to support individuals incarcerated in pretrial detention due to an unaffordable cash bail. These funds will prioritize pretrial defendants, regardless of gender or age, in Baltimore County, Montgomery and Prince George’s County. In addition to facilitating the payment of cash bails, JOTF provides customized, intensive case management support to the individuals released. This includes transportation supports, court preparation, connection with critical services and resources, and more.
Public Policy & Advocacy
Our policy team focuses on advancing public policy initiatives that improve Maryland’s low-income workers’ economic opportunities and well-being. JOTF’s public policy priorities focus on:
- Adult education, post-secondary access and affordability
- Wages, benefits, and supports
- Skills training
- Decriminalizing Poverty
- Access to affordable transportation options
- Reducing the impact of incarceration on workers
Research & Public Education
The combination of JOTF’s advocacy and programmatic work is supported and influenced by our cutting-edge research and public education efforts. JOTF’s recent publications, which can be found on our website, include:
- The Double Pandemic: Socioeconomic and Racial Inequality in the COVID-19 Era – Examines the disparate impact in areas such as health, the workplace, unemployment, housing, and the digital divide, and offers recommendations for change.
- Criminalization of Poverty– Examines Maryland laws, policies, and practices that penalize individuals who are living in poverty.
- Priced Out– Explores financial barriers to post-secondary education
- Overpriced and Underserved– Highlights the costs of being poor
JOTF is powered by passionate, purpose-driven people who know a better future can only come through better opportunities.