The 16 men enrolled in Port Covington’s Manufacturing Bootcamp represent the start of Sagamore Development’s promise to “make good.” Sagamore is seeking to deliver on a pledge to invest millions of dollars to support underserved citizens and communities in exchange for the unprecedented $660 million TIF passed by the Baltimore City Council for the Port Covington Project in fall 2016.
Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh joined civic, corporate and community leaders to celebrate the Bootcamp with a tour and mini pep rally this week. The Port Covington Manufacturing Bootcamp is a workforce development pre-apprenticeship program and the start of programs by the developer based on a $100 million agreement announced between the Baltimore government and community leaders in September 2016 requiring Sagamore Development to invest in job development and creation, moderate income housing and other community benefits.
“This is about the long game and I commend Sagamore Development and their partners for already delivering on promises made to help train, cultivate, develop and hire Baltimore¹s workforce,” Pugh told the partners gathered at the Foundery to support the program.
The Port Covington TIF was delayed for months while city council and community leaders worked with Sagamore Development’s leadership to craft the $100 million community benefits agreement insisted on by local citizen groups like BUILD and others in exchange for support of the $660 million TIF Sagamore development project.
The 16 participants represent the second class of Sagamore Development’s six-week career readiness program led by The Foundery, a workforce development hub at City Garage and the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) and co-sponsored by Whiting-Turner, and The Commercial Group.
The Center for Urban Families serves as the connection point for men and women interested in the workforce readiness Bootcamp.
“What we do is on the front end. We recognize that the Baltimoreans we serve may have various labor force impediments. “said Joseph T. Jones, founder, president and ECO of The Center for Urban Families.
“They may have criminal backgrounds, little to no work experience, a checkered educational record. We support Bootcamp candidates with essential skills before determining eligibility for the program.”
The second six-week Bootcamp began in early February and will be completed in March. Classes include woodworking, welding machinery, textiles and 3D printing. Employers interact with participants throughout the course of the camp.
The eight men who completed the first program in January of this year were offered jobs immediately, according to Alicia Wilson, Sagamore Development’s vice president for community affairs.
Wilson said that the Bootcamp model will continue to be refined and scaled-up until Sagamore Development meets the training and workforce development goals negotiated in the $100 million community agreement.
“We’re starting now. We’re following through,” Wilson said. “This is just the beginning.”