4: Working with anchor institutions – Baltimore’s ‘Eds and Meds’

Baltimore’s education institutions and hospitals have been working together for several years to improve the economic vitality of communities in the city.111 Partnership between these ‘anchor institutions’, large employers and spenders with an inherent stake in the city, has been developed in part through the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) to advance economic inclusion through anchor institution hiring, purchasing and capital investment powers.

BIP is funded through Living Cities112 and local match. It is governed by a board with members from the nine anchor institutions (Bon Secours Hospital, Coppin State University, Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Loyola University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Morgan State University, the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore).

The Board and BIP-specific work groups have worked together to identify, define and address complex economic issues in the city. Partners used demonstration projects to sustain momentum and identify promising strategies to build upon through partnership work. Data was central to informing these efforts, and promoting transparency and accountability. The first phase focused mainly on financing capital projects and connecting local residents to workforce services, training and jobs in those projects and others.

BIP completed a review of the first three years of the partnership, drawing out several lessons for the second phase, including: establishing a more narrow strategic focus; expanding anchor institution representation on the board; and increasing business and financial institution participation.113 It also recognised the need to move beyond the focus on capital investment due to low levels of demand in the city, towards a focus on the hiring, training and advancement and procurement practices of the anchor institutions.114

In the workforce development area, BIP has been working to identify where the employment opportunities are and to better understand the internal and external barriers to local hiring. As part of this work, BIP is connecting with workforce training organisations to help meet their hiring needs.

The second phase of BIP is moving forward in alignment with the new Baltimore City Anchor Plan. Signed in June 2014,115 the Plan calls on city agencies and local institutions to discuss how they can share goals and resources to address public safety, business and the quality of life in the city. The city’s anchor institutions are seen as an integral part of the Mayor’s economic development plans. Representatives from the city and the institutions will agree to meet quarterly and the Mayor and Presidents of universities and hospitals will meet biannually to discuss progress.

Building on the work of the BIP, priorities to increase local hiring include: completing an inventory of available jobs for Baltimore City residents and a workforce plan at anchor institutions; creating a pipeline of qualified local residents that are trained and ready to apply for job openings at anchor institutions and at businesses in the surrounding communities; establishing a linkage between the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS), anchor institutions, and the Mayor’s Office for Employment Development (MOED) to create career pathways and educational opportunities for Baltimore City students and graduates, and connecting career development staff from the anchor institutions with MOED to provide a pipeline of students for Youth Works and Employ Baltimore-Ready to Work for You initiatives.
One of the most critical lessons to emerge from the BIP’s work was the need to align its efforts with other initiatives in the city and the Plan aims to achieve this. As Terry Sawyer from the Loyola University Maryland stated, “there is a spirit or an attitude of collaboration that’s been enhanced since the mayor’s been serious about this anchor plan. It’s not just all doing good things, but doing it in a comprehensive and organized manner”.116

Footnotes

  • 111 Interviews; City of Baltimore (2014) The Baltimore City Anchor Plan: A community and Economic Development Strategy, City of Baltimore
  • 112 For further information see https://www.livingcities.org/
  • 113 Community Science (2014) Baltimore Integration Partnership: BIP 1.0 Final Evaluation Report
  • 114 Interview
  • 115 City of Baltimore (2014) The Baltimore City Anchor Plan: A community and Economic Development Strategy, City of Baltimore
  • 116 The Baltimore Sun (2014) City formalizes partnership with local ‘anchors’