HopkinsLocal, the economic opportunity initiative launched by Johns Hopkins University System in the aftermath of the city’s mass unrest in 2015, has so far kept faith with a city in desperate need of seeing its anchor institutions step up and respond to the needs of its citizens.
Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University and Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, recently reported the progress of HopkinsLocal to the community.
“At Johns Hopkins University System we have embraced our community’s call for jobs for our city’s residents. At the end of the first year of this three-year initiative we are encouraged by meaningful progress across our institution as we acknowledge the work that has just begun,” Daniels said.
“We are standing by our promise to transparently share our progress against the goals that we have established for this initiative,” added Peterson, who shared the accomplishments of HopkinsLocal at the one-year mark:
- $55 million in design and construction spending with businesses certified as minority- owned, women-owned or disadvantaged.
- 15 local minority/women owned/disadvantaged construction businesses expanded their skills and connections through the B-local Build College – a 13-week educational college designed to bolster the skills associated with the architectural and construction enterprise. B-Local Build College was established through the coordination of Hopkins and local firms.
- 304 hires from the city’s highest rates of unemployment hired into targeted positions. (Eager Park , Penn North, Brooklyn, Cherry Hill ).
- 119 ex-offenders hired at Hopkins Baltimore City locations.
- $5 million in increased goods and services purchased from Baltimore-based companies. (Original target was $6 million over three years.)
Hopkins supplements the city’s transportation system to ensure that employees hired through HopkinsLocal have access to transportation to get to their jobs. But Hopkins leadership admitted the need for enhanced collaboration with government stakeholders to shore up transportation employee needs.
“We have a very extensive shuttle and bus system that is connected to key transportation hubs. But we worry about this with respect to broader accessibility,” said Daniel G. Ennis, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
Peterson said that many of the employees hired through HopkinsLocal have been among the institution’s best hires.
“We are witnessing that many of these folks are becoming among our best employees. They are taking advantage of additional opportunities to gain skills,” Peterson said.
Although HopkinsLocal was conceptualized before the Freddie Gray police incident and mass unrest in 2015, the turmoil pushed Hopkins official to intensify their efforts.
“Is this a complete answer to the challenges that were underscored during the Freddie Gray unrest? Of course, not,” said Daniels.
“But it is a very tangible step forward that we as a private institution have been able to make. We have been encouraged by the interest and support we have received from other Baltimore stakeholders to enhance their commitment to similar types of efforts.”