My Baltimore steel factory is in the same zip code the riots and looting happened last night. I love Charm City and we need to heal fast. Here are five ways to fix our city and other struggling urban centers.
For seventeen years we have had roots in downtown Baltimore "on the wrong sides of the tracks." We are growing and need amazing local talent to manufacture excellent quality so we can ship all over the world. Matter of fact, my team created custom stainless steel wire baskets we are shipping to Brazil this week. We have a surge of business and we need to hire more talent now so we can meet our client's demanding production schedule. We pay well with great benefits. We are being slowed down because we have a skills shortage. We are having trouble finding extraordinary people to keep up with the opportunities.
How ironic that in West Baltimore where Freddie Gray is from there are 72 square blocks called "Sandtown" that is plagued with 25% unemployment. People are yearning to bootstrap themselves to the middle class. Here is how we alleviate Sandtown unemployment and resolve the skills gap that is straining local manufacturers who want to hire more locals.
1--More Skills Training Schools--Jane Addams Vocational technical school is relaunching in the city that will teach locals vocational skills that are in demand now. We (the manufacturing community) need this talent. They (residents to Sandtown) need the jobs. We are a perfect match. They will be hired soon and paying taxes and improving our city by pumping their high wages into our community. We need more vocational schools to train our community so they can lead to fruitful careers.
2--Pay Teachers More--Our kids need to learn STEM education to get ahead. We need them taught by the best and brightest so we have to stop treating our teachers like blue-collar workers. They are professionals training our most precious resources--our kids. They should be compensated well--like $100,000 per year so we attract the cream from our colleges. We need them paid well so they can live comfortable and be inspirational to our children.
3--Bad Teachers Culled--If you are not cutting it in business, companies part ways with non-performers. We need our schools to exit out quickly people that are not effective teachers. We can not waste time with our kids--they have to be taught with competent people that will become their mentors. The Asian and European factories want to eat our lunch. We need the best-prepared workforce to compete. We need our students to have the best teachers.
4--Safety--People can't focus on schools and jobs if they are harassed and live in fear. Our streets must be safe and our police empowered to protect us. The Governor's recent action to put body cameras on our protectors will make sure the transparency of the accused and the blue line will keep both sides playing by the rules.
5--Less Regulations--we have to create an environment where it is easy to start a small business and hire locals. Recently my firm was required to fill out an annual 32-page report for our "waste water management." Our companies' sole effluent is from our hands washing and toilets. This over regulations impedes small companies from thriving and wanting to grow. We have to knock down these unproductive regulations and welcome business to hire more people from Sandtown and get them on the path to the middle class.