Baltimore Times: Urban Alliance Baltimore helping to build bright futures

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Urban Alliance Baltimore helping to build bright futures

By Ursula V. Battle | 10/13/2017

Vernon Woodly, 18, a graduate of Carver Vocational Technical High School in Baltimore has dreams of starting his own Home Improvement business one day. Thanks to the Urban Alliance Baltimore’s Career Technology Education (CTE), he is well on his way.

“If anybody from Urban Alliance comes to your school, or if you hear of anybody who is connected to Urban

Alliance, you should join,” said Woodly. “It’s hard at first, and it’s not easy, but if you think about the long-term effects of what it will have on your life, then it will be much easier to go back.”

Woodly, is among 10 high school seniors who were enrolled in the CTE program during its pilot year. Urban Alliance Baltimore offers half-year and year-long career opportunities for high school seniors from underserved communities in the city to have access to professional growth and experiences.

Urban Alliance Baltimore’s CTE pilot program was funded by a two-year, $200,000 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders grant. The High School Internship Program (HSIP) lasts a full year, with high school seniors from underserved communities in Baltimore receiving six weeks of soft skills training, followed by a 10-month, paid, professional internship in a variety of industries, mentoring and intensive case management.

The CTE program is a shortened version of HSIP, with students who already have vocational training matched with work experience in that same field.

Woodly and the other students in the Baltimore City CTE pathway took rigorous academic courses, preparing them to graduate from high school with industry certification or college credit.

Urban Alliance started the program this spring in partnership with the Baltimore City Public Schools 21st Century schools Building Program. According to Urban Alliance, the goal of the program is to transition CTE high school seniors in the construction pathway to immediate employment, an apprenticeship/career training program, or an institution of higher learning.

Job partners include Gilbane Building Company, Cain Contracting, Dustin Construction, Hess Construction, JRS Architects, J. Vinton Schafer & Sons, Inc., STV, and Turner Construction.
Woodly was an intern with Gilbane Building Company.

“Urban Alliance did not send you out into a job, they trained you for a job first,” he said. “They prepared you mentally with positivity, and they showed you different aspects of what to look for, and how to remain professional, how to dress and how to talk in a professional setting. It taught you a lot.”

Woodly’s mentor at Gilbane subsequently took him to a contracting meeting at Homewood General Contracting, where he was offered an apprenticeship in carpentry. Woodly accepted.

His mentor was so impressed with Woodly that he even asked for an extension of his internship so that they could keep him around as long as possible before he started at Homewood.

Urban Alliance’s second year of CTE interns starts training in February 2018, with their internships starting March 2018.

“They’re not just coworkers, they’re mentors,” said Woodly. They’re someone to help you. I’m still receiving help from them.”

Urban Alliance is located at 1500 Union Avenue in Hampton. For more information, visit: