Urban Alliance, Maryland Society of Surveyors Introduce Local Teens to Living-Wage Career Pathways through Interactive Tech Demo

BALTIMORE, MD – Urban Alliance, a national youth development nonprofit, and the Maryland Society of Surveyors introduced Baltimore teens to career pathways in the growing land surveying industry at an event featuring an interactive demonstration of surveying technology today at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. Students from Mergenthaler, Patterson High School, Edmondson-Westside High School, The REACH! Partnership School, Carver Vocational-Technical High School, Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, and Green Street Academy participated in today’s event where they learned how surveyors use technology including computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and geographic information system (GIS) mapping, survey-grade GPS equipment, robotics, laser scanning, and unmanned aerial systems (drones).

The two organizations – in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development and Baltimore City Public Schools – run the Future Surveyors Program which provides just-graduated high school seniors with paid, full-time summer internships within the surveying industry, along with on-the-job mentoring, pre-employment job skills training, post-high school planning assistance, and preparation for Certified Survey Technician exam. The program is designed to introduce high school students to living-wage, career-ladder jobs within the surveying industry.

“How best to fill the jobs of now and of the future is a question being raised not just here in Baltimore, but all over the country,” said Stephanie Amponsah, Executive Director of Urban Alliance in Baltimore. “At Urban Alliance, we believe that early work exposure through initiatives like the Future Surveyors Program is the key to not only building a stronger talent pipeline but also ensuring that all young people have the tools needed to connect to future careers.”

In Baltimore City Schools where three-quarters of students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, only 43 percent of students are enrolling in college immediately after high school, well below the national average of nearly 70 percent. Yet 1 in 9 young people in the city remain disconnected from both school and work, suggesting challenges in both the high school-to-college as well as the high school-to-career pipelines for low-income youth. Meanwhile, demand for specialized careers not requiring a college education is increasing faster than the supply. Young people aren’t connecting to the open jobs of the future such as land surveying, a key component of the nation’s growing geospatial industry. Surveyors are retiring faster than they can be replaced by a new generation, with the average age of a surveyor in the United States at 58 years old.

“Land surveying is a critical part of the high-growth geospatial industry, but workers are retiring faster than they can be replaced,” said Bryan Haynie, Vice President, Century Engineering Inc. and Chair, Maryland Society of Surveyors – Baltimore Chapter. “We are proud to offer the Future Surveyors Program with Urban Alliance to connect talented Baltimore youth to high-tech, high-quality, living-wage jobs within our industry.”

With more than 20 years of experience providing workforce opportunities to thousands of economically disadvantaged students in Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Detroit, Urban Alliance has a track record of improving post-high school outcomes for underserved youth. A recent six-year study found that completing Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program had a measurable impact on young men attending college, mid-GPA students enrolling in four-year colleges, and students’ retention of professional soft skills. 100 percent of Urban Alliance students graduate from high school, and over 90 percent are accepted to college. A further 80 percent of enrolled alumni continue to a second year in college, and 80 percent of all alumni are connected to a college, career, or career-training pathway one year post-program.