Lessons Learned from the Baltimore Health Corps Initiative: A Transitional Jobs Program to Improve Public Health and Employment Outcomes During COVID-19
Key lessons learned from leaders and frontline staff at the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development included:
- Creating a workflow of operations before beginning the initiative can help support staff and participants
- Multiple, repetitive data and tracking systems can be time-consuming and tedious
- Tapping into staff expertise and experience improves initiative development, operations, and participant outcomes
The Baltimore Health Corps (BHC) Initiative provided unemployed residents with temporary jobs as contact tracers to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Baltimore, MD. The BHC also hired residents to serve as care coordinators who provided support services to the city’s most vulnerable residents. Since the BHC jobs were temporary, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) partnered with Mathematica to design and implement a group goal-setting model to help career navigators coach and support BHC participants. The model was intended to transition participants to the regular job market once the paid transitional jobs ended. Based on interviews with MOED staff, this brief captures lessons from BHC and recommendations for future initiatives.