Baltimore work convention to match job seekers with employers


The City of Baltimore Department of Human Resources has spearheaded an initiative, which officials say will further Mayor Catherine Pugh’s vision of getting city residents back to work.

The first “WorkBaltimore: Empowerment to Employment Convention,” is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at the Baltimore Convention Center where thousands of unemployed Baltimore City residents will have an opportunity to secure employment.

In an effort to attract participation from job seekers and potential employers, WorkBaltimore conducted workshops, seminars, webinars and other job readiness assistance, including: resume preparation and interview skills in order to provide employers with a viable pool of qualified applicants poised to meet current and future business demands.

Resources were also provided to aid jobseekers with career transition; recovery from involuntary employment separation; re-entering the workforce; completing the application process; professional conduct; customer service; effective communication; problem solving and critical thinking.

Further, a “New Beginnings Boutique,” opened on September 19 at 201 E. Baltimore Street in the Montebello Suite on the 1st floor to provide a host of job-readiness preparation for employment seekers. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day until September 26, job seekers can obtain an outfit appropriate for a job interview on the first day on the job. Vouchers are also available from the boutique for a visit to a barbershop or a hair salon.

“We really want to let folks know about [the boutique] because they can connect with transportation vouchers and other things they may need,” said Ava-Lisa Macon, chief of HR Shared Services in the city’s Department of Human Resources.

Macon serves as the marketing chair for WorkBaltimore, the brainchild of Mary H. Talley, the city’s Human Resources Director.

“We’re hoping to attract up to 5,000 attendees and pair them with over 1,000 jobs,” Macon said. “We’ve had over 200 workshops that we’ve held throughout the 30 days leading up to the convention. In addition to the workshops, we’re attacking the issue of unemployment from a whole circle point of view.”

Through sponsors and donations— and without any taxpayer funds— officials have been able to put together a full boutique of services for those seeking living wage-earning jobs in the city.

WorkBaltimore and the Department of Human Resources have partnered with stylists, barbers, resume services and more to prepare candidates for jobs.

“We’ve been busy getting resumes to employers beforehand so that there can be onsite interviews and perhaps, some may be able to walk out of the convention with a job,” Macon said.

It’s an innovative concept where a cross-functional city agency teams with area businesses and educators to offer citywide pre-convention resources that may lead to on-the-spot interviews and hiring.

Mary H. Talley, Director and Chief Human Captial Officer, Baltimore City, Department of Human Resources says they asked themselves what they could do as a city, to aid thousands of unemployed residents in securing employment opportunities.

“What can we do to assist organizations headquartered or operating in our city find applicants with the skills and qualifications they need within our city? Our answer— orchestrate an exceptional opportunity bringing together a cross-section of stakeholders in the same place, at the same time, to receive or provide employment opportunities and job readiness and resource assistance,” Talley said.

The event was designed to attract participation from the full spectrum of job seekers including the under-skilled, early career, mid-level, and highly skilled, according to a press release.

“We know that one day won’t change the world, but we’re hoping to continue with sessions 365-days a year by partnering with sister agencies,” Macon said. “We intend to offer job ready workshops and seminars for free to Baltimore City residents to come in and get the help they need so we can get them a job that pays living wages and to get them back to work.”

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to make tax-deductible contributions online at

For more information about WorkBaltimore, visit