City Council President Nick Mosby announced a bill to create the Dante Barksdale Career Technology Apprenticeship Fund, dedicating the initiative to the memory of a widely respected Safe Street coordinator who was shot and killed in January.
The legislation introduced at tonight’s City Council meeting would create “a non-lapsing trust” to pay for Baltimore students to receive skilled trades education through the city school system.
The apprenticeship program, Mosby said, was a natural corollary to Barksdale’s violence interruption work because it offers people diverted from the streets a path to a living wage and lifelong career.
“He knew all the work that he was able to do would not be sustainable as it relates to reducing violence without providing real opportunity to our young folks,” Mosby said at an event to unveil the plan.
Barksdale’s sister, Pili Houston, agreed, saying, “I pray that this program is nurtured throughout the years in my brother’s honor.”
Contractors to Pay
Mosby said the program would require companies awarded city contracts to contribute money to the fund “based on the number of labor hours performed.”
The fund would be used for workforce development programs, including apprenticeships.
Mosby said the effort is “about ensuring that young folks are being properly prepared today for the jobs of tomorrow.”
“Projections for how much will be raised annually will be determined through the legislative process,” according to a release from Mosby’s office, which noted that such a fund requires voters’ approval.
The statement added that “upon passage, the money would be stored in a lockbox until voters are given the chance to consider a charter amendment.”