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Circling the Dome

Building a Better Baltimore

Last fall, Johns Hopkins leaders unveiled a new initiative that aims to tap the collective purchasing and hiring power of the university and health system to strengthen Baltimore by promoting economic growth and job opportunities for city residents.

Noting that the unrest in Baltimore last April “shed light on the racial and economic disparities that challenge our city and our nation,” Ronald J. Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, sent a message to faculty, students and staff that outlined Johns Hopkins’ plan “to renew and reaffirm our commitment to supporting our city and our fellow citizens.”

Specifically, the HopkinsLocal effort pledges to:

BUILD: Johns Hopkins will work to expand participation from certified minority- and woman-owned and other disadvantaged businesses across its portfolio of construction projects. It will implement a local hiring policy to require contractors to make a good-faith effort to hire local residents for new jobs that result from construction projects.

HIRE: The university and health system will increase employment of city residents while supporting the growth and retention of local and underrepresented employees. The two entities will aim to ensure that by 2018, 40 percent of new hires in targeted jobs are from selected ZIP codes that are in need of economic opportunities. They will also focus on recruitment of Baltimore residents for positions at all levels and on expanding partnerships with organizations that help identify and prepare individuals for careers with Johns Hopkins.

BUY: Johns Hopkins will increase spending with local businesses, including those owned by minorities and women, by as much as $6 million over the next three years. It will increase outreach to local and disadvantaged businesses to engage them in the competitive bidding process and support employees to buy local by providing a directory of prescreened vendors from which to purchase goods and services.  

“We are redoubling our long-standing efforts,” wrote Daniels and Peterson, “knowing that the health and well-being of Johns Hopkins are inextricably tied to the physical, social and economic well-being of Baltimore.”