Committed to the city

President Ronald J. Daniels confers with Rep. Elijah Cummings at the launch of HopkinsLocal.

Image caption: President Ronald J. Daniels confers with Rep. Elijah Cummings at the launch of HopkinsLocal.

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins serves as a major economic engine for Baltimore, with construction and renovation projects across the city, hundreds of new employees each year, and the purchase of millions of dollars of goods and services. Now the university and health system are ramping up a new program to do even more to promote economic growth and employment opportunities in the city.

HopkinsLocal is a new university commitment to increase design and construction contracts with local minority- and women-owned businesses, expand the number of new hires that come from city neighborhoods where employment opportunities are most needed, and build relationships with more Baltimore-based vendors. The initiative will also enhance Johns Hopkins' ongoing efforts to support diversity in its workforce and among its business partners. The initiative offers new approaches to build on Johns Hopkins' existing programs to invest in communities that include its campuses, partner with city schools, provide summer jobs for high school and college students, and hire and train ex-offenders at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The university and health system have been planning the initiative for some time, but leadership says it has become even more urgent in light of recent events in the city.

"Last spring, the unrest in Baltimore shed light on the racial and economic disparities that challenge our city and our nation," wrote Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, in a message to faculty, students, and staff. "Since then, Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System have joined with community, political, and faith leaders to renew and reaffirm our commitment to supporting our city and our fellow citizens. We are redoubling our long-standing efforts, knowing that the health and well-being of Johns Hopkins are inextricably tied to the physical, social, and economic well-being of Baltimore."

The goals of the initiative include:

  • Filling, by 2018, 40 percent of targeted positions by hiring from within the city's most distressed communities;

  • Increasing, by at least $6 million over three years, the amount of goods and services the university and health system purchase from Baltimore-based businesses, including those owned by minorities and women;

  • Enlisting at least 24 suppliers from outside the area that Johns Hopkins will hold accountable to hire, procure, and invest locally;

  • Spending at least $20 million in design, consulting, and construction work with minority, women, and disadvantaged businesses by applying new targets across all Johns Hopkins construction projects.

In their message, Daniels and Peterson encouraged faculty, staff, and students to be a part of HopkinsLocal by looking to city businesses when they purchase goods and services. Employees also can support the initiative by hiring city residents. "Your support will help sustain healthier, safer, and more vibrant communities where we are all proud to live, work, and study," they wrote.