The UMB Pulse Podcast

Lisa Rawlings and Workforce Development

February 04, 2022 Lisa Rawlings, MBA Season 2 Episode 1
The UMB Pulse Podcast
Lisa Rawlings and Workforce Development
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

It's a new season for The UMB Pulse. This season is dedicated to "Change Makers" — tune in to learn more about how our own UMB Change Makers  are making a difference. Our first guest is Lisa Rawlings, MBA, director of workforce development and job readiness for the University of Maryland, Baltimore Office of Community Engagement (3:29). We will also talk to a workforce alumna, Gemini Hanson Barnes (29:50). To learn more about programs Rawlings offers, visit the UMB Workforce Wednesdays Facebook page, or the Community Engagement Center's website.

Jena Frick:

You're listening to the heartbeat of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the UMB Pulse.

Charles Schelle:

I'm Charles Schelle.

Dana Rampolla:

I'm Dana Rampolla.

Jena Frick:

And I'm Jenna Frick. And this is the UMB Pulse.

Charles Schelle:

This episode marks the start of a new season for the UMP Pulse. Everyone excited? Yeah, well, you can already tell just by listening that this episode will sound a little bit different. That's because out of an abundance of caution, due to the current COVID surge, we are recording this remotely using Zoom. So we hope to return to in person recording soon. But just bear with us and enjoy the conversation later on. We want to also thank each of you who took the UMB Pulse survey this past month or so, we gain so much valuable information that is shaping the direction of the Pulse going forward.

Jena Frick:

So first and foremost, the program is going to air from now on on the First Fridays, beginning with our very next episode. So the best way to know when a new episode is dropping is of course to subscribe to the Pulse on Apple Podcasts, or your preferred listening platform. So that way you'll get notifications and you'll know exactly when a new episode comes out. And you can also create a calendar reminder for First Fridays, and you may also want to subscribe to push notifications on the UMB app which you can download onto your mobile device.

Dana Rampolla:

And one of the most exciting things that came out of analyzing our survey results is that the month ahead are going to be broken into seasons. So each season of the pulse will feature a series of three to five stories that are interrelated by topic. Seasons may feature on inspiring alumni fascinating places on and around campus and the like. So for our upcoming season, the UMB Pulse will be dedicating our storytelling to change makers who are making a difference here in Charm City. These are people having a local impact in Baltimore, particularly west Baltimore, where you UMB calls home. Once a month, we will introduce you to a different change maker. And I don't know about you guys, but hearing stories about change makers is sure to give us hope after a rough couple of years being drowned in a pandemic. So we hope that not only that, but we hope that you're inspired by these people to create change in your own neighborhood.

Charles Schelle:

And we should also let you know who our change maker is for this episode. She is Lisa Rawlings, the Workforce Development and Job Readiness director for UMB's Office of community engagement. So skip ahead if you want to listen to Lisa now along with a special guest she brought along Jena.

Jena Frick:

Yes. And that special guest is the Community Engagement Center's outreach worker Gemini Hansen Barnes who actually went through the whole workforce development program that Lisa is coordinator

Charles Schelle:

I can't wait to meet them both virtually, of course. But yes, as Dana said, I miss doing this and miss everyone listening to the podcast.

Jena Frick:

Yeah, it's great to be back.

Dana Rampolla:

Yes it is. It's good to be back. I missed you guys. And now here we can't even see each other in person. So hopefully, hopefully this surge is going to go by the wayside and not have another thing after it so we can get back together in person again soon.

Charles Schelle:

Absolutely. Well, here is our interview with Lisa and Gemini enjoy. COVID-19 has impacted employment in different ways for people during the pandemic. For some they were laid off others needed new skills in the telework world, and some sought out better opportunities for work life balance. Joining us now is a woman who dedicates her life to giving people a new start in their lives. Lisa Rawlings is the Workforce Development and Job Readiness director and UMB's Office of Community Engagement. She's also a Baltimore native. Lisa was thedirector of the University of Maryland Bio Parks bio workforce initiatives, which is a series of collaborations between the University of Maryland and Baltimore City Community College to address the shortage of life science professionals. This initiative was funded with a generous $1.4 million grant from the US Department of Labor and supported BCCC students for college to get jobs and transfer to bachelor degree programs. That program is housed at the bio park located here in West Baltimore.

Jena Frick:

Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Rawlings:

Thank you so much.

Jena Frick:

So before we jump into the things that you do for the Office of Community Engagement and the Community Engagement Center, can you first explain the difference between the Office of Community Engagement and the Community Engagement Center?

Lisa Rawlings:

That is an excellent question. So the Community Engagement Center is a place the Office of Community Engagement is kind of the the umbrella organization that runs it, right so we have lots of people who work in the Community Engagement Center, we have a director we have an assistant director. And then we have other people who don't necessarily their job isn't related to necessarily the work at the community engagement center like Camille Givens Patterson, who does our Youth Works program will be recruiting for soon. Right. So, obviously, Youth Works is a campus wide initiative and not directly related to the center. So, so I'm part of the, the Office of Community Engagement.

Jena Frick:

Right. So so like the office is the the whole department that does community engagement type stuff, and then the Community Engagement Center as part of that office.

Lisa Rawlings:

Exactly. Exactly, Jena.

Jena Frick:

Great. So Lisa, you've had some really awesome roles that kind of led you to your position here at UMB. One of those was launching the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program. Can you tell us exactly what that is? And what that did? Yeah.

Lisa Rawlings:

So the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program is now called the Southern Management Corporation Leadership Development Program. But it started as a vision of the late David Hellman. So David Hellman was the founder and CEO of Southern Management Corporation that may sound familiar to those of us here at University of Maryland, Baltimore, because it's the SMC Campus Center, naming rights. Um, David Hellman started very humbly, never finishing college, never getting a four-year degree and wanting to give entrepreneurial students the kind of support that he never got. And so he was really committed to Prince George's County, where he started his company. He was committed to Prince George's Community College, because that's where, you know, the poor kids who needed, you know, the scrappy entrepreneurs, were going to get into school while they work while they start their companies. And he was committed that they get a full bachelor's degree by partnering with University of Maryland College Park. So I was their inaugural program director at Prince George's. And I was there for years. So I'm the one I had experience with community, community college university collaborations. I had a lot of experience working with individuals with the with the great film and entrepreneurs. And I really, I really love that job, loved that program. And I loved Prince George's Community College, but then my mentor, Dr. Michelle Bond, Deema, who at the time was dean at B Triple C, she said, Lisa, they're looking for somebody to do community university collaboration at University of Maryland, Baltimore at the Bio Park. And I was like, I love my job. I don't need a new job. But I literally live around the corner from the Bio Park. And I would see the Bio Park sign in the sky when I was coming home. And I was like, this is so much closer. So I, yes, at least give them a call. And so I gave them a call. And I've been here 11 years. Yeah.

Jena Frick:

That's great, actually. So speak. Speaking of living closer. You you grew up in the Baltimore area, where did you grow up? And where did you go to school?

Lisa Rawlings:

Oh, it gets better than that. So, my father so so you know, we're we're in the Community Engagement Center at the corner of West Baltimore and Poppleton Street. And about two to three blocks north of that corner is Poe Homes. Well, my grandparents raised their six children in the pole home. So my father was was a Poe Homes kid. He was playing football, running around on his bike, he and his brothers and sisters, just like the kids who now come to PAL. And my father. Though, you know, he had pretty humble beginnings because Poe Homes was designated to low income people, low income Black people because public housing started out segregated. But he eventually became the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee for the state of Maryland. He was actually in charge of the budget for university. So I keep that in mind every time I see a packet come in this building.

Jena Frick:

Wow. That's a that's a real deep history you have with with the city in a specific area of the city

Lisa Rawlings:

And my mother went to medical school here. My mom is from the we-- is from the east side of Baltimore, but she wanted to go to medical school and applied here. Now back when we were when she applied, the university was letting in one or two Black students a year. So she literally had to wait her turn until she until they would let her in. My mom is an alum of the medical school. You know, now of course, we're on our second Black medical school dean. So, you know, things have really changed. And in a lot of ways, I am the a great combination of my father, who was from this community and advocated from this community. And my mom, who's an alum of this community and of course, served his community. So I grew up in Northwest Baltimore, in the Ashburton community. I started off in Edmonton Billage. And when I moved back to Baltimore from the Midwest, I bought a house in Union Square, which is walking distance from the center. I've been there over 25 years now.

Dana Rampolla:

Lisa, when when did you decide that you really wanted to be in workforce development? Is it because it just happened to be a job opening near your house? Or were you kind of contemplating that well heard of your career path?

Lisa Rawlings:

So thanks for asking that question, Dana. So what I knew I wanted to do. So let me give you a little bit of background about me. So I graduated undergrad, but the engineering degree, I went straight to get my MBA in finance. I worked in corporate America for quite some time, it just wasn't fulfilling enough. And I decided I wanted to look for an opportunity where I could support people who didn't think that they could achieve or shine or didn't see their value. And that desire has led me to a number of opportunities. And this workforce role roll is just another one of like, we're going to hear from Gemini Hanson Barnes in a second. But and she's going to get a chance to tell her story. But when you hear her tell her story, what you'll hear is someone who was extremely skilled and extremely passionate, and who lost her job, for really no reason of her own. And, you know, you hear about it a lot, right? The company decides they want to layoff people where they decide, everybody needs to get this certification. And if you don't have the certification, if you don't have this credential, we're going to let you go. And that, that can do a real, you know, tricks that can that can do some real damage. And I find lots of people who in this community have great experience, incredible skills, but don't necessarily see how valuable they are. That's what that's something that I love. Of course, I see people who know their value very well, and just, you know, kind of need need some advice, but I often see people who are just superstar cars. So yeah, it sounds

Dana Rampolla:

Like part of part of what you do is to help people realize who and what they are, what capabilities they have, and then to actually help them move that into a tangible work type, right?

Lisa Rawlings:

Because you, you might imagine that, you know, with an organization as complex as University of Maryland, or sister organization, University of Maryland Medical Center, people can't always tell where they might fit in. Right? Right. So we're primarily a professional school and a research institution. Well, what do I know about research, right? Like, how am I going to fit in to, you know, half a billion dollars worth of research organization, you know, here, but if you have, for your job, interview patients every day, get new demographic information, taking their vital signs, ask them about, you know, their, the protocol that they're following. All of a sudden, that sounds like a research assistant. Right? It just takes a little bit of time and advice on my part. Of course from the university, it's taken some we've had to make some changes on our side. A lot of our roles require a bachelor's degree, or a high school diploma, we didn't have any roles that to take advantage of people who had an associate's degree. And when I started off, I was, you know, we were working with B Triple C. So our human resources staffing group helped us create. And it's called an assistant research assistant technician or something like that. But they created a role that you could get with your associate's degree in biotechnology from B Triple C, which was great, because we had B Triple C's students in our in some of our research labs, interns, and now they could get hired at, you know, at a decent salary. So, so, you know, we've we've made some changes. So

Dana Rampolla:

So what does an average workday for you look that's what I've been doing. It's been great. like, look like?

Lisa Rawlings:

So a couple things. So I, so my big day is Wednesday. So Wednesday, we have Workforce Wednesday, which is our walk-in hours at the Community Engagement Center. Every Wednesday, from two to five, I'm available. And people can come in and we can help with their rsum we can help them with their job search, we can help them with online applications. That's what we do. We can help them with more stuff. But that's kind of in a nutshell. And then people who aren't available during Workforce Wednesday, I have a booking link that you can make an appointment with me anytime on Monday and Tuesday and those by phone or virtual. So depending on who's booked me. So I have some time for it for it's Wednesday and some time for it to meet with people one on one. The other part of my role, I work very closely with the Southwest partnership. The Southwest partnership is like a super neighborhood association. It's seven neighborhoods that surround University, Maryland and seven anchor institutions seven or eight anchor anchor institutions, the BioPark the B&O Railroad Museum, Bon Secours now Grace Medical. Southwest Partnership, when they were created, one of the things that they did was talk to community members about okay, what do you want to see from this collaboration between the neighborhoods and the anchor institutions. And the number one thing they said was jobs. So the other thing that I do is I work with the Southwest Partnership to run their community referral program. So for people live in West Baltimore, they're interested in a job at one of our anchor institutions, cause we're an anchor institution. University of Maryland Medical Center is the anchor institution, St. Agnes is anchor institution, that University Maryland Faculty Physicians. So if you want a job at one of our anchors, and you meet all the eligibility requirements, we can actually refer you for that job. So that gives your application a little boost. And we can find out what happened, you know, most of the people in the community that that you talk to, if they have applied for a job here, they apply, they never hear anything. Right? They get that email saying thank you for your application. And then poof, right, which can be very disheartening for someone looking for a job. So one of the things we try to do is follow up and say, Hey, what happened? We haven't heard. And, you know, sometimes the person isn't a good fit, and there's something we missed, and we can let them know. But sometimes an internal candidate applied for the job, you know, it's hard to beat internal candidate, or some, you know, some other thing happens. But either way, we can give people feedback, and we can encourage them to keep applying if the institution thinks they're a good candidate. So I spend some time I'm facilitating that program. So we've got, we've probably had now like, I don't know, 200 people get jobs that work with us in the community referral program. I also facilitate the Southwest Partnerships workforce roundtable. So that's a round table of community organizations, anchor institutions, and our neighbors who are interested in workforce. So one of the things that you'll also hear from Gemini when she gets a chance to talk, she was referred to us by the Center for Urban families. The Center for Urban families is a fantastic organization in West Baltimore. That works with job seekers. It works with dads and moms and all kinds of things too. But one of the things they do is definitely work with job seekers. And we have a number of fantastic career training programs in West Baltimore that are free. And so the roundtable is kind of, gives us the opportunity to collaborate. And it also, you know, make sure we know what's going on with the program. So we can tell people are interested in a construction training program, interested in an information technology training program, interested in biotechnology training, right. That's also what I do. I hope that answers your question.

Dana Rampolla:

That was great. Do you do you also provide jobs support? So you get people into these puzzles? You help get them into these positions? And then what happens? Yeah,

Lisa Rawlings:

Yes. So we also do provide job support. So typically, what will happen is, you know, if somebody is having like a rough transition, right, so luckily, at the University of Maryland Medical Center, they have a case manager, who's a social worker who's kind of assigned to some of our community hires. So you know, the person is having trouble, you know, maybe it takes a while to get that first paycheck. And they need some help, you know, with a bus pass, or a utility bill or something like that. We can either support them by referring them to one of their internal support folks, career coaches, or the Southwest Partnership also has a case manager that we can work with, in some cases, people, it's just a different environment than what they've worked in the past. And they just need a little coaching on how to approach their new co workers or their new supervisor. Or, you know, in some cases, the job isn't what the person expected. So now they're trying to figure out, oh, well, I really don't like that. But how soon can I transfer to something else, and we're there to help them figure that out. And we're there to help them with their resume and their applications when they want to want to do that. In some cases, people want to stay in their organization, but just make more money. And we can help them with that, you know, we can look at it, what are your skills? What are your experiences? How do they translate to the next job you're looking for? And then how do you communicate those skills and those experiences in a way that the new job can understand and recognize it? So we've helped people

Dana Rampolla:

You're a tremendous resource.

Lisa Rawlings:

Yeah, thank you. It's a lot of fun.

Charles Schelle:

I'm sure. You meet a lot of people with amazing stories, amazing opportunities, and backgrounds. What do you think inspires you to make a difference in the lives of these people that you meet, that become your clients, and probably even more?

Lisa Rawlings:

Well, they, I mean, many of them are my neighbors, right? Because I live in Union Square. And many of the folks that I work with are people that live in this community. And since I live in this community, many of the people I work with are my neighbors. I guess the people I work with inspire me, right? You know, many of the people I work with, like I said before, have incredible skills, and credibility experiences. But they what they don't have is a technology background. So they don't know how to do an online job search, or the online application has some little tricky, you know, parts to it that they need help with. So help get help and get some of the barriers out of people's way, is really satisfying. And it's something I think that University of Maryland, Baltimore, the Southwest Partnership, and all of the workflows, organizations and community based organizations that we work with, do really well.

Charles Schelle:

Sometimes it's not just maybe a skills gap, sometimes there's a basically a victim of circumstance. And so they they had a rough go of it because of you know, downsizing from a job or something else happening. So I wonder, you know, how much of this job is really is playing counselor or therapist for these people as you're trying to guide their career journey too.

Lisa Rawlings:

Right. So let me make it clear for all of our School of Social Work alums. I'm not a licensed social worker. But one of the things that we saw my colleague from Southwest Partnership who works with me on almost every workforce initiative, we work as a team. One of the things that we noticed is when people come to us for Workforce Wednesday, they sometimes would bring somebody. And we would be like, Oh, both of you are looking, they're like, no, we're just here for moral support. And at first, we were like, Huh, that's interesting. They, you know, and it wasn't just one person, it would happen, like every other week, someone would come in morals. And then when we looked at it, what does it mean? That when people seek help, they bring moral support. It's because they don't, either they don't expect to be treated well, maybe they've had a bad experience in the past, it is a very vulnerable, you know, being unemployed or underemployed can make you feel very vulnerable. And so, for those reasons, my colleague, Rachel Goodrich, who's the School of Social Work alone, who was with the Southwest Partnership, she encouraged us to take trauma informed care classes. So that even though I'm not a professional counselor, I can recognize and interact with people in a way that recognizes the vulnerability of the situation. Right? Now, not everybody comes in feeling like that. And that's wonderful. But we're really excited to work with people who you know, don't. But when you finally convince somebody that maybe you can help them, because they've been disappointed over and over again, right, to take the risk to come in, to take the risk, and tell their story, to take the risk, and apply. You know, that's a privilege.

Charles Schelle:

That has to be an amazing feeling, though, when you see someone, maybe be a shell of themselves, and realize they're getting help, and then seeing them succeed.

Lisa Rawlings:

Right, right. It is, but I'm gonna tell you, the people themselves, like I do so little. I really do. So little like we have a woman who she had a great background. She had worked with the Red Cross for years and, and I don't remember exactly why she left but she didn't want to leave when she did, but she was separated. Okay, she came. This is before the pandemic. She was

Jena Frick:

The employee of the quarter woman?

Lisa Rawlings:

Yes, the employee of the quarter. Yeah. Within the first couple of months of her working at the medical center, she got employee of the quarter.

Jena Frick:

I --

Lisa Rawlings:

Right. Like, she's an amazing person. She's committed to serving the patients, you know, the patients at the hospital. I just kind of got, like I said, helped her get the barriers out of the way so she couldn't connect to that great opportunity.

Jena Frick:

Just real quick, I pulled up that article that I wrote about the employee of the quarter woman. So her name was Tanisha McDonald, and she worked at the Red Cross for 14 years such so skilled, so wonderful, really well spoken, had gotten laid off from them and then went to Lisa with Workforce Wednesdays, she set her up with a recruitment fair, and was immediately like on the spot offered like two different jobs. One of which was at the Stoller Center as a medical assistant for University of Maryland, Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. Wow, that's a mouthful. And so that's where she is now. And she received employee of the quarter of next thanks to Lisa helping her out and giving her those workforce connections.

Lisa Rawlings:

Yeah. Again, like so especially in the pandemic, right. Yeah. So many great people who are working in service roles, hospitality restaurants, so many people lost their jobs, and are just starting to, you know, figure out well, do I really want to do that again, do I want or should I look for something that has a little more staying power? What What else can I do? And that's where we come in and help them see you can do a lot.

Jena Frick:

Lisa, thanks so much for talking with us. So now that we know all about what you do with Workforce Wednesday, and workforce development at the Community Engagement Center, let's talk to somebody who has actually gone through the process and gotten a job at the end,

Dana Rampolla:

Gemini Hanson Barnes is a community outreach partner at the CEC, Gemini. How did this all come to be? How did you find out about the Workforce Program? And how did you get

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Hi, good afternoon, everyone. Well, I involved? started off with Miss Lisa Rawlings. She liked, taken me in and show me the ropes of how the Community Engagement Center was how it works. It was different steps. But everything was very helpful. They helped me to get to the to the next step of the job that I want to even show in a job readiness, things that I thought I knew, but no, you always need to know extra. And it was very helpful. Because my next steps were to lead me to two different other jobs that led me here. I had lost a job that I was with for about 11 years. And mentally, I kind of went through something. So I went to a center on Monroe Street called Center for Urban Families. And until this day, I still utilize them because they're not too far from where I live. The information there wa very helpful to and I graduated from there being one of the highest ones in the place. So they helped me to get to this, Lisa, Lisa helped me to get to the jobs. One thing I can say is that she never gave up on me. And then her colleagues did the same as well. You know, really, it was very helpful. And a lot of people think that it's not jobs out there, you have to do this. First, you know, they will do, I can't say 90% for you. But you still have to do that sample set for yourself. You know, University of Maryland was very good to me. I will say that, especially during a pandemic. So even working for the School of Nursing showing people where to get tested it where to get the vaccine, even educational information, such as flyers, they may need it now, but where I am now, it's taken me other places too, because it's helped me to gain my community outreach workers stamp official stamp or whatever, say. So that's very helpful.

Dana Rampolla:

That's great. That's great Gemini, when you first started down this path, that must have been pretty upsetting to have been in a position for 11 years, and then to have not had it anymore. So once you started out with the Center for Urban Families, and they migrated over to work with Lisa, you know, did you feel apprehensive? Were you nervous?

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

All of that. Every single thing you just said. Yes, because it was like, you know, your, your comfort setting, like you said, I was there for 11 years, and it felt like it was stripped from me. But I just looked at it like that was just God moving me to a different position. You know, when people needed my services, you can't just stay stationary. I mean, you can't if you want to, but that was my call. And so I didn't, you know, met Miss Lisa. Because she has several jobs for me, trust me, several. But me being me, I can't just take a job just because of the money, I have to want to be able to do it for the company, because that's who I am. If you pay him, you know, he asked me to do something I'm going to do and I'm gonna try to execute and go above and beyond. So I always told Miss Lisa, I want to stay in the health field. And she helped me.

Jena Frick:

That's great. It's really awesome to hear that you said Lisa never gave up on you all of her colleagues involved never gave up on you. How does it feel to have such a really strong support system? Like all throughout this process?

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

He just thought Oh no, she's like family so she stuck with me. Because like even some of my personal things I went through you know, I didn't know the center. So don't speak about it, you won't know about it. Sometimes you gotta open up to maybe just one person you know and they can let you in which they were very, very bad even down so my God so I have custody of them and they open their arms with my baby

Lisa Rawlings:

Which after school program is he a part of?

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

So thank goodness for the Community Engagement Center because when he gets out of school, he comes straight over. He's in the Youth Makers Program and the PAL program. So I'm so happy for that. And I'm going to say-- and I have to say this too. My boy haven't had a 100 ever on a report card, He's had two 100's, one is science, and one is social studies and other ones was 98. But those 100 just made me cry and tear up. It just shows that the center's doing a lot for the youth, especially, you know, he's a good boy. And he loves it here. He really does.

Jena Frick:

That's fantastic. I love that.

Lisa Rawlings:

Gemini is a good example of like, a person whose family is using the Center for love.

Jena Frick:

Yeah, I mean, that's what it's, that's what it's here for. It's for everyone, you know, from from, you know, kids in the area all the way up to adults, for jobs and everything.

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Definitely, yes, excuse me for cutting you off. But that's the truth. Because I also tell people, you know, in a neighborhood I grew up at about the center, because that I tell them, if you don't use it, we may lose it. So it's best, you know, you know, they didn't even know about the center. So it's word of mouth, you know, you have to spread the word.

Jena Frick:

Going back to when you first came to the center for workforce support. Um, you had said that Lisa, like had all these jobs for you, it sounded like a lot of it came pretty easy. Were there any challenges that you came across when you were applying and getting started with the workforce program?

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Any application nowadays, is a job. You know, it's that's just the process. But that's what the Community Engagement Center is here for Workforce Wednesdays, they helped me with that. So don't feel stressed out because I was at Saks, he said, and then when I got here, it was like, what? Just that. So it's very helpful, trust me, you got people out there that may want you to pay them to do your resume. And that can mean seeing patients and you know, they help with all of that. And that's free. So

Jena Frick:

Mm hmm. Yeah, you make a good point, applying for jobs is like a whole other job in itself. Really.

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Yes, that's the only thing I'm gonna say that was just the only dilemma. But that process is easy. As long as you come, just come to the center.

Jena Frick:

So you're the you're an outreach, a community outreach worker at the Community Engagement Center. Now, can you tell us a little bit about what you do in that role? And then what your career aspirations are going forward?

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Sure, of course. Well, I never knew I was a people person. And so people told me that I lead from the heart. But here, we try to educate people about Covid vaccines and where to get the Covid vaccines, the boosters. We don't try to force it on people, but we'd love to know it's available. And several people have come to us because reminded them of it, you know, they might didn't want it them. But going forward, they remember, Oh, this person said come get balls. So a lot of that going on myself and Miss Harmon as well. We also let them know about the different services going on and Community Engagement Center even down to the lunches, and they have dinners to every first Wednesday of the month, they offer lunch from 12 to 130 or 1230- 130, excuse me of a month but the time is within that time frame. And then every third Wednesday of the month they offer community dinners. I even stand in line myself.

Jena Frick:

So like we pretty much have you working right now. So you're the person giving out all the information and pulling people to come into the Community Engagement Center. You're literally doing your job right now love it.

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Because it's what I like to do even tell is that I might have coworkers call me on my phone and say, Do you know where to get this food from or where to get a good chicken box lunch, cheese steak or salad, you know, things like that. I like to be those resources because I eat with my eyes, you know? So

Lisa Rawlings:

Tell them about your aspirations.

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Still staying in the health field, you know, spreading the word of what I learned here at the Community Engagement Center. Plus University of Maryland has offered a lot I didn't know was -- you might feel like it's hard to grow. No, it's not. You just got to do your work. If they offer you things that you know, to help you get to the next step. They helped me become a community outreach worker for the state. So that's that's a big accomplishment for me. And then I got it within a short period of time. Just just just to do footwork. That's all you know. Sometimes people see things in you that you don't see yourself. So give yourself a try. No, never hurts to try.

Dana Rampolla:

Gemini I just want to say and I sure you've heard this before you I never met you until 10 minutes ago and you truly are a gem. For complete transparency to our listeners, we have not set any of these responses up with Gemini, she is just answering from her heart. She has put more plugs in for the program at the CEC. And that was not intended to be part of our conversation. But I think you can tell from how she's speaking that, you know, it's a it's a family centered place, and there's so many great things there. So Gemini, thank you for sharing with us.

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thank you,

Charles Schelle:

Gemini and Lisa, thank you so much for coming on to the UMB Pulse and sharing all the differences that you're making in people's lives and all the job readiness and workforce opportunities here in West Baltimore.

Lisa Rawlings:

Oh, glad. Glad to be here. Thank you for

Gemini Hanson Barnes:

Thank you so much.

Jena Frick:

And if you're interested in attending a workforce Wednesday walk in hours are from two to 5pm every Wednesday at the UMB Community Engagement Center and that's located at 16 South Poppleton street. You can also visit the UMB Workforce Wednesday Facebook page where you can watch some fantastic interviews with career training centers and posts where you can learn about a free Administrative Assistance Center Training Program that's coming in March. So thank you so much Lisa and Gemini we loved having you on the show.

Charles Schelle:

And thanks for listening to the UMB Pulse

Jena Frick:

The UMB Pulse with Charles Schelle, Dana Rampolla and Jena Frick is a UMB Office of Communications and Public Affairs production. Edited by Charles Schelle, sound engineering by Jena Frick marketing by Dana Rampolla Music by No Vibe. Recorded in the University of Maryland Baltimore Community Engagement Center

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Gemini Hanson Barnes