This article also appeared in the August 23rd, 2019 edition of the Baltimore Business Journal.
Imagine a city with a diverse talent pipeline that started at the local high school level, flowed to regional higher education institutions and ended up in local companies – all born, raised and educated in the same city – and were deeply invested in the city’s future. That would be a tremendous asset. It’s also one that exists in Baltimore.
If we want to continue to see this incredibly diverse group of young professionals call Baltimore their home, businesses and executive leadership need to set the cadence for retaining and building that pipeline even more.
Our area high schools, colleges and universities are bursting at the seams with talent. As business leaders, we can engage with homegrown talent to ensure our students and our community can clearly see a path, and a life, moving forward together. This is especially critical at the high school level, where we can clearly illustrate what opportunities are right around the bend in their hometown. There are multiple pathways for success that can lead to meaningful contributions to our community. Trade schools and administrative internships are just two examples for high school students who are looking for a career path forward. A path to achieving success, whether that means a corner office, or working in a specialized trade, often starts with humble beginnings, but the sooner one can get started on that path, the better.
We’re all strapped for time. But making a significant impact on a student, one that can then have a ripple effect in the community, is worth every second. Business leaders can offer their expertise as advisors, mentors, or guest lecturers, sharing the life lessons that have been accumulated over decades of real-world experience. Many of my peers, regardless of their background or upbringing, have called the Baltimore region their home since childhood. Who better to show today’s students the amazing opportunities that exist in the Baltimore business community as they think about their tomorrow.
I have had the privilege of sitting on accounting department advisory boards for several Maryland higher education institutions, and have found this experience to be extremely rewarding. Not only do I have a hand in shaping curriculum topics, but I’m also able to provide valuable advice and mentor students on what it’s like to enter the workforce, and encouraging them to build a career in their own backyard. With an ever-tightening labor market, having a larger pool of outstanding candidates isn’t just good for the city, but good for business.
When Ellin & Tucker’s team is visiting local colleges and universities, we underscore the importance of hiring people who understand the area and community in which our clients live, work and play. By having employees who share common backgrounds and experiences with our clients, we strengthen our business relationships and create positive experiences for our clients, while creating a professional connection for our team. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Of course, once you’ve got the talent, you need to retain it. At Ellin & Tucker, the center point of our culture is our people. We value our employees and invest the time in their development by counseling professionals throughout their careers. Our young professionals are thriving throughout the region – especially in Baltimore – where they are building their own professional networks, engaging with their local communities, and strengthening the unique neighborhoods that bring more charm to Charm City.
Community is an anchor. Whether that community is a high school, a university, or within a professional setting, a thriving community keeps its members engaged and dedicated to its well-being. Business leaders have a unique opportunity to be the catalyst for change in our city by influencing future leaders. We need to roll up our sleeves and put in the work to keep the talent pipeline flowing in our region. Together, we can create a flourishing community of leaders and build the Baltimore that we all envision.