Firms plan jobs in empowerment zone Companies expect to use grants to hire, train residents

September 13, 1996|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Stop Shop and Save Food Markets, a chain of Baltimore grocery stores, and an affiliated security company announced yesterday that they will train and hire dozens of residents in some of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods.

Stop Shop and Save, which operates 16 supermarkets throughout the city, has agreed to provide training and jobs as cashiers and other positions to residents of the federally designated empowerment zone, which spans dilapidated areas of East, West and South Baltimore. Central Security Investigations Agency said it will train and hire 100 welfare recipients, with many but not all of those coming from the empowerment zone.

The grocery chain has received a $25,580 grant from the corporation overseeing the empowerment zone program to pay half the cost of the $6 an hour salaries of the 20 zone residents during a 90-day training period as well as the cost of training manuals.

The security firm has applied for an initial $10,450 grant to train five dispatchers and plans to train and hire several security officers.

The plans were announced during Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's weekly news conference, which was moved from City Hall to the companies' headquarters next to the B & O Railroad Museum in West Baltimore to highlight the city's empowerment zone efforts.

In addition to $100 million in federal grants, the empowerment zone offers tax breaks to businesses that hire zone residents.

"These represent two companies that have moved into the empowerment zone, bringing with them jobs as well as job training opportunities," the mayor said.

Henry T. Baines Sr., president of Baines Management Corp., which owns the grocery and security companies and two smaller companies, said it was important that the companies "recoup some of its training fees," which he called "very expensive."

Aided by the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency, Baines moved his headquarters, and about 60 administrators, from West North Avenue to the empowerment zone in Mount Clare Junction in May.

The expanding company had outgrown its old offices and wanted to take advantage of empowerment zone benefits, Baines said.

Baines Management's headquarters is next to Elder Health, a geriatric health center, which opened in May and added 40 jobs.

Several hundred jobs have been created since Baltimore was named one of six cities to receive the federal empowerment zone designation in December 1994, officials said.

The company will begin training the first 12 residents for the supermarket jobs next week, and plans to offer them jobs with a starting salary of $6.75 per hour when the program is complete.

Florine J. Robinson, who is coordinating the training, said the company wanted to begin the program in August but said "there were difficulties in recruiting people" with basic skills in math and reading.

But Baines said he was confident enough qualified residents could be found to fill the jobs.

"There are good people out there who can be trained," he said.

Pub Date: 9/13/96

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