Baltimore’s sewing training program helps refine local textile industry

04/03/2023| Samantha Foley

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Baltimore’s sewing training program helps refine local textile industry

04/03/2023 | Samantha Foley

Maryland is home to some of the nation’s most unique workforce training and development programs. The state’s innovative business community is constantly coming up with new ways to offer education, training, and employment services that connect businesses with a skilled workforce and vice versa.

Enter Baltimore Sewn Trades Training Program, designed to help Baltimore residents over the age of 18 acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in industrial sewing. Originally devised in 2017 and officially launched in Spring of 2022, the Baltimore Sewn Trades Training Program (or BSTTP) is a collaborative project of Open Works Baltimore , SewLab USA , the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center , and Made in Baltimore .

“A century ago, Baltimore was among the world’s top manufacturing cities as a leader in the production of sail cloth, canvas duck and outerwear products,” said Jeremiah Jones, founder of SewLab USA and BSTTP. “Our goal is to not only help give city residents a chance at a flourishing career, but to build back Baltimore manufacturing by promoting locally made products and sustaining local businesses.”

The curriculum for BSTTP includes lessons in industrial sewing and innovation, as well as manufacturing workflow and production. Over the course of the 12-week program, students gain knowledge in technical and soft skills related to the cut and sew industry, taught by the program’s lead training partner SewLab USA. Upon graduation, students are able to service and operate various machines such as a lockstitch, serger, cover stitch, and binder. Graduates also learn to handle technical, stretch, knit, and woven fabrics. After mastering these crucial skills, students go on to design and manufacture various textile products like uniforms for school, state, and city agencies, awnings, sail products, dog beds, and more.

BSTTP has had a total of 13 graduates complete the program, with two cohorts each year. Most graduates go on to become employed in the textile industry, with roughly 30 percent of graduates entering into the apparel realm. BSTTP has a coalition of 38 local employers at the ready that have repeatedly committed to hiring the program’s qualified graduates. Some students even use their new found training to go their own way, by becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own apparel and upholstery businesses. No matter the end goal, BSTTP is available to provide support upon entering the workforce, preparing its graduates with additional resume writing and interview skills.

While BSTTP’s mission benefits Baltimore and the state as a whole, these services also provide both individual employers and employees with the opportunity to improve their skill set and thrive in Maryland.

Read more about workforce training opportunities in Maryland 

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