Equality Equation's vision for East Baltimore starts with job training

05/09/2023| Daniel Leaderman

Equality Equation's vision for East Baltimore starts with job training

05/09/2023 | Daniel Leaderman

On the site of an aging, neglected industrial park in East Baltimore, Elizabeth and Pless Jones, Jr. have a vision for Baltimore’s future – starting with a facility dedicated to providing workforce and vocational training.

The couple are the founders of the Equality Equation , a community development organization which is focused on providing new opportunities for education, healthy living, and employment for Baltimore residents.

“We are vested in this community,” said Elizabeth Jones. “We feel that we should be proactive in effectuating wellness for citizens that have been historically underserved.”

The Joneses met (and dated) as students at Virginia State University, but went their separate ways before reconnecting twenty years ago.

Students learning in a class

The pair have ambitious plans for East Baltimore, of which the workforce training center and their accredited training programs, located at the former McGarvey Industrial Park on Belair Road, are only the first step. The Equality Equation would also like to provide centralized vocational education programs for public secondary schools in Baltimore City.

The Joneses’ long-term vision includes development of new single-family homes, health & wellness centers, sports and recreation centers, and green space in hundreds of vacant lots in the area, all intended to retain and serve the neighborhood’s “legacy citizens.”

Construction began at the former McGarvey Park in 2020, and the Joneses hope construction will be completed by late 2024. They expect the facility can eventually train thousands of citizens each year, Elizabeth Jones said.

students being trained on heavy machinery

Meanwhile, Equality Equation graduated several classes from a training program offered in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development in Baltimore City: 28 students have completed the heavy equipment operator class since August 2022.

“Our overarching goal is to mitigate the wealth disparity and change the trajectory of citizens in marginalized communities,” Pless Jones said. “Equality Equation is intentional about developing economic models…that address that disparity.”

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