Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is globally and locally known as a leading university that is deeply rooted in Baltimore, Maryland. It opened in 1876. The Johns Hopkins Hospital has been ranked #5 nationally and #1 in Maryland by U.S. News & World Report as a part of the Best Hospitals 2022–23 Honor Roll. More than 4,500 hospitals were assessed, per Johns Hopkins Medicine’s website.

Johns Hopkins is expanding its legacy by strengthening Baltimore and providing opportunities to individuals and businesses through Level Up with HopkinsLocal. Johns Hopkins University and Health System have made a commitment to connect local talent to local opportunities.  Alexandra “Lexx” Mills, Director of Economic Inclusion & Impact for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System is responsible for leading the initiative.

“HopkinsLocal is our firm commitment to leverage the economic power of Johns Hopkins University and Health System to build, hire and buy locally, so that we can expand the participation of local and minority-owned businesses and construction opportunities, increase our hiring of [Baltimore] City residents, and then also enhance economic growth, and employment and investment in Baltimore through our purchasing activities,” Mills said.

She also explained that Johns Hopkins has a long-standing relationship with Baltimore City and commitment to economic inclusion, but following the death of Freddie Gray, the launch of HopkinsLocal was accelerated in 2015. Protests were sparked following Gray’s death from a severe spinal cord injury, after police arrested him.

In 2015, Johns Hopkins Hub reported that Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System wrote a message that was sent to faculty, students, and staff. It mentioned that “unrest in Baltimore shed light on the racial and economic disparities that challenge our city and our nation.” The correspondence also informed that Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System joined forces with community, political, and faith leaders to renew and reaffirm its commitment to support Baltimore City and fellow citizens. HopkinsLocal was cited with specific goals of the initiative that was created to promote additional local economic growth and employment opportunities in Baltimore City. Noted benchmarks included increasing hiring from within the city’s most distressed communities and  increasing goods and services the university and health system purchases from Baltimore-based businesses, including minority and women owned ones.

“The university (JHU)  and the health system have hired over 3,000 Baltimoreans and over 1,500 returning citizens. We have also spent more than $888 million in local businesses. And then finally, within our design and construction commitments, we’ve committed over $244 million to minority and women-owned and disadvantaged businesses, and over $281 million to local Baltimore City businesses for design and construction projects,” Mills said, explaining the progress of HopkinsLocal.

She added that the program is in the third phase.

A Level Up with HopkinsLocal event will be held on Friday, February 17, 2023, from 8:15 AM – 1:30 p.m. at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, located at 830 East Pratt Street in Baltimore, Maryland. Small business owners and job seekers are invited to attend. Job seekers who are Baltimore City residents can apply for career opportunities with Hopkins. The Level Up Career Fair will enable them to meet recruiters and hiring managers. Resume reviews will be available. Workshops for small business owners will provide information about Johns Hopkins’ design and construction business practices at the University and Health System, joint Vendor Review Committee, upcoming projects, programs and resources to help individuals to grow and scale their businesses.

Joseph Starchia, Diversity Recruiting Program Manager for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine said that the Hopkins HireLocal initiative  is dedicated to connecting local talent to local opportunities.

“What we would like to do is have individuals consider Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins healthcare system in a way that maybe they have not thought of or interacted with before,” he said.

Starchia explained that work is done to energize the community. Candidates are empowered through resume review, opportunities to meet with recruiters and ultimately becoming employed. Starchia wants candidates to feel like they can apply to Hopkins and feel ready. Employment possibilities extend  beyond openings for professors at JHU and doctors or nurses working in the healthcare system.

“There is so much more to both entities than that,” Starchia said.

Learn more about HopkinsLocal by visiting Please register for the Level Up with HopkinsLocal February 17 event via by the end of the day on February 15, 2023.

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