Governor Martin O'Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today highlighted initiatives to create jobs for more Marylanders, testifying on the Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) initiative and the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013 -- two components of the Administration's jobs agenda for the 2013 legislative session.
"The greatest assets we have are the talents and skills of our people. Maryland has built up one of the most highly-skilled workforces in the nation, but together we can do more to ensure that every Marylander has the opportunity to learn and earn," said Governor O'Malley. "That's why this session, we are fighting to pass the EARN bill to allow us to partner with businesses to equip more workers with the skills they need to fill the jobs in highest demand, and the Veterans Full Employment Act so we can remove barriers to employment for our veterans and their spouses."
A joint effort with Senate President Miller and House Speaker Busch, Governor O'Malley's proposed FY 2014 budget includes a $2.5 million investment to create a competitive grant process to bridge the gap between specific employer workforce needs and the skills of Maryland's workers. The grant will be managed by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to encourage regional workforce training collaborations among businesses, non-profits, institutions of higher education, community college, local workforce investment boards, local governments, and various types of workforce training providers. These employer-driven partnerships will serve to identify common workforce needs for high-demand occupations within a target industry such as construction, traditional and advanced manufacturing, cyber security, and health care; and develop and implement education or training strategies to address those shortages.
The Veterans Full Employment Act removes certain barriers to employment that service members often face when making the transition from military service to the civilian workforce. The bill also expedites the occupational and professional licensing process for military spouses when a military family moves to Maryland.
"As a Veteran, I believe we have a sacred obligation to honor the service and sacrifice made by our veterans, active-duty military, and their families. This legislation is an important step forward in meeting that goal," said Lt. Governor Brown, a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and the nation's highest ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq. "With this bill, we have a chance to ensure that veterans have every opportunity to enjoy the benefits they've earned, and make it easier for military spouses to find work when their families are transferred to Maryland."
Earlier today, the Governor also accepted the recommendations from the Federal Facilities Advisory Board -- a strategic plan that outlines 25 actions the State can take to better leverage the potential of government labs, military installations and other federal facilities to drive innovation and create jobs in Maryland. The board's strategic plan covers six broad priorities: aligning state resources with federal priorities; promoting cyber security business and innovation growth; positioning federal contractors for sustainability and growth; expediting infrastructure improvements that impact federal facilities; developing a pipeline of highly-qualified workers to fill the federal workforce; and deploying technology transfer and commercialization resources to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship.
"I want to thank the Board members for their hard work to help us develop a sustainable plan to leverage crucial federal assets and take full advantage of their job-creating potential," the Governor said.
To view the O'Malley-Brown Administration's entire legislative agenda for this session, click here:
To view the Administration's proposed FY 2014 budget that makes the better choices to support 43,000 jobs in the capital budget, and protects priorities in education, job creation, innovation and infrastructure, click here: