Governor Martin O'Malley today, joined by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other officials, visited the Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (MAPCorp) to highlight the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) job training initiative -- a joint effort with members of the Maryland General Assembly to create industry-led regional job creation and workforce development partnerships that help to identify common workforce needs for high-demand occupations such as construction, traditional and advanced manufacturing, cyber security, and health care; and develop and implement education or training strategies to address those shortages.
"In Maryland, we've built up one of the most highly-skilled workforces in the nation," said Governor O'Malley. "Companies like MAPCorp are doing the cutting-edge advanced manufacturing that we need to grow and strengthen our economy.The EARN job training initiative will help Maryland workers develop the skills they need for today's high-demand industries. I'd like to thank Senator Kathy Klausmeier, Delegate John Olszewski, Delegate Keiffer Mitchell, and Delegate Luke Clippinger for all of their incredible work on this bill last session -- because of their hard work we are able to provide this investment to ensure that Maryland companies will compete and win in the New Economy."
MAPCorp is an advanced manufacturing company that can grow and expand in Maryland with a highly-skilled workforce. The company focuses on engineering, prototyping, and production for government and commercial sponsors.
"As one of Maryland's manufacturers, we want to thank the Governor and the Legislature for passing the EARN legislation. There are large changes coming in manufacturing with the growing use of automation in all parts of the product creation cycle," said MAPCorp CEO, Mark Rice. "Those states with a skilled workforce and progressive training programs will have a significant advantage as these automation technologies are implemented in the manufacturing sector. Today's manufacturing jobs are well paid with a constant need to refresh knowledge and skills."
"Creating opportunities for Baltimore City residents is essential to achieving our goal of growing by 10,000 families in the next ten years. EARN will help provide job training for local residents, putting them in advantageous positions to compete for good 21st century jobs that lead to stable careers," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "And since EARN is an industry-driven initiative, the trainings will certainly address the most important components for successful job matching."
The EARN initiative will be managed by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), and will 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. Supported by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, EARN is a proven strategy for providing Maryland's employers with skilled workers. Among similar initiatives around the country, this approach led to skills advancement, career building opportunities and increased wages. In a survey of employers participating in sector partnerships in Massachusetts, 41 percent reported reduced turnover; 19 percent reported less rework on the job; 23 percent reported fewer customer complaints; and 100 percent of the companies said that participation in a sector partnership was valuable.
Sector strategies are among the few interventions with a growing body of evidence showing improved employment opportunities and wages for workers as well as increased productivity and other positive outcomes for employers. An estimated 1,000 regional sector partnerships are operating across the country. More than 25 states are exploring or implementing sector strategies as a way to address industry needs through education and training programs.
Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis through an application process. DLLR will release the EARN grant solicitations in the fall of 2013. Grant awards will be announced within one year from that date. For more information on the grant process, please visit www.earn.maryland.gov.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration is making the better choices that are delivering better results to create jobs, expand opportunity, and strengthen Maryland's middle class. In the first quarter of this year, Maryland created jobs at the fastest rate in our region. Over the past 12 months, Maryland businesses have created 31,200 new jobs. Together, we've driven Maryland's unemployment rate down to 6.5 percent, its lowest level in more than four years -- 10 percent below the national average.