SKILLS DEVELOPMENT INFRASTRUCTURE

To empower every Marylander and give them the skills needed for a career, the state is going to need significantly more capacity than currently exists to provide skills development and apprenticeships in our major job areas. While we already have the capacity as a state to train upwards of 20,000 workers in year one, we will need to expand that capacity dramatically to accommodate the program’s growth toward 150,000 participants annually in year five.

To help reach that goal, we will invest $50 million in new state funding toward expanding our skills-development infrastructure, beginning in the very first year. Maryland has numerous high-quality apprenticeship and skills-development pathways—in our universities and community colleges, in our public high schools, in the private sector, in union apprenticeship and training programs, and through nonprofit and for-profit standalone training providers.

But we need to add capacity, particularly when it comes to instruction.

Working with Community Colleges, Universities, and K-12 Schools

Maryland has world-class educational institutions, but by bringing in more instructors from industries already in Maryland; as well as talent from other states—we will be able to massively increase our capacity for instruction.

A study of career and technical education (CTE) programs in Maryland showed positive results, particularly on future wages for participants; and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future includes substantial investments in CTE education and career readiness. Innovative initiatives, such as the state-funded Maryland Technology Internship Program (MTIP), are already working to create a tech pipeline in the state by providing companies with funding for tech and internships.

By building on the programs and initiatives that already exist—and creating new partnerships with community colleges, universities, and CTE programs in the K-12 education system—we can build out our job-and-skills-training capacity substantially over the coming years. And by Maryland 2030’s sixth year, we will be able to direct nearly $2 billion to pay for the initiatives included in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, as new revenue and savings will far exceed program costs.

Working with Private Partners

While some larger employers already have existing capacity to train new employees, we need to work with them to drastically expand that capacity. No one is better positioned to understand what it is private employers need in their employees than private employers themselves. By working directly with these businesses, we can expand this capacity as much as it can grow. The state-run EARN program, for example, has leveraged industry partnerships to provide job training for nearly 7,500 employed individuals, and employment for more than 4,500 unemployed or underemployed individuals statewide between 2013 and 2020. We should build on that and other programs’ successes in a way that meets both the private and the public sectors’ needs going forward.

Working with Union Partners

Before the pandemic, the United States was averaging over 250,000 new apprenticeships per year. These programs provide good wages, and serious training that sets employees up for successful careers.

Many successful union apprenticeship programs already exist in the state, including the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (J.A.T.C.), which is co-sponsored by IBEW Local 24 and the Maryland Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association; 42 the Baltimore-Washington Laborers Joint Training program, which provides Construction Craft Laborers’ training; 43 the Mid-Atlantic Carpenters’ Training Centers, and many others. Local jurisdictions such as the city of Baltimore 44 and institutions of higher education such as the Community College of Baltimore County also have pursued training initiatives in partnership with local unions.

We must do a better job of coordinating between the state and unions to provide greater predictability around future job and skills needs. We should track upcoming public projects and priorities so we can scale up specific programs in a more targeted manner. Maryland should be using its purchasing power, through budgetary mechanisms such as Project Labor Agreements, to provide the predictability for future jobs and skill needs. Though it’s not enough to just create jobs, we need to ensure prevailing wage on every job to ensure economic mobility and pathways into the middle class.

Finally, Maryland has passed legislation increasing the penalties for prevailing wage violations but has not increased the number of inspectors to catch and prevent wage theft. We cannot have a prevailing wage only for it to be stolen by bad actors. As governor, I will ensure we use all the powers of government to not just guarantee pathways into the middle class but the security to remain there too.

Working with Standalone Training Partners

Maryland already has incredible training providers—both non-profits and private businesses — accomplishing phenomenal work despite being generally underfunded and having unrealized potential for growth. Myriad programs already exist, including an initiative called Employ Prince George’s that provides training, certification and job placement for future health-care workers in Prince George’s County. It is run through a non-profit/private partnership between MedCerts and Goodwill of Greater Washington. With sufficient public resources and investment, these providers will have the ability to expand significantly, and meet the need for more training and eventually more skilled workers.