UNLOCKING TALENT

The goal of Maryland 2030 is to provide a pathway for people who feel stuck or left behind by the system move toward a good-paying career for those who want one. We need to focus on the areas of growth that also provide meaningful work with opportunity for career advancement.

In Maryland, industries with large numbers of openings and projected job growth include technology, health care, skilled trades, and manufacturing. Together, these four areas are expected to create 3.6 million new jobs around the country.

Here in Maryland, there already are tens of thousands of openings in these four industries today. Fort Meade alone is expected to add thousands of cyber-related jobs in the coming years. This increase in demand originates from three sources: projected job growth, a severe need for more trained workers to fill openings that already exist, and additional openings that are projected in the coming years as more individuals leave these industries for other work or to retire. The state needs to act fast to meet the demand. And by positioning Maryland as a global leader in these industries, we can enable even more robust job creation in the coming decade.

To unlock the talent and enable the opportunity that will make this possible, within a year of my election, Maryland 2030 will provide economic support, including a $15-per-hour wage, health insurance, and the opportunity to develop skills while starting a career that pays at least double that amount. We will make this available to some 20,000 people, and the vast majority of these jobs will not require a college degree.

And while most of those careers ultimately will be in the private sector, the public sector will provide the economic support to allow individuals the stability and opportunity they need to develop the skills to thrive.

Employment during skills development

One of the largest equity challenges and impediments to an individual developing the skills needed to advance their career is the basic ability to continue putting food on the table and keeping a roof over one’s head. To address these obstacles to learning, each participant in Maryland 2030 will be employed at $15 per hour and provided with health insurance, while receiving fully-paid skills development and apprenticeships.

Career Pathways: Technology, Health Care, Skilled Trades, Manufacturing

While enrolled in Maryland 2030, each individual will receive skills development and apprenticeships at no cost, as well as an upfront forgivable loan to cover the expenses. Skills development will focus on the four main areas with the greatest need for skilled workers—technology, health care, skilled trades, and manufacturing—and for a select number of cases, in education and creative careers.

Software Engineering and Technology

While few think of Maryland as a tech hub, the reality is Maryland already has a technology-based employer that has hired more Americans to code than Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon combined—and it has been here since 1957!6 Instead of treating Fort Meade like a military base, the state of Maryland should treat it as a tech hub that attracts highly skilled talent from all over the country. Maryland also has ranked among the top five states nationally in indexes measuring the technology and innovation sectors; and ranked 7th for concentration of tech jobs statewide. By focusing on tech clusters around Maryland, and building opportunity outside the public sector, we can fill countless vacancies that already exist and create tens of thousands of additional jobs in Maryland over the next five years.

Nursing and Health Care

As our population ages, the demand for nursing is expected to grow 9% in the next decade, well above the national average. In the private sector alone, roughly 17% of jobs in Maryland are in the health care industry;15 and state projections show employment growing by tens of thousands of jobs in the coming years.16 According to Maryland Workforce Exchange, there are currently more than 10,000 job openings for registered nurses alone—but just a couple hundred potential candidates, showing a severe shortage in the occupation. Health care provides jobs up and down the skills ladder, allowing for quick hiring even as training is ongoing. The state also already has organizations, such as the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, whose mission is to fill health care worker shortages that have persisted for years. From the National Institutes of Health to Johns Hopkins, MedStar to the University of Maryland, LifeBridge to GBMC, Maryland is well-positioned to fill this growing need in the state.

Skilled Trades

From electricians and plumbers to carpenters and HVAC technicians, demand for workers in the skilled trades is continuing to increase, even as the country faces a national shortage of qualified workers. We can work with our labor-union partners to build on successful apprenticeship programs that already exist25 in order to drastically expand the number of people trained in these fields each year in Maryland.

Manufacturing

Here in Maryland, we have lost almost 100,000 manufacturing jobs over the last 30 years—a nearly 50% decline. But technology and productivity gains are starting to bring these jobs back to the United States; and we can build on Maryland’s proud manufacturing history, including large manufacturers like Volvo in Western Maryland; and mid-sized employers such as STX in Central Maryland, Paramount Die in Northern Maryland, and Jamison Door and Precision Medicine Group in Western Maryland. These new manufacturing jobs—including health-care manufacturing and industrial manufacturing—typically require more training and lean heavily on the machines we use in modern production processes, but they also offer better pay.