The EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland workforce training program launched last year is continuing its rollout with the state awarding 28 implementation grants.
The EARN Maryland program provides state funding for targeted workforce training programs that are tailored to meet industry needs in specific sectors.
The grant awardees include Maryland organizations and business partnerships that have submitted plans for workforce training programs designed to meet the needs of employers in nine sectors including manufacturing, logistics and transportation, retail/hospitality, healthcare, health information technology, the green industry, cybersecurity/IT, construction, and biotechnology.
The program was launched in 2013, and 29 planning grants were awarded in Jan 2014 by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). Recipients used the grant funding to establish partnerships involving key players in their specific industries.
Each partnership then spent the early part of the year on a collaborative process to determine what type of training was most needed by workers in their industry. They developed and submitted the ‚ÄúStrategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans‚Äù which were then reviewed by the State to decide the amount of implementation funding that should be awarded to each partnership.
For instance, two sets of planning and implementation grants have been awarded in the biotech category. One of them is the Baltimore Biotechnology Strategic Industry Partnership, led by the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, Inc., and Baltimore BioWorks, Inc. The other is the BIOTrain partnership, led by Montgomery College.
Funding for the first phase of 29 planning grants averaged $22,000, and the average grant award for the 28 implementation grants was $179,302. The State had allocated a total of $4.5 million for the two-phase workforce training program plan development and implementation process.
Governor Martin O‚ÄôMalley said that awarding State-funded implementation grants to selected strategic partnerships moves the State forward and helps Marylanders get the skills needed to qualify for Maryland’s most in-demand jobs.
One of the grant recipients was the Allegany College of Maryland, which has received EARN Maryland planning and implementation grants as the lead organization in the Western Maryland IT Center for Excellence partnership that aims to provide IT training to rural workers.
Cynthia Bambara, president of Allegany College of Maryland, said that they look forward to collaborating with local businesses and economic and workforce leaders through¬†the partnership, and added that the funding will put the area‚Äôs workforce to work and spur economic development in the region.