Lt. Governor Brown Kicks Off Apprenticeship Maryland Action Summit at Towson University


Maryland Department of Labor promotes partnerships to support apprenticeship opportunities and other workforce programs

TOWSON, MD (June 1, 2011) — Earlier today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown kicked off the first Apprenticeship Maryland Action Summit at Towson University. Over 200 employers, jobseekers and Marylanders interested in apprenticeship opportunities attended the forum, which was organized by the Maryland Department of Labor. Nearly 3,200 Maryland employers participate in 314 apprenticeship programs across the state, employing more than 8,500 apprentices. The building trades make up more than 80 percent of the apprenticeships in Maryland.

“Apprenticeships are win-win opportunities for jobseekers and employers,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Governor O’Malley and I are committed to creating high-quality jobs that will drive Maryland’s innovation economy, and connecting hard-working Marylanders with employers through apprenticeships is an important part of our efforts.”

“Apprenticeships open the doors for more Marylanders to learn while they earn and provide employers with talented, ambitious workers,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. “While the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to dismantle proven workforce training programs, Maryland’s leaders are bringing businesses, labor leaders and workers together to promote important initiatives that provide more people with the skills necessary to compete.”

Apprenticeships provide employers with unique opportunities to develop the skills of their workforce and increase employee retention, while offering workers the chance to learn while they earn. The Apprenticeship Maryland initiative aims to build greater awareness of apprenticeship opportunities among jobseekers and employers and foster the necessary partnerships to expand skills training through apprenticeship programs.

The forum included five breakout sessions, including discussions on how to align P-12 education with apprenticeship programs, expand higher education and apprenticeship partnerships, develop apprenticeships for non-traditional occupations, align the workforce system with apprenticeship programs, and meet the needs of traditional apprenticeship programs. Following the breakout sessions, Secretary Sanchez moderated a report out session and urged participants — especially employers — to identify creative solutions that promote and expand apprenticeship opportunities.

The recent federal budget compromise will impact many existing workforce development initiatives supported by the Maryland Department of Labor, including apprenticeship and training, and will require DLLR’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning to do more with less. The continuing resolution reduces state discretionary funding for workforce development by nearly 70 percent. Because of Governor Martin O’Malley’s advocacy and leadership from Maryland’s congressional delegation, the state did protect federal funding to keep all 35 of the state’s One Stop Employment Centers open.

Despite draconian budget actions championed by the majority leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives that attacked workforce training at a time when more Americans need it than ever before, Maryland has a proven track record of protecting progress with a more focused and more efficient government. Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown administration has cut $6.8 billion from state government and eliminated 5,300 positions. During that time, Maryland has built the nation’s top public school system (three years running), reduced violent crime to the lowest levels since the 1970s and developed a national model for government efficiency.

Apprenticeship Maryland supports the Skills2Compete Maryland initiative – a collaborative effort to expand skills training and continuing education by 20 percent by 2012 which is led by Lt. Governor Brown and Secretary Sanchez and administered by the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board, a division of DLLR.

The Maryland Department of Labor will continue to partner with public and private sector organizations, as well as the labor community, to promote apprenticeship opportunities. In fact, the Apprenticeship Maryland initiative is supported in part through an interagency partnership with the Towson University Division of Economic and Community Outreach.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation protects and empowers Marylanders by safeguarding workers, protecting consumers, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland’s dynamic economy. Follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR) and Facebook.