Maryland Labor Secretary Honored by Ana Mendez University


Sanchez receives Excellence in Education Award; Ana Mendez University signs agreement with University System, Morgan State University to open in Silver Spring

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 14, 2011) – Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez was honored yesterday evening by the Ana G. Mendez University System (AGMUS) with its Excellence in Education Award. Sanchez attended the award ceremony in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Sonia Gutierrez, the CEO and Founder of Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., was also honored.

During the awards ceremony, AGMUS President Dr. Jose F. Mendez, Universidad Metropolitana Chancellor Dr. Federico M. Matheu and Morgan State University Provost and Vice President Dr. Joseph A. Whittaker, representing Morgan State University and the University System of Maryland, signed an agreement to bring an Ana G. Mendez University center to Maryland. The new, dual-language higher education center is scheduled to open next month in Silver Spring.

“I am honored to accept this award from the Ana G. Mendez University System. Dr. Mendez was an inspiration to many and a champion for lifelong learning. Her belief in the importance of education is as important today as it was during her life,” Sanchez said. “In Maryland, we share her belief that education should be accessible to all children, no matter who their parents are or where their parents came from. Because of the investments Governor Martin O’Malley has made in education, Maryland is home to the nation’s best-educated and most highly-skilled workforce.”

“The Ana G. Méndez Excellence in Education Award recognizes individuals for their valuable contributions towards promoting excellence in education among the U.S. Latino community,” said Dr. Mendez. “Secretary Alexander Sanchez has helped to promote alliances that enhance the educational bilingual opportunities and skills of the local workforce population. His support has made a difference in making the DC Metro area’s first dual-language program a reality.”

Sanchez gave brief remarks after being honored. In his remarks, he stated that more than 40 percent of foreign-born Marylanders have a college degree. More than a quarter of the state’s scientists, a fifth of the state’s health care workers and a fifth of the state’s computer specialists are foreign-born. Despite these promising trends, one out of four skilled immigrants is working in an unskilled job and 40 percent of immigrant adults are limited English proficient, resulting in lower wages and unutilized skills.

The Maryland Department of Labor (DLLR) administers several programs to help increase English proficiency and tap into the skills of Maryland’s immigrant community. DLLR offers free ESL classes at many of the state’s One Stop Employment Centers. The Welcome Back Initiative provides orientation, educational resources, access to language training and support that helps foreign-trained health professionals more easily navigate the licensing process to allow them to restart careers in the U.S. health industry.

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.