State Announces Initial Grant Funding for EARN Maryland Workforce Training Initiative


Business-led initiative is designed to ensure Maryland employers have the talent they need to compete

BALTIMORE, MD (December 30, 2013) - Today, Leonard Howie, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) announced the recipients of EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland Planning Grants. These grants mark the first funds awarded under the new state-funded competitive workforce and economic development grant initiative, which took effect in June, 2013.

EARN Maryland, managed by DLLR, is a first-of-its-kind state skills training and economic development initiative that is business-led, flexible and collaborative. EARN Maryland is designed to ensure that Maryland employers have the talent they need to compete and grow while providing targeted education and skills training to Maryland workers.

"There is no progress without a job. By awarding today's state-funded Planning Grants to these selected strategic partnerships, we're moving our State forward and helping more Marylanders get the skills they need to qualify for Maryland's most in-demand jobs. Working together, these EARN planning grants will provide industry-specific, state-of-the-art training for high-demand occupations," said Governor O'Malley.

"The 29 emerging Strategic Industry Partnerships awarded EARN Planning Grants today represent a diversity of industries, regions, partner organizations, and target populations as rich as the state of Maryland," said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Leonard Howie.

"Maryland MEP is proud to be a part of such an exciting opportunity for Maryland manufacturers to potentially change the workforce landscape in our state. We're excited that EARN Maryland is giving industry a voice and engaging manufacturers from around the state to shape the workforce programs of the future," said partnership grant recipient Brian Sweeney, Director of the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

To ensure the most robust, industry- and data-driven training plans, as well as the most efficient and effective use of State funds, the $4.5 million in State funding for the EARN Maryland program for FY 2014 will be distributed in a two-phase competitive process: Planning Grants and Implementation Grants.

  • Planning Grants, awarded today, provide modest seed funding to allow emerging partnerships to analyze their respective workforce needs in detail, expand their partnerships by adding additional members, and develop the best possible Workforce Training Plans to close skills gaps, grow our economy, and increase employment opportunities for Marylanders.
  • Implementation Grants, to be awarded in June of 2014, will fund worker training in the skills that employers demand, from the training provider best able to meet industry-identified needs. The Solicitation for Implementation Grants will be released in January 2014, with Proposals - finalized Workforce Training Plans - due by March 31, 2014.

The average Planning Grant award amount is $22,000.

EARN Maryland is based on a successful national model. Among similar initiatives around the country, this approach led to skills advancement, career building opportunities and increased wages. Sector strategies are among the few interventions with a growing body of evidence showing improved employment opportunities and wages for workers as well as increased productivity and other positive outcomes for employers. An estimated 1,000 regional sector partnerships are operating across the country. More than 25 states are exploring or implementing sector strategies as a way to address industry needs through education and training initiatives.

DLLR will host a statewide Pre-Proposal Conference open to any potential EARN Maryland Implementation Grant applicant. The Conference will take place at 1 PM on January 31, 2014, at the Anne Arundel Community College--Robert E. Kauffman Theater--101 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012.

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. For updates and information, follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR), Facebook and visit our website . Get more information on EARN Maryland.

EARN Maryland Planning Grant Awardees 2013-2014