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Kamenetz: New name would show department ready to work

A newly revised Baltimore County Department of Economic Development could take shape by the end of the year if County Executive Kevin Kamenetz gets his way.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz says: ‘Although this may appear to be a minor name change, it actually reflects a significant shift in focus for Baltimore County.’

The Department of Economic Development would be renamed the Department of Economic and Workforce Development under a proposal from Kamenetz now on its way to the County Council.

Also, Kamenetz has nominated Will Anderson, chief technology officer for the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, to lead the newly merged department. Former county economic development chief Dan Gundersen resigned last month.

“Although this may appear to be a minor name change, it actually reflects a significant shift in focus for Baltimore County,” Kamenetz said Monday in a statement.

“As I meet with employers, they consistently tell me that jobs are available, but they need employees with a specific set of skills to fill those jobs. The county must serve the employment needs of its existing employers, helping them grow. I am confident that we can do that. Providing a steady stream of well-trained workers will be job one in Baltimore County’s economic development plan.”

If he gains approval from the council, Anderson would begin his post on Dec. 30. He has been at the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education since 2002 and has focused on forging partnerships between the nonprofit and business leaders as well as leading “executive-level advisory groups in industry, education and the public sector,” a county press release said. Anderson has experience in “economic and workforce development, research universities, K-12 and nonprofit organizations,” according to the release.

“It is very clear to me that we must focus on retaining and servicing existing businesses in the county as well as making an expanded commitment to workforce development,” Kamenetz said. “I think that Will’s skill set is perfectly suited for that task.”

In 2011, the County Council voted to merge the county’s Office of Workforce Development into the Department of Economic Development.