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Developing a Md. pipeline of future tech workers

As a technology entrepreneur, you are constantly looking for talented employees who have a passion for innovation and a desire to be on the cutting edge. In addition, as a business leader who always has an eye on the future growth of your company, you might be wondering whether the next generation of workers will be prepared to do the work to succeed. The state of Maryland is tackling this issue by developing programs designed to develop the workforce of tomorrow.

Below is an explanation of three of the State’s initiatives in the pre-college, higher education, and workforce development arenas.

P-TECH program

Last year, Gov. Larry Hogan announced state grants that created Pathways in Technology Early College High School. Known as P-TECH, this breakthrough program creates a school-to-industry pipeline for students interested in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Two of the grants are funding schools in Baltimore, and additional grants will be used to start programs in Allegany County, the Upper Eastern Shore, and Prince George’s County. Currently, Dunbar High School is partnering with health care institutions. Students can earn health science degrees in health information technology, respiratory care, and surgical technology. Carver Vocational Technical High School is partnering with IBM to offer degrees focused on cybersecurity and information technology.

Community college programs

After graduating from high school, students need continuing support to successfully pursue careers in technology. Community Colleges throughout the state have taken different approaches to increasing access to education that produces graduates with the skills required to succeed in the modern workplace.

Prince George’s County has prioritized lowering the cost of community college education. In 2016, the state legislature passed a bill that created a task force to study a Promise Scholarship Program in the county. In response to the task force’s recommendations, the county government included $1.7 million in its budget to fund the scholarship program. The program covers tuition and mandatory fees not covered by state, and it also provides federal aid for graduates of Prince George’s County Public Schools to attend Prince George’s Community College.

The purpose of the program is to provide approximately 500 students with affordable access to continue their education after high school. The advanced skills learned at the community college will increase the graduates’ earning potential and make them more attractive to employers.

In the northern part of the state, Baltimore County Community College was awarded $1.3 million for STEM programs from The National Science Foundation to develop curriculums that address the need for an expanded and more diverse technical workforce. The Generating Excitement and Training for Engineering Technology program works with industry partners to teach students employable technical skills. The program aligns industry needs with educational curriculum. The Math and Computer Inspired Scholars program provides scholarships, community building and student support services to ensure the success of low income students that face significant challenges to finishing school.

Workforce development

Finally, the Governor’s Workforce Development Board takes a comprehensive view of workforce development and is responsible for developing policies with the goal of ensuring that Maryland consistently produces a modern workforce by increasing opportunities for workforce development, STEM education, and access to employers. In order to achieve its goals, the GWDB partners with a network of workforce development organizations, including Maryland Jobs Now. The Board’s holistic look at workforce development allows them to identify and work to fill the gaps in employer needs and employee skills that are holding Maryland back.

All levels of the Maryland government are working to make Maryland an attractive place for businesses to locate and grow. The State will continue to implement and update initiatives with the purpose of developing a workforce will be up-to-date and ready to work in the 21st century.

Camille Fesche is an attorney and lobbyist with the firm of Alexander & Cleaver. She regularly appears before the Maryland General Assembly.

 

 

 

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