BALTIMORE — Employment Advancement Right Now Maryland, the state-funded competitive workforce and economic development grant initiative, began soliciting for implementation grant proposals Friday, Jan. 31.

Friday’s solicitation marks the final stage of EARN Maryland’s two-part grant process in 2014. Applications will be due March 31 and implementation grant awards made by the end of June.

EARN Maryland, managed by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, is the state’s first skills training and economic development initiative that is business led, flexible and collaborative. The grant program 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, according to a DLLR news release.

In the initial planning grant phase, DLLR awarded up to $25,000 to selected partnerships to work together and develop the most effective strategies to improve Maryland’s workforce and economy.

With the release of the solicitation for implementation grant proposals, strategic industry partnerships — including those who did not receive planning grants — may apply for funding to fully implement their industry-led workforce strategies and begin the training process.

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, according to the news release. Get more information on EARN Maryland, www.dllr.state.md.us/earn.

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