BALTIMORE — Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget provides $7.5 million for the nationally recognized Employment Advancement Right Now Maryland grant program and a record $3 million for the state’s apprenticeship program.
“Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed budget is a testament to his administration’s commitment to creating greater opportunities for our state’s businesses and workforce,” Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said. “With this new record-breaking funding, we will be able to set more jobseekers on a path to a successful career, connect more businesses with a pipeline of talented workers and support Maryland’s strong economy better than ever before.”
The FY21 budget provides $7.5 million in funding for the EARN Maryland grant program. EARN supports innovative and industry-led workforce development initiatives by investing in strategic industry partnerships from key economic sectors in every region. There are 72 strategic industry partnerships, comprising more than 1,000 employers and industry partners. The flexible EARN program works directly with Maryland’s employers to ensure they have the talent needed to compete and grow in an ever-changing 21st century economy.
A recent study on the economic impact of EARN Maryland found that for every dollar that the state invests into the program, $18.43 in additional economic activity is created in Maryland. The national average for similar programs is $3.41. Since the program’s creation, more than 7,500 incumbent workers received training, earning a new certification, credential or skill. More than 4,500 unemployed or underemployed individuals have completed entry-level EARN training, with over 84% obtaining employment.
Under the Hogan administration, the EARN budget has doubled, with added investments in cyber and green jobs training. Passed by the General Assembly last year, the Clean Jobs Energy Act also provided $8 million for use beginning in FY21 by the EARN program and the Maryland Energy Administration for pre-apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship and registered apprenticeships in the renewable energy sector.
The FY21 budget also has provided a record $3 million in funding for Maryland’s registered and youth apprenticeship programs. During the past four years, the Hogan administration has more than doubled the amount of funding provided for the state’s apprenticeship program, which has led to a 45% increase in the number of new apprentices. There are 10,517 apprentices, 3,780 employers and 159 program sponsors participating in the state’s registered apprenticeship program.
Registered apprenticeships give employees the opportunity to have a full-time job, learn through a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction, and earn a salary. Open to any industry and all individuals 18 years or older, apprenticeships provide Marylanders with alternative pathways for exploring, establishing and growing in an occupation or profession. Since 2015, the number of female apprentices has increased by 80%, and the number of minority apprentices has increased by 40%.
The $3 million in funding includes $750,000 for a new Law Enforcement Cadet apprenticeship program to help create new pathways in law enforcement. It also includes $100,000 for a new Apprenticeship Career Training pilot program for formerly incarcerated individuals, which will encourage employers to hire formerly incarcerated individuals in the construction industry while developing a well-trained and productive workforce to meet the state’s economy.
The state’s nationally recognized youth apprenticeship program, Apprenticeship Maryland, also has experienced tremendous growth, with 15 county school systems, 151 employers and 66 students currently participating across the state. Apprenticeship Maryland gives high school juniors and seniors a head start on their future career by working a minimum of 450 hours with a certified employer while receiving high school credit.