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State to Begin Taking Applications for EARN Maryland Implementation Grants

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

BALTIMORE, MD (January 30, 2014) – EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland, the state-funded competitive workforce and economic development grant initiative, will begin soliciting for Implementation Grant proposals on Friday, January 31. Friday’s solicitation marks the final stage of EARN Maryland’s two-part grant process in 2014. Applications will be due on March 31 and Implementation Grant awards made by the end of June.

EARN Maryland, managed by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), is the State’s first skills training and economic development initiative that is business-led, flexible and collaborative. EARN MD 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.

“In Maryland, we’ve had great success at building the best, most skilled workforce in the country,” said Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. “Together, we're getting better results for Maryland’s middle class families by creating jobs, improving access to education and training, and expanding opportunity. Through EARN Maryland, we're moving our State forward and helping more Marylanders get the skills and credentials they need to qualify for the most in-demand jobs, while helping companies compete in a 21st Century, global Economy.”

“EARN Maryland encourages regional workforce training collaborations among businesses, non-profits, higher education, local workforce investment boards, local governments, and various types of workforce training providers,” said Leonard Howie, DLLR Secretary. “EARN Maryland is a proven strategy for providing employers with a skilled workforce.”

In the initial Planning Grant phase the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (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. 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.

On Friday, January 31, DLLR will host a statewide Implementation Grant Pre-Proposal Webinar Conference from 1 PM to 3 PM. Those interested may find out more at the EARN Maryland website and register online for the webinar.

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow the Maryland Department of Labor on Twitter (@MD_Labor), Facebook and visit our website.