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Governor Moore Delivers Remarks at Maryland Workforce Association Annual Conference and Tours Western School of Technology in Support of Vocational Programs and Workforce Development

ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 13, 2023) – Governor Wes Moore today addressed hundreds of workforce professionals at the Maryland Workforce Association’s “Raising the Bar” conference. Governor Moore was joined by Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu, Maryland Workforce Association President Kirk Murray, and Maryland Workforce Association Executive Director Brandon Butler for the annual event, which presents an opportunity for workforce and educational professionals to connect and discuss innovative workforce development solutions for job seekers, youth, and businesses. 

“One of the best ways to build pathways to prosperity is by investing in registered apprenticeship programs. I know this will help us create the kind of highly-skilled workforce we all envision,” said Gov. Moore. “If we want to build a strong economy, we need a strong middle class, which means we need to focus on creating jobs and making sure that people have the tools and resources they need to fill those jobs.”

The Maryland Workforce Association comprises 13 local workforce directors who collaborate with the Maryland Department of Labor and state workforce partners to share best practices, advocate for the public workforce system, and build relationships with elected officials and businesses throughout the state. Local workforce development boards connect Marylanders to job opportunities through services provided at Maryland’s 32 American Job Centers and are regional leaders in the data-driven, business-led talent development that is essential to Maryland’s economic competitiveness and in ensuring the state’s economic growth.

Governor Moore also visited Baltimore County Public School’s Western School of Technology to learn about the school’s more than 40 career training and technical education programs. During a roundtable with Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr., Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, and Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu, Governor Moore had the opportunity to hear from students about their experiences in the career and technical education and apprenticeship programs, their future career goals, and how they will be ready to contribute to their families, their communities and their state upon graduating.

A key component of the Moore-Miller administration’s workforce development and economic growth strategy is increasing diversity in registered apprenticeships and expanding apprenticeship into new fields. 

During his first legislative session, Governor Moore worked with the Maryland General Assembly to secure funding that will build out apprenticeship programs in outdoor recreation and law enforcement. State agencies are also partnering with local boards to meet the 2030-2031 Blueprint goal of 45% of high schoolers completing a registered apprenticeship or industry-recognized credential by graduation, in addition to deploying career counselors in every high school starting this year to connect more students with experiential learning and employment opportunities.  

Maryland is also home to the revolutionary EARN Maryland program, which targets specific industries in need of workers, and then develops a tailored plan to connect employers with specific employees. For every $1 put into the program, we generate $17 of economic growth. The Maryland Department of Labor received a $6.6 million apprenticeship expansion grant earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Labor, which will help connect thousands of Marylanders to good paying careers in vital and high-growth industries, including hospitality and tourism, and will establish a public sector innovation fund to bolster public service attraction and retention efforts.

Jamie Mangrum