MBDC Wins Grant from Maryland

The Montgomery Business Development Corporation (MBDC), which was created three years ago by the County Council, this week announced it will receive a grant award from the Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Maryland program for a first of its kind, business-led training program for healthcare workers.

MBDC’s proposed Healthcare Workers: Rx for Employability initiative will convene a health care sector partnership as part of EARN Maryland, a state-funded competitive workforce and economic development grant initiative created in 2013. Under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley and Leonard Howie, secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), EARN Maryland is the state’s first skills training and economic development program of this type.

The Healthcare Workers Rx for Employability partnership proposed by MBDC will focus on the healthcare industry’s business leadership and is designed for flexibility and collaboration.

“We are fortunate in Montgomery County to have some of the County’s most prominent and innovative business representatives working with us to advance our shared economic development goals,” said County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “MBDC and its partners are poised to make a difference in Montgomery County generally, and with this project, specifically. It is great that the organization received this grant award, and I’m confident it will do great things with it.”

MBDC, the lead applicant for the grant, brings unique connections with both the business community and public agencies. Working in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, MBDC’s mission is to provide engagement and a platform for the private business community in economic development and policy decisions. The health care industry is a major employer in Montgomery County and MBDC has been active in developing partnerships and outreach with workforce and training entities to support this industry. MBDC will oversee and facilitate the implementation of a structured collaborative action plan.

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.

Rx for Employability partners include a diversity of industries, regions, educational institutions, community organizations and target populations. The partners include, from the business sector, Adventist Health Care, Johns Hopkins Medical and Nursing, Suburban Hospital and Sodexo Corporation; from the education sector the Universities at Shady Grove, the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy and the University of Maryland School of Nursing; and from the economic development sector Montgomery Moving Forward and Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and SkillSmart.

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