Baltimore County Now
Manufacturing, of Course!
Manufacturing, for many, harkens to World War II, when Baltimore Bombers were built at Glenn L. Martin and steel churned from Sparrows Point.
The legacy smokestack industries as we knew them are gone, but Baltimore County manufacturing has kept what is vital to compete in the 21st century: innovation, precision, and a skilled workforce with generations of success in making things.
County Has Largest Number of Manufacturers in Maryland
National Manufacturing Month is more than another name for October. It’s a time to celebrate the 14,000 manufacturing jobs in Baltimore County. With 839 companies, Baltimore County has the largest number of manufacturers in Maryland, according to the Maryland Workforce Exchange.
Whether it’s aerospace defense, bio tech, industrial, pharmaceutical, information technology, apparel, food, or life sciences, a variety of manufacturers call Baltimore County home. Thousands work at McCormick, Stanley Black and Decker and BD Diagnostic Systems, each with Baltimore manufacturing legacies going back more than a hundred years.
No more 19th century manufacturing and R&D here! For example, McCormick’s Technical Innovation Center is equipped with idea lounges, whiteboards and test kitchens - think “Google” for food. The GM plant in White Marsh with its all-white interior, looking as crisp as an Apple store, manufactures hybrid transmissions and motors for electric cars.
Advanced, precision manufacturing can be found on all sides of the county. Middle River is home to Lockheed Martin and Middle River Aircraft systems, which produce advanced global security and aerospace technology. Textron Systems develops unmanned systems in Cockeysville, while Zentech in Windsor Mill is making circuit boards for defense, aerospace, medical, and communications.
On the “delicious” side… there are headquarters and manufacturing for nutrition and weight loss company Medifast, Michele’s Granola, and Tessamae’s All Natural food products.
So, why do 839 companies make things here? Baltimore County is in the center of the mid-Atlantic market, with a robust freight system, connected highways, a world-class port, and available industrial and flex sites. As these companies grow and implement even more advanced technologies, they find a skilled workforce trained to innovate.
The Education Connection
bwtech@UMBC and the Towson Incubator are cultivation hubs for innovative thinkers. Baltimore County’s Fab Lab, one of the only 3-D fabrication labs open to the public in the Mid-Atlantic, is putting inventors and students at the helm of laser cutters, 3-D printers and prototyping. Recently, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) announced a course for Design Fabrications and Advanced Manufacturing – a two year associates degree to give students essential skills in the new world of advanced manufacturing.
The new Sollers Point Technical High School, located in Dundalk, is a great example of what’s possible. The high school feels like a college campus outfitted with professional grade mechanical shops where students learn advanced circuitry and hydraulics.
Designing Workforce Training Around Employers’ Needs
Baltimore County Job Centers are providing training designed around employers’ talent needs. The Department of Economic and Workforce Development is working with CCBC and other vendors to offer state-of-the-art training – usually vetted by businesses themselves – in high demand occupations like project management, health services, information technology, diesel service mechanics, commercial construction and real estate. A specialized manufacturing program is being considered for the upcoming year.
More than Just Conveyor Belts
Manufacturing is not a one-direction conveyor belt anymore. So when you’re sitting back after a hard day at work, enjoying a Baltimore County-made beverage from DuClaw or Heavy Seas, think about how manufacturing has changed. And celebrate advanced manufacturing’s multi-directional network of ideas.
Baltimore County Economic and Workforce Development
Proposal Would Air Condition and Eliminate Overcrowding in Every School by 2021; 2019 if State Accelerates Funding
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance, local and state legislators announced this morning a delineated plan to air condition and eliminate overcrowding in every remaining County school.
The plan is projected to be completed by 2021, or even by 2019 if State officials accelerate funding for air conditioning projects in Baltimore County. The revised proposal of the County’s ongoing “Schools for Our Future” initiative represents an historic commitment of $1.3 billion, 69 percent funded by the County, and 31 percent requested from the State. The County has budgeted 50 percent more for school construction and renovation over the next five years – an increase from $100 million to $150 million.
“If the State can accelerate its customary match of County dollars for air conditioning,” said Kamenetz, “every Baltimore County school will have air conditioning in place by 2019, two years earlier than without the accelerated State match. In less than five years we’ve increased the number of schools with air conditioning in the County from 48 percent to 85 percent. While that is very gratifying, it is time to finish the job. I look forward to working with Dr. Dance, the Board of Education, County Council and State delegation to get Governor Hogan’s support of this effort.”
“While significant progress has been made to modernize all of our schools, I want to sincerely thank the County Executive and his team for ensuring that all schools within our County have comfortable learning environments, by proposing a plan to accelerate providing air conditioning to all schools,” said Dance.
“The collaboration between the County Executive, County Council, state legislators and our Board of Education to not only put air conditioning in our schools, but to also modernize our schools to accommodate enrollment increases, shows a strong partnership and commitment to all our students and families.”
“I have been fighting to get every school in the County air conditioned since the day I was elected,” said Council Chair Cathy Bevins. “I am delighted that County Executive Kamenetz is moving forward with a plan that would complete the work by 2019. I will work with the County Council and our State delegation to do whatever it takes to secure the State funding necessary to match Baltimore County’s accelerated plan.”
“The General Assembly delegation of Baltimore County looks forward to working with the Governor to advance our collective priorities for the good of our schoolchildren,” said Senator Delores Kelley.
“Having already written to Governor Hogan asking for more funding, I believe the Baltimore County administration and Superintendent’s plan sets the table for providing the funding for what the County needs for our schools,” said 42nd District Delegate Steve Lafferty, who chairs the County’s delegation.
View a detailed schedule (PDF) for completion of air conditioning at all remaining County schools without air.
Letter from the County Executive
The County Executive emailed the following letter to every principal and PTA president in the County this afternoon.
Dear Principal and PTA President,
First of all, I hope that you have had an excellent beginning to the new school year. Thank you for all that you do each and every day for our students. Team BCPS makes us all very proud.
Over the past few weeks, a number of questions have been raised about the current status of the County’s effort to complete air conditioning projects. Please feel free to share this important information with your school community.
When I began my term in office five years ago, I inherited a twin dilemma of aging schools and rising enrollment. Eighty percent of our schools were more than 40 years old, with just 48 percent air conditioned. We embarked on a record $1.3 billion Schools for Our Future program to eliminate all current and projected overcrowding, and modernize our schools with air conditioning, technology and public safety improvements. This commitment increases by 50 percent the amount of bond funding that we have previously allocated for school construction.
Our efforts so far are impressive. So far, we have funded seven new schools and eleven additions, and with the current funding in place, the number of air conditioned schools has increased from 48 percent to 85 percent.
With current levels of funding, we can finish the job by 2021, with the County putting in $2 for every $1 provided by the State.
If the State were to match us dollar for dollar, we can get the job done even sooner.
As we move forward, Dr. Dance and I will be working with the County Council and our State delegation to secure accelerated State funding which would allow us to complete the remaining projects even sooner than currently programmed. I will keep you apprised of our progress.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it possible to complete all of the remaining schools prior to 2021?
A: Yes. At the present time, Baltimore County contributes $2 for every $1 of State funding for total school construction and renovation. We believe the State should accelerate its funding for air conditioning, which would allow Baltimore County to expedite the completion schedule.
Q: Is it possible to install window air conditioners while waiting for these projects to be completed?
A: The Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) prohibits State funding for window units in schools, finding that window units are not as energy efficient as central air, requires a higher level of maintenance, and would delay for 15 years any State contribution toward central air.
Moreover, given the deteriorating condition of the remaining schools in question, window air conditioners do not appear to be a wise choice for Baltimore County. Aging electrical wiring will not accommodate the electrical needs of window units and would require hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement electrical upgrades for a very short-term, “band aid” approach.
There are other issues as well. For example, new schools for both Westowne and Catonsville Elementary are currently under construction and will open for students in August 2016. In June 2015, there were four days of school where temperatures exceeded 90 degrees. It would make no sense to upgrade the electrical systems in those schools, install window units for four days and then demolish those same schools a few weeks later. That would simply be fiscally irresponsible.
Q: Didn’t Anne Arundel County successfully install window units?
A: In 2002, Anne Arundel County installed window units in 36 schools as a stop-gap measure before proceeding with installation of central air. Today, 13 years later, 15 schools in Anne Arundel County still have window units. The installation of window units only served to delay the central air installation, costing taxpayers more than if they had just installed central air initially. Baltimore County’s Schools for Our Future program encompasses more than just central air; it also includes systemic upgrades for infrastructure.
Completion Date Schedule
I have attached a schedule showing completion dates (PDF) for all of the remaining schools. While I recognize that every school community would like to be first on the list, I know that people understand that there must be a process in place to move forward with funding. The list was developed by the school system using a variety of factors: overcrowding needs, Mechanical, Engineering and Plumbing Assessments (MEC), identifying the least costly schools on the front end in order to complete as many schools as possible, geographic distribution, and the more complicated need for replacement schools and renovations that also consider capacity.
Video Detailing Schools for Our Future
Please visit Baltimore County’s YouTube page to view and share the “Schools for Our Future" video.
I hope this information is helpful, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions. Working together, we will not rest until 100 percent of our schools are air conditioned. It is what our students and teachers deserve.
Very truly yours,
Interagency Committee on School Construction Letter
View the Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) letter. (PDF)
October Show Highlights Applying for Healthcare, Police Body Cameras and More
The October edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” highlights the following topics:
- Applying for Health Coverage – Find out how Baltimore County Health and Human Services can help you access health coverage for your family.
- Body Worn Cameras – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Police Chief Jim Johnson discuss their decision outfit officers with body worn cameras.
- Diplomas to Degrees – BCPS Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance and CCBC President Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis share the many programs for high school students to earn college credits.
View streaming video of the Hello Baltimore County shows.
In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:
- Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
- Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 9 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.
- Thursdays: 1 p.m., 8 p.m.
- Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Sundays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.