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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: employment

photo of Acadia Windows manufacturing plantRick Johnson,
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

Since the days of aluminum storm windows in 1947, Acadia Windows & Doors has manufactured commercial and residential windows and doors in Rosedale. Skilled workers turn large sheets of glass, saws, and presses into energy efficient vinyl products engineered for maximum durability. Acadia’s products benefit from proprietary engineering, high tech equipment, and lean (and green) manufacturing processes. Today, Acadia is recognized as one of the East Coast’s major manufacturers of new and replacement windows and doors.

Since 2005, Acadia has worked closely with the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) to provide employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Acadia has hired nine employees from The Arc NCR with great success.  "We didn’t partner with The Arc NCR to be altruistic; we partnered with them because it makes sense as a business decision,” said Acadia’s Vice President of Manufacturing Neill Christopher. “This is a great pool of workers.”

Arc NCR workers have made a difference on the manufacturing floor, performing tasks that resulted in production line improvements for the company.  Arc NCR workers earn the same wages as people without disabilities doing the same job, and interact with their peers at the company in an integrated work environment.

“We had a great deal of trepidation when The Arc NCR first approached us,” continued Christopher. “This is a manufacturing environment, with large sheets of glass, saws and presses, all capable of inflicting serious injury.  What we learned is that everything that we did to make things safer for our team members from The Arc NCR made it safer for everyone else as well.  We’re an OSHA SHARP site; proud of our safety record while striving to always make our facility safer for all who work or visit here."

Acadia's success story with Arc was so impressive, the company was asked to join a panel at a National Governors Association meeting to discuss their experience in the field of disability employment.

When disabilities are not barriers, everyone wins.

photo of a business corridorCarla Tucker
Minority & Small Business Marketing Manager
Purchasing Division

How do you say small business? As the Minority and Small Business Marketing Manager for the Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance Purchasing Division, I’m often struck by the huge range of small businesses that are integral to our local economy. Our small businesses include painters, counseling services, accounting/auditing services, workforce development contractors, landscaping services, carpenters, plumbers, manufacturers, retailers, pest control services, janitorial services, hauling contractors, flooring contractors, electricians, printers -  just to touch on a tiny fraction.   

This week is National Small Business Week, a good time to reflect on the importance of these small but mighty drivers of our nation’s economy. There’s a reason that small business is often described as the backbone of our local, state and national economy. Did you know that Baltimore County is home to 19,508 small businesses and that those small businesses (firms with between 20 and 499 employees) are responsible for the vast majority of employment?

My job is to help these smaller firms compete in a business environment that often tends to favor the larger national and multi-national entities. Since Baltimore County Government is a large purchaser of goods and services, I work to help smaller local firms be better positioned to take advantage of County procurements.

Did you know that one of the criteria for becoming a certified Minority (including Women-owned) business with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Minority Business Enterprise Office is, the company must meet the SBA’s size standards based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)?  The SBA size standards for principal NAICS sectors  vary by industry. By including MDOT certified firms in the Baltimore County procurement process through the Minority Business Enterprise Program, the County supports small and disadvantaged businesses throughout the year. 

We post potential bidding opportunities online in the areas of health services, human services (training), construction trades, construction (road/highway, building), architect and engineering services, consulting and other professional services, goods,  building services and more.  Small businesses are encouraged to subscribe to the weekly solicitation notifications.  

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