Baltimore County Now
American Job Centers Offer Opportunity
Veterans Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on how grateful we are for the sacrifices so many give serving in our armed forces. That reflection isn’t limited to November 11.
Baltimore County’s three American Job Centers are working to help veterans put their military skills and experience to work back at home. More often than not, veterans have a robust skill set, but are struggling to translate their military experience to a language that employers in the civilian world understand.
“Our job is to bring veterans into the 21st century labor market through skills enhancement, occupational training and labor market information,” explains Leo Martinelli, Baltimore County’s Manager of Service Innovation for the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.
Veterans facing unemployment due to service-connected disabilities can also access special Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) representatives through the American Job Centers. State and County staff work to make critical services more accessible to vets with especially challenging circumstances. In addition to two veterans outreach representatives at the Eastpoint American Job Center, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation is now stationing a full-time vet rep, Careatha Burton, at the Liberty Job Center in Randallstown.
“Veterans face many challenges. In some cases the first hurdle is finding the veteran a home. Next it’s helping navigate the process of other critical support, such as support for coping with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PSTD), healthcare, and transportation to name a few. Once that foundation is built we begin crafting a way to employment,” explains Careatha.
Careatha’s Story – From Unemployed Veteran to Career Counselor
As a veteran who once found herself unemployed, Careatha has firsthand experience using services at a County job center. Careatha enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve after graduating from Woodlawn High School in 1987. During her service, she became the first in her family to graduate from college with a B.S. in Applied Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Careatha got a job as a workforce development counselor out of state. When the grant funded program ended, she was out of work.
Careatha came back home to find a job. The Liberty Center in Randallstown was her first stop. “As a workforce development professional, I knew all the resources available at the job centers. It’s a great networking opportunity and so many jobs are found through people you know.”
“Here is the cool part, Careatha is now helping other veterans at the very place she started her journey," explained Will Anderson, Director of Economic and Workforce Development for Baltimore County. “And, helping our veterans with career services in Baltimore County doesn’t stop at our American Job Centers. Patrick Young leads the way at Towson University. Keisha Campbell helps veterans at UMBC. CCBC has a long history of educating veterans, and has a certifying official at each campus. Finally, Goucher College and Stevenson University also focus on their vets.”
Help is Available
If you have a loved one, neighbor, friend or fellow veteran facing unemployment or in need of help, please tell them about our job centers. The County’s Homefront: Our Turn to Serve initiative also offers coordinated services to returning veterans.
Our veterans served us. Now it’s time to serve our veterans.
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
Offices, Housing, Hotel, Whole Foods Market and a Green Plaza
Downtown Towson soon will see one million square feet of offices, luxury and student housing, a hotel, restaurants, shops, a Whole Foods Market and an open, green plaza rising on five acres in the Baltimore County seat.
Site preparation is underway for Towson Row, a $350 million mixed-use project by Towson-based developer Caves Valley Partners that will anchor the southern gateway to downtown Towson.
“Towson Row will transform the Towson skyline and become a focal point for residents, workers and visitors,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “You can clearly see Towson Row’s footprint as you walk through downtown Towson. It’s exciting to see so much site activity as this significant private investment moves forward.”
“Towson Row will reaffirm Towson as a preeminent destination in Maryland, now and well into the future,” said Arthur Adler, partner of Caves Valley Partners. “We are completely reimagining the shopping, working, dining, entertainment, and green streetscape experience for Towson residents and visitors.”
The one million square foot, $350 million Towson Row will include 220,000 square feet of office space, a 170-room hotel, student housing with 900 beds, 370 luxury apartments and over 100,000 square feet of shops and restaurants anchored by a 45,000 square foot Whole Foods Market. Over 1,500 garage parking spaces will serve tenants and customers. Towson Row is being built on five acres bordered by York Road, Towsontown Boulevard, Washington Avenue and Chesapeake Avenue in downtown Towson.
“With projects such as Towson Row, downtown Towson is living up to its potential as a vibrant place to live, work and visit,” said Baltimore County Councilman David Marks.
About Downtown Towson
Towson Row is part of $1 billion in recent private investment in downtown Towson, including a new 15-screen Cinemark Theatres and restaurants at Towson Square, 2,700 new downtown apartments and townhomes, and the Towson City Center office tower with Towson University programs and headquarters for MileOne Automotive and Remedi Senior Care.
More than 55,000 people live in greater Towson, with over 48,000 people working at companies including GBMC, General Dynamics, Goucher College, MileOne, Sheppard Pratt, Stanley Black and Decker, Towson University, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and Whiting Turner.
Social Solutions' Journey from Tech Incubator to Global Profile
Social Solutions started back in 2000 with a handful of talented people and a vision to improve the effectiveness of social services by using data-driven software to measure outcomes.
The journey took them to a technology incubator in Baltimore, with the company growing to 36 employees by 2006. Social Solutions hatched from the incubator and nested in White Marsh. Today, they have a global profile and by the end of this year expect to employ over 300 people and clear well over $40 million. Social Solutions client list includes federal and local government agencies and major non-profit organizations around the world.
“One of the reasons we’ve been successful here is the proximity to major non-profits, public institutions and universities. Having these elements so close together keeps ideas fresh and allows the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish, which is critical as we move to become an enterprise-class software company,” said Social Solutions CEO Scott Johnson.
Social Solutions has won Baltimore County’s New Directions Award, which honors a company that represents the future of the County’s business community, and recently received the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award as a graduate of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore City.
This is how incubators and entrepreneurship should work – nurture while young and developing, give tools to help companies become independent, then let them run free to grow.
Maryland has long understood that visionary entrepreneurs need the room to be creative and thrive in an environment where they can benefit from other young companies, shared resources and mentorships. Baltimore County is home to two incubators, Towson University’s TU Incubator, which recently expanded into a larger facility and bwtech@UMBC, the second largest incubator in the State. Annual economic impact of bwtech@UMBC tenant operations supports 2,472 jobs in the Baltimore regional economy with associated income of $159 million. Businesses enjoyed total 2014 sales or revenue of $328 million because of bwtech@UMBC tenants, according to a study by Sage Policy Group.
Will Anderson, Baltimore County Director of Economic and Workforce Development, talks about the relationship between our colleges and incubators. “Having our incubators embedded in our college campuses not only offers a vibrant quality of life, but puts an invaluable network of resources to work, generating good ideas destined for success. We’re seeing a steady stream of businesses thrive in this setting and beyond.”
When companies are ready to hatch from the incubator, Baltimore County is ready to back them up. Six incubator companies recently received working capital loans from the Baltimore County Boost Fund, a program designed to help small, minority, woman and veteran owned businesses. The list includes up-and-coming companies Lesson Cast Learning LLC, RedShred, LLC and Light Point Security, LLC, each finalists in the Invest Maryland Challenge business competition for innovative startups.
So the next time you’re strolling through the campus of UMBC or Towson University, keep your eyes peeled for empty shells on the ground. It just might be a sign that an incubator firm is hatching as the next global company.
By Bryan Dunn, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development