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
More flexible loan funds are now available to small, veteran- minority- and women-owned businesses with $1.6 million in new funding for the Baltimore County Boost Fund. A total of $1.38 million in small business loans already has been approved since the program launched in October 2014.
“Our first round of funding supports an amazingly diverse group of entrepreneurs that reflects our entire business community, from a women-owned food manufacturer to a veteran-owned building contractor, to cybersecurity, edtech and environmental technology companies,” said Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz. “Every dollar in loans goes back into the economy to generate jobs and support the growth of promising small businesses.”
Loan funding comes from the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund, which was established with revenue from Maryland casinos.
The next round of Boost loan funds is available to help businesses in Baltimore County and throughout the State.
How Loans Can be Used
The Boost Fund, managed by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, can lend qualified small businesses between $50,000 and $250,000 for start-up and gap funding, building and leasehold improvements, business and equipment acquisition, commercial real estate acquisition and working capital.
Boost Fund loans are flexible, with a reduced down payment and interest rates set at or below market rates. Payment plans are customized to meet the cash flow needs of each business.
Suite of Business Resources
“The Boost Fund is a valuable addition to the County’s business resources, which include free employee recruitment and training programs, site selection assistance and a suite of financing options. Baltimore County stands ready to support companies when they are ready to expand and add jobs,” said Will Anderson, director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.
For more information on the Boost Fund or to apply for a loan, visit Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at www.BCBoostFund.com or call 410-887-8000.
Wonderful Pets Available for Adoption Every Day
Forty-four animals were adopted (seven of them by veterans) during the Baltimore County Animal Services’ (BCAS) 2015 Memorial Day promotion. Of these, 23 were cats and 21 were dogs. The half-off adoption discount to County residents (and waived adoption fees for United States veterans who are County residents) took place from May 17 to 25.
“We are so pleased that residents took advantage of our reduced and in veterans’ cases, waived adoption fees,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “The purpose of our deep discount days is to increase the number of animals adopted from the shelter. The increase from the number of pets adopted per promotion day from 2014’s Memorial holiday is highly encouraging.”
A total of 28 pets were adopted during the 2014 five-day Memorial Day promotion. Of these animals, 17 were cats and 11 were dogs. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 7.6 million pets enter animal shelters each year in the United States. Of these, only approximately 2.7 million are adopted. The American Veterinary Medical Associate states that approximately 40 percent of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth. Recognizing the powerful reach of word-of-mouth via social media, the County launched a dedicated Facebook Page for BCAS earlier this year. To date, the page has more than 2,300 “likes.”
“Owning a pet is a great way to enhance your quality of life and doing so, offers an array of health benefits,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Health and Human Services. “Pet ownership can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and loneliness, and increase opportunities for exercise outdoor activities and socialization.”
“I am delighted that so many pets found new homes as a result of our Deep Discount Days” said Baltimore County Council Chair Cathy Bevins. “Additionally, the Pets for Vets promotion is a win-win, offering residents a financial discount, and the animals adopted from our shelter, safe, permanent homes.”
For those who were unable to make it to the shelter during the Memorial Day promotion, adoptable animals are still available. Adoption fees cover the cost of your new cat or dog that will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies and other diseases, licensed and micro-chipped. View adoptable pets at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter. For more information about Animal Services, visit the Facebook page or call 410-887-PAWS (7297).