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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: workforce

photo of interns who were interviewedOur Labor Market of the Future

What is bringing these talented young people home to Baltimore County?  These bright and driven students may have spread out to NYC, Philly, DC and New England for college, but they were back working, living, playing in Baltimore County this summer. 

Summer Interns Interviewed

What was it that led them to pass up summer career experience opportunities from Wall Street to the Capital? 

Will Anderson, Director of Baltimore County Economic and Workforce Development, sat down and asked them about their summer internships in Baltimore County and their futures.

Their answers give us reasons to believe our region will be in very good hands as these young people build their own careers and drive our next generation economy.

What’s going on that excites you here?

Bella: “Connectivity. The county wraps around the city so you get the best of both worlds. I love being able to hike along Patapsco River and then be in the city in as little as 5 miles. And, there’s lots that can be done to strengthen that connection through transit, workforce and education. We are in a hub of non-profits, stellar colleges and major government entities where so much can and will be happening in the next 15 years. It’s an exciting frontier for any career in public policy or behavioral economics.”

Nicole: “Although I’m studying Chemical Engineering while in school, when I’m home I love to get back to my roots in the theatre. This region has amazing community theaters like STAR Theater in Catonsville, the Dundalk Community Theater, UMBC theater group, not to mention access to the city’s Hippodrome, Everyman Theater, Center Stage and the new Chesapeake Shakespeare Theater.”

Saché: “When you look around, Baltimore is growing. You see new businesses arising all the time with tons of opportunity in the field of business and information technology. Also, living in Towson has been great. So much is going on. There are more restaurants, a really nice movie theater just opened, and tons of places to shop around the Towson Campus. It’s also not far from home.”

Sam: “Hands down it’s Ultimate Frisbee. I’ve been involved with the Central Maryland Ultimate Association over the years and both Baltimore County and City have amazing parks to play. One of my favorite spots is Benjamin Banneker Park.”

Khala: “I like that it’s the best of both worlds. I like the County because it has great places to go like the mall, the movies, bowling. Then I like having the city to go to the Inner Harbor, the Gallery and some of the unique smaller stores. It’s great having both. Beyond that, when I’m away at college, I miss all of our great food!”

How did your internship change you?

Sam: “The lab for Physical Sciences at bwtech@UMBC put me in a working environment that could be intimidating at times, but well worth it. It really made me rethink my major in GIS. I’m going to put a greater focus on Economics and Math as I continue on to do research in grad school. If the opportunity presented itself, I’d like to work in the Baltimore region. I feel like it’s a good place to be as it continues growing.”

Bella: “Now I’m sure. This summer made me realize I want to come back. I realize now that I’m much more interested in economics rather than straight-laced finance, like what you see on Wall Street. Community development and housing issues are something I can really be passionate about and there’s so much opportunity to make a difference here around Baltimore.”

What do you want to contribute?

Khala: “Ultimately I want to work with prisoners. I think I could make a real difference. Lots of people just want to forget about them, but in many cases it’s a good person just in a bad situation. Everyone has a soft spot you can bring out.”

Sache: “Other than being successful for myself and my family, I want to give back to the community. Growing up in a really rural area, we lacked some of the technology and connectivity that’s so prevalent in contemporary education. I might not move back to my home town, but I can see myself going back and getting involved in bringing more technology to the schools – like iPads and laptops. We need to promote these things early on in our children’s education so they don’t leave and fall into a culture shock.”

Dionna: “I too would like to get involved with the schools. A great example is the Bring Your Code to School Program. This is a program designed to introduce kids to coding throughout the region. My cousin was on a local robotics team and he’s doing amazing things volunteering with that program.”

About the Interns

Nicole Dantoni
College: Widener University, Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Major: Chemical Engineering
Home: Catonsville, Baltimore County
Internship: STAR Theater in Catonsville

Sam Besse
College: University of Maryland, College Park

Major: Economics and Geographic Information
Home: Relay, Baltimore County
Internship: The lab for Physical Sciences at bwtech@UMBC

Saché Bond       
College: Towson University, Baltimore County

Major: Information Systems with a minor in Business
Home: St. Mary’s County
Internship: Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance

Khala Evans-Addison
College: Johnson & Wales, Providence Rhode Island

Major: Counseling Psychology 
Home: Owings Mills, Baltimore County
Internship: Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance

Dionna Fair-Latta
College: UMBC, Baltimore County

Major: Business Technology
Home: Baltimore City
Internship: Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance

Bella Willeboordse
College: New York University, NY

Major: Economics and Public Policy
Home: Catonsville, Baltimore County
Internship: Baltimore County Department of Workforce and Economic Development

Interview by Will Anderson,
Baltimore County Director of Economic and Workforce Development

'Reinventing Myself'

image of ACE workshopBaltimore County is leading a national workforce innovation program that is a game changer in connecting job seekers to employers. Baltimore County was awarded this highly competitive $11.8 million grant from the Department of Labor called Accelerating Connections to Employment (ACE).

This four-state, nine-site initiative is demonstrating results here and across the country.   

One of these nine sites is right here at home. Baltimore County is partnering with the Community College of Baltimore County to connect businesses with a steady flow of newly-trained workers for in-demand careers. The County has found that the earlier employers connect with the ACE team, the better their chance of securing quality candidates.

Businesses like WPM Realty are seeing that the ACE Program is an effective way to get involved and fill key job openings. Linda Goldberg, Human Resourse Director at WPM, explains how they’ve used the program to grow their business: “Through ACE, we’ve had incredible success getting qualified job candidates to build our team.” 

Watch The ACE Program video about the amazing talent base Baltimore County has to offer. 

graphic of jobs signpostsKevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive

This is a story of economic growth and opportunity. But to appreciate change, it’s sometimes helpful to look back.

If you were job hunting four years ago, it was a pretty tough time. Optimism and “help wanted” posts were in short supply. The national and local economies were still clawing their way out of the great recession. Baltimore County in 2010 posted an unemployment rate of 8%.

Fast forward to 2014. 

Baltimore County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.4% for November and December 2014. That’s better than Maryland at 5.5% and the U.S. at 5.6%.  We haven’t seen a monthly unemployment rate this low since November of 2008, before the recession hit hard.

Baltimore County’s employment picture continues to be positive as more people are finding jobs in a steadily improving economy. One of our county’s greatest strengths is the diversity of our business community.  Major employers include corporate giants such as McCormick, T. Rowe Price and Stanley Black & Decker. Five major hospitals and five colleges and universities offer solid employment opportunities. Entrepreneurial tech companies and a strong tourism and hospitality industry add to the growth.  

We still have work to do. There are still too many people looking for work or who are underemployed. The professional career counselors at our County workforce development centers continue to help job seekers match their skills to the needs of employers.

But all in all, today’s Baltimore County job market stands much stronger than it did four years ago. And that’s reason for optimism.


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