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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: workforce development

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.


crab malletTim Murphy, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

Apparently, folks have been digging into a lot more steamed crabs and slurping more spicy crab soup if sales at J.O. Spice Company are any indication.  The Halethorpe company, established in 1945, manufactures crab seasonings, soups, batters and breadings for restaurants.   J.O. Spice’s online and retail stores offer seasonings and soups, plus Maryland crab jewelry, engraved mallets, crafts, and other “crabby” items. The company has just added 17,000 square feet of space to expand the growing retail portion of their business.

You can find J.O. Spice products in many crab houses throughout Maryland, by visiting the new store or online at www.jospices.com . 

To celebrate their newly expanded retail store, J.O. Spice is holding a ribbon cutting Saturday, April 5, at 11:00 a.m. at 3721 Old Georgetown Road in Halethorpe.  All are welcome to attend for tastings, giveaways, and more. 

Stop by so you’re ready for outdoor crab season!


photo of youth working in the fieldBarbara Woods
 Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, Workforce Development

"Working this summer made me a better person, a better employee and a better student." That's how one youth described his experience after participating in Baltimore County's 2013 Summer Youth Employment Program.

Over 200 participants ages 15-22 participated in this six-week program designed for youth to gain an appreciation of the labor market, gain insights into their own strengths as employable citizens, and learn marketable skills.  Youth who were homeless, in foster care, disabled and economically disadvantaged worked 30 hours a week earning $8.00 an hour. The work experiences were provided by over 75 employers from the County's business community including public, private and non-profit organizations. Wages were supported by funds from the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Social Services, Maryland Summer Youth Connections and the Workforce Investment Act. The summer program was sponsored by Baltimore County Department of Economic Development – Division of Workforce Development.

A highlight was New Horizon II, a partnership among Baltimore County’s Division of Workforce Development, Y of Central Maryland, Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation and Baltimore County Public Schools. The program provided 25 homeless youth, ages 15 – 21 a morning of academic instruction and employability training, followed by an afternoon of real-world work experience. The academic program, administered by Baltimore County Public School teachers, assisted youth in attaining the necessary credits to graduate from high school.  Since the program was located in Dundalk, work experiences were provided by area businesses including the Dundalk Eagle, Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, Police Athletic League, Access Art, and Blue Ocean Property Management.

The summer program was a win-win for youth and employers. Youth gained valuable experience working as office clerks, senior center aides, camp counselors and custodians.  Employers served as mentors and taught the youth basic work skills.  Both youth and employers experienced a summer they will never forget. As one young participant said, "When I leave this program, I will take with me some work experience, some new friends, and a different outlook on the world of work."


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