Baltimore County’s businesses, its government, and its people share a common vision for a bright future — not merely over the next five or ten years, but for generations to come.
In a transformative move that would help make college a reality for hundreds of recent high school graduates, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced this morning at CCBC Essex that his FY 19 budget proposal will include a request for a Baltimore County College Promise program. If approved by the County Council, this new need-based scholarship program, will begin with the Fall 2018 semester, and will cover tuition and mandatory fees at CCBC to enable eligible Baltimore County residents to complete an associate’s degree or workplace and certification program, up to a maximum of three years.
“This is a real game-changer for students from low or moderate income families for whom the benefits of a college education might otherwise be out of reach,” Kamenetz said. “It opens up a lifetime of career income opportunities.”
The Baltimore County College Promise program guarantees that CCBC college tuition will be free for eligible recent high school graduates who live in Baltimore County. It applies to students pursuing an associate’s degree or a licensure or certification program. The scholarship goes beyond federal, state and private scholarships to provide full tuition for qualified students to pursue and complete their education at CCBC.
“The Baltimore County College Promise program is truly something to celebrate,” exclaimed CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “It will increase access to higher education for hard-working Baltimore County students who otherwise might struggle to meet the financial obligation of going to college. Students who receive a Promise Scholarship must be college ready, doubling the value of this investment. We are fortunate to have a County Executive who believes in the importance of public higher education and not only ‘talks the talk,’ but ‘walks the walk.’ The Baltimore County College Promise program is an investment in the future of Baltimore County students and our local economy.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our recent graduates, especially those with financial constraints, to take full advantage of the tremendous education and career-advancing opportunities at CCBC,” said BCPS Interim Superintendent Verletta White.
“I know firsthand how much the people in my district value CCBC Catonsville,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “To give individuals who might not be able to afford to go to college the opportunity to do so is vital to our future as a county, and frankly, as a nation. This is about family stability and economic growth.”
“There is nothing more important to a person than a good job, and access to higher education is vital in opening up opportunities for individuals,” said 2nd District Councilwoman Vicki Almond. “This is a very good day for Baltimore County.”
“Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. This announcement is about jobs pure and simple,” said Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr. “Helping people get the education they need to succeed is exactly what government ought to do.”
“For people in my district, this announcement will be a true lifesaver,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. “Free college tuition will open up doors that otherwise would be closed. I am so proud to be a part of this effort.”
“Both the Essex and Dundalk campuses of CCBC are important resources in my community,” said 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell. “Making college more affordable to those who struggle to make ends meet is a very good thing.”
To be eligible, students must live in Baltimore County and have an adjusted household income of $69,000 or less, which is the median income for Baltimore County residents. Students must have graduated from a public, parochial or home school within the past two years with a GPA of 2.5 or better and complete a federal financial aid (FAFSA form). Baltimore County College Promise students must enroll full-time and be college-ready. They must maintain full-time enrollment and a GPA of at least 2.5. The scholarship applies only to the student’s first credential or degree. More details on eligibility and program parameters can be found on the attached fact sheet.
Students who wish to learn more about the Baltimore County College Promise may visit the College Promise page on CCBC’s website.
The current cost for full-time CCBC students taking 12 credits per semester is $1,865 in tuition and fees. The Baltimore County College Promise scholarship is calculated as a “last dollar in” award, meaning that it is applied after all other financial awards like Pell grants and state aid (not including loans) have been utilized. For example, students with $1,000 in financial aid would receive $865 from this new program to fill the gap.
CCBC estimates that approximately 1,100 students, who graduated in the past two years, are eligible for the first year of the program, and the projected cost for the first year is $980,000. Costs for years two and three are estimated at $1.8 million and $2.3 million respectively. Baltimore County government will provide the funding for the Baltimore County College Promise scholarship from its operating budget that will be presented to the County Council for approval this April.
Currently, 67 percent of CCBC’s student population are Baltimore County residents and 95 percent of its graduates remain in the Baltimore region, benefitting local economies and communities. Some 46 percent of CCBC students receive financial aid, and 53 percent work at least 20 hours per week.
Studies show that the average CCBC associate’s degree graduate working to their full potential will see an increase in earnings of $10,400 each year. Over a lifetime, this translates to more than $300,000 in additional earnings.
In addition to higher earnings, the scholarship improves college graduation rates, which promotes a stronger economy by enhancing the skills and job-readiness of the County’s workforce. A better educated labor pool increases the attractiveness of the region to employers, fueling economic growth, prosperity and overall quality of life.
The County Executive will present his budget to the County Council on April 12. The County Council will vote on the budget on May 24.
By Ingrid Beardsley, RD, LDN, Nutrition Program Manager, Baltimore County Department of Aging
How can a meal program do more than just serve a meal? The Baltimore County Eating Together Program is on the frontlines to improve older adults’ overall well-being and reduce isolation and malnutrition.
After leaving our meal program, appetites are not the only thing satisfied. Participants walk away with full hearts from socializing, full minds from health/nutrition education, and full bodies from nutrient-packed meals.
Increased socialization is one of the additional benefits of meal programs like Eating Together, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. Eighty-three percent of individuals reported they have more friends now than before they started visiting the meal program. Participants like attending so they can speak with their friends, meet new friends, and leave their homes for a little while each day.
Each meal provides one third of the daily nutrition requirements and is approved by a Registered Dietitian.
The survey found that 70% of participants said their knowledge of good nutrition has increased and more than half said their health improved since they started attending the program.
Residents ages 60 and over and their spouses of any age are eligible to participate, and are asked to make a voluntary, confidential donation. The suggested donation is $2.50 per meal.
Seniors looking for healthy food, nutrition education and social interaction can learn more about Baltimore County’s Eating Together Program at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/eatingtogether or call 410-887-3052.
Eating Together -- a one-stop way to meet nutritional needs and make some new friends along the way.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County is creating a dedicated animal abuse unit in the Baltimore County Police Department to take the lead in investigation and enforcement efforts.
“In response to community input, I asked Police Chief Sheridan and Animal Services Director Dr. Melissa Jones to review County procedures regarding the referral and priority handling of animal cruelty cases,” stated County Executive Kamenetz. “That review recommended that Baltimore County establish a specialized unit in the Baltimore County Police Department dedicated to animal abuse cases, and this unit will be up and running by the end of the month.”
The new Animal Abuse Investigative Team will comprise a police sergeant, a police officer and three civilian investigators. Animal Services has seen an increase in the number of suspected animal abuse cases since a new state law went into effect last October, compelling veterinary practitioners to report suspicions of animal cruelty or fighting to local animal control or law enforcement agencies.
The County’s review indicated that at the present time individuals may call a variety of numbers to report animal abuse cases. Calls are made to the local police precinct, 911, Animal Services or even the State’s Attorney’s office. Under the new procedure, all callers will be directed to call 410-887-5901 to reach the Animal Abuse Investigative Team. If the Animal Abuse Investigative Team is unable to respond for whatever reason, callers will be instructed to call 911 immediately, and 911 operators will then refer the caller to the local police precinct. The precinct will investigate and refer the case to the Animal Abuse Investigative Team for follow-up.
“Establishing a dedicated police unit to handle suspected cases of animal abuse will be a more effective way to handle what are often very challenging cases,” said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan.
“The creation of this unit creates a much clearer line of communication for the public and for our employees at Animal Services,” said Melissa Jones, V.M.D., Director of Baltimore County Animal Services. “I’m very pleased to have the resources of the Police Department to investigate and fight animal cruelty in our communities.”
“I encouraged the County Executive to review all of the procedures in animal cruelty cases, and I am very pleased that he followed up,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “This should be a much improved process.”
“The creation of a specialized unit in the Police Department to handle animal abuse will significantly improve communications between my office and the county,” said State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
One month after 17 people perished at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz stood with hundreds of students at Towson’s George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology this morning. Students walked out of class to honor victims of that tragic mass shooting and to call for gun safety measures as part of the #NationalStudentWalkout.
Chants of “kids – not victims,” “never again,” and “we want change” reverberated across the school campus as students rallied around the flagpole, joining their peers around the nation in calling for legislators to take action to protect students from gun violence.
“I am very proud to support these bright and engaged students as they exercise their first amendment right to raise their voices to call for common sense gun reform and school safety," said Kamenetz.
“Today, we’re walking out to express our voice and our opinions on the gun laws in the country of the United States,” said Carver Senior Class President Reginald “Reggie” Morton. “This is not just for Maryland and Baltimore County to hear our voice, but it is also for the country as a whole to hear our voice today to express that we need different laws.”
“Gun safety is one of the most important issues of our times and I am proud of students for standing up and saying, no more,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr.
Later this morning, Kamenetz visited the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Hunt Valley to thank managers for Dick’s decisive action in recently changing their firearms and ammunition sales policies. He presented an Executive Citation to the Hunt Valley store manager and regional representatives in grateful recognition of their recent policy change ending the sale of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines in all stores, and eliminating sales to anyone under 21 years of age of all firearms and ammunition.
“As one of the largest retailers of guns, Dick’s Sporting Goods’ actions will have a significant real-world effect in addressing the gun violence epidemic in our country and helping to protect the safety of our children and residents,” Kamenetz said. “It also sets an excellent example for other retailers and for the legislators whose job it is to protect innocent people form gun violence.”
Baltimore County is seeking to contact and survey young people under age 25 who are struggling with homelessness or unstable housing. For the next two weeks, County Department of Planning staff and their non-profit partners will be taking extra steps to locate youth with unstable housing situations in order to estimate the number of people who make up this vulnerable population and gain a deeper knowledge of the challenges they face.
The County is participating in a statewide effort, known as Youth Reach Maryland, to contact and survey young people who are homeless or struggling with serious housing issues. This effort has engaged regional partners and seeks to strengthen knowledge of and services to youth under age 25 who are not living with a parent or guardian and face an unstable housing situation that may be viewed as homelessness.
The County's effort to contact this constituency begins Monday, March 12, and continues through Sunday, March 25. The County Department of Planning and the non-profits Prologue, Inc. and Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless (BCCH) are leading the county effort, working closely with service providers and institutions, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The County and its partners have assembled a network of people, including youth ambassadors, who will visit key locations, reach out and, hopefully, survey the select youth population over the two-week period.
Advocates for the homeless believe that independent youth and young adults under age 25 who are struggling with housing are often a hidden population that goes uncounted. Youth Reach Maryland seeks to improve the count and deepen knowledge of a unique, challenging constituency.
Maryland's effort to improve outreach to homeless youth began in 2013, when the legislature made it a priority to improve the frequency and accuracy of counting the state's unaccompanied homeless youth. It established the Task Force to Study Housing and Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, which recommended a Youth and Young Adult Count of Unaccompanied Homeless. This later became the initiative known as Youth REACH (Reach out, Engage, Assist, & Count to end Homelessness) MD. The state effort is now led by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and coordinated by the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Those interested in learning more about Baltimore County's Youth Reach effort are encouraged to contact Terri Kingeter at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the following web links:
Serving as Baltimore County’s twelfth County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz has established a three-pronged approach to governing by applying the principles of innovation, responsibility, and efficiency. Learn More.