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Keyword: economic and workforce development

Cites Modern Facility with Top-Performing Employees and Superior Results

County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. reached out to the head of General Motors (GM) to emphasize the value of the state-of-the-art White Marsh manufacturing facility, both to GM and to the Baltimore region. In a letter sent yesterday afternoon, he called on GM Chairman and CEO Mary Teresa Barra to find a product or alternate use for the plant that will keep all of its 300 high-performing employees working.

“We know that Eastern Baltimore County is one of the most competitive areas for manufacturing on the East Coast with our highly skilled workforce and proximity to transportation networks,” Olszewski said. “I wanted to make sure that the leadership at GM understands the importance and value of this facility to their bottom line and to Baltimore County.” 

The full text of his letter is below:

                                        December 11, 2018

Ms. Mary Teresa Barra

Chairman and CEO

General Motors Company

300 Renaissance Center

Detroit, Michigan 48243

Dear Ms. Barra,

As the newly-elected County Executive of Baltimore County, I was shocked to learn about General Motors’ (GM) decision to cease production at GM’s White Marsh facility. This facility has been an anchor and source of pride within our County since it opened in 2000.  The facility’s importance to the region became even more significant upon the opening of the $245 million electric motor facility in 2012. Hundreds of millions of federal, state, and local dollars have been invested since its opening and it has been lauded as a “state of the art” facility that embodied American resiliency in the wake of the great recession.

As you know, our region has strong and deep roots in manufacturing. Our proximity to major highway and rail networks and the Port of Baltimore has made eastern Baltimore County one of the most significant areas for logistics and manufacturing – and we continue to remain competitive. We attract talented and qualified workers and have demonstrated our commitment to embracing 21st century workforce solutions through bolstering trades, job training and workforce development. And we will continue to do so.

Therefore I respectfully request that GM find a product or alternative use for the plant that will keep all 300 of those employees working in Baltimore County. I understand that according to GM’s own corporate metrics, the employees at White Marsh are among the top performers across the entire company. Furthermore, I understand these employees have had very few grievances with GM management. The facility is both modern and effective, and I know these hard-working men and women remain committed to achieving high performance standards.

If GM does not reverse the decision to cease production in White Marsh, we must work collectively with our state and federal partners to do everything we can for the employees and families impacted.  As such, I have asked my team to immediately engage with local GM and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 239 in an effort to protect the career-paths of affected GM workers. At my direction, Baltimore County’s Department of Workforce and Economic Development will serve as the central agency responsible for communications, coordination with area employers interested in recruiting GM workers, and hosting career fairs.  We will also offer workshops and direct career counseling, assist with resume development, interview preparation, and other unemployment essentials.

Earlier this week, a team of economic and workforce development professionals from my administration met with GM’s human resource manager, Erin Spitzer, to discuss collaboration on these efforts. I have every confidence that we will continue to have GM’s cooperation and partnership in these efforts. 

While we are bracing for a possible closure, I would like to reiterate my strong request to maintain operations at the White Marsh facility. As soon as possible, I invite you and/or members of your senior leadership team to join me in a tour of the White Marsh operation to observe the world-class operation there firsthand. I am available to discuss this matter at your convenience. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

John Olszewski, Jr.

County Executive

cc:

Eric Shelhorn, Plant Manager, GM White Marsh

Erin Spitzer, HR Manager, GM White Marsh

John Blanchard, Director of Local Government Relations, GM

Will Anderson, Director of Economic & Workforce Development, Baltimore County

Mike Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce

The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., Governor of Maryland

The Honorable Katherine Klausmeier, Senate of Maryland District 8

The Honorable Eric Bromwell, Maryland House of Delegates District 8

The Honorable Joe Cluster, Maryland House of Delegates District 8

The Honorable Christian Miele, Maryland House of Delegates District 8

The Honorable Cathy Bevins, Baltimore County Council District 6

Harry Bhandari, Delegate-Elect, District 8

Joseph Boteler, Delegate-Elect, District 8


Job readiness training available this summer in County libraries

Job Connector is bringing job readiness training into Baltimore County communities. Beginning this summer, the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development will offer new job readiness workshops at County libraries. The workshops, designed with employer input, address essential workplace skills such as effective communication skills, maximizing time in the workplace, displaying the image of your workplace, and managing your mindset.

Each of the new Workplace Excellence sessions will meet twice a week for three weeks and be facilitated by a certified trainer from the County’s Workforce Development American Job Centers.

“This program is about customer service, bringing new Baltimore County job programs directly to people in their communities. We’re ‘going local’ to help job seekers sharpen their skills and get hired faster,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler.

The free, three week sessions are geared for adult job seekers. The summer 2018 sessions will take place at the Lansdowne and Essex libraries in July and Loch Raven and Sollers Point libraries in August. Enrollment is limited. Interested County residents must apply via e-mail to jobconnector@baltimorecountymd.gov or call 410-887-8096.

“This program is an excellent example of government working smarter by bringing agencies together to help people looking for a job. Library staff and career consultants bring different skills sets, helping us provide the best service to job seekers throughout the year,” said Will Anderson, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.

“With 19 locations, each open 69 hours a week, our branches are gathering spaces that are accessible and trusted within the communities we serve. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff, along with public computers, loanable laptops and other essential resources, provide key tools job seekers need,” said Paula Miller, Director of the Baltimore County Public Library.

Job Connector

The Job Connector in Communities initiative is part of an innovative $2.5 million workforce program designed to assure employers have a workforce ready to fill high-demand jobs in high-demand fields. With over $5 billion in new economic development projects in the County, companies are hiring, but chronic shortages of qualified workers remain in many fields.


Job Connector starts by looking at the specific jobs and skills that are needed in the Baltimore region. This results in a better match between employer and job seeker, and more certain career paths for employees who want to know that their hard work and skills can lead to promotions and higher wage jobs.

“With low unemployment and a tight job market, companies are ready to hire today. Job Connector is helping to reduce the gap between the skills job seekers have and the skills employers need,” said Mohler.

High Demand Jobs

Research prepared for the Baltimore County Workforce Development Board identified nine key industries that will drive 75% of the job growth in Baltimore County over the next decade: Healthcare, Corporate Operations/Customer Service, Construction, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Federal Agencies, Port/Logistics/Distribution, Education, and Information Technology.

Baltimore County’s American Job Centers at Liberty Center, Hunt Valley and Eastpoint have deployed customized tool kits to help career consultants guide job seekers to training and job openings in these high-demand fields.

For more information go to baltimorecountymd.gov/jobconnector.


County Executive Announces Baltimore County College Promise Program

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.

College Promise has Widespread Support Among County Council Members

“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.”

Qualifications and Requirements

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

How to Apply

Students who wish to learn more about the Baltimore County College Promise may visit the College Promise page on CCBC’s website

Program Cost

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.

Current CCBC Student Enrollment

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.

The Value of Education for Graduates and Society

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.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017