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Keyword: kamenetz

Infrastructure improvements and expansion of aging marine facilities at Tradepoint Atlantic could receive a significant boost as Baltimore County submits a $25 million grant request to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant would be matched by a $25.5 million private investment from Tradepoint Atlantic, developer of 3,100 acres at Sparrows Point.

With funding from the TIGER grant, Tradepoint Atlantic will make structural upgrades to the East-West Berth, modernize it for efficient movement of 21st century cargo, strengthen bulkheads, perform maintenance dredging to allow deep water ships access to the marine terminal, and other necessary improvements designed to leverage existing rail and highway systems on the site.

“This public/private infrastructure investment will ignite job creation in Baltimore County and the entire region by speeding up the turnaround of Sparrows Point from a shuttered steelmaking site into a modern hub for global commerce,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The investments in dredging, a stronger berth, and short line rail track will facilitate efficient and safe loading and unloading, reducing handling costs for shippers using the facility. 

“By partnering with Baltimore County to secure a federal grant for this key infrastructure investment, we can continue our commitment to creating a first-class facility dedicated to increasing long term job creation in the Baltimore region and lowering prices of American export and import consumer goods,” said Aaron Tomarchio, a Senior Vice President at Tradepoint Atlantic.

The project will expand the region’s bulk handling capability by restoring an obsolete regional marine asset to a state of good repair. The modernization program expands bulk cargo handling capability at Tradepoint Atlantic and does not introduce container cargo handling to the site.

If successful, the grant projects will span four years. The TIGER grant application and administration is led by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development. The application is supported by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

“With this federal transportation grant request, Baltimore County continues to proactively put key pieces in place to support development of Tradepoint Atlantic,” said Kamenetz. Baltimore County initiated creation of the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone and established a foreign trade zone to facilitate global commerce.

Economic and Jobs Impact

A recent economic impact report projects Tradepoint Atlantic will generate 17,000 jobs in the Baltimore region, plus another 21,000 jobs during construction. Economic impact is projected to top $3 billion when development of the 3,100 acre site is completed in 2025, according to the Sage Policy Group study.

“There are more than 17,000 jobs on the horizon at full development, but jobs already are coming back to Sparrows Point from world class companies including FedEx Ground and Under Armour,” added Kamenetz.


A health drink manufacturer and the makers of a gel to improve sports glove performance are among the latest small businesses to receive loans from the Baltimore County Boost fund, a flexible financing resource for entrepreneurs. More than $3.8 million in Boost Fund loans have been approved to 31 companies since the program launched in late 2014. Together, these businesses represent over 425 jobs.

“Fueling promising small businesses is one of the best investments we can make to grow our economy. Boost Fund loans come at a critical time when early stage companies are ready to add jobs, expand facilities, invest in new equipment and move to their next stage of growth,” said Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz.

Recent loans supported two growing Baltimore County manufacturing companies.

Mobtown Fermentation

Mobtown Fermentation brews Wild Kombucha, a drink made from fermented tea and organic juices. Based on a family recipe, Wild Kombucha is brewed in Timonium and is available at 230 locations in the Mid-Atlantic. A $100,000 Boost Fund loan helped the company move from hand to automated bottling.   

“Loan support from the Baltimore County Boost fund has allowed us to purchase an automated bottling line to keep up with product demand. We are adding jobs in Baltimore County as more and more people discover the fresh taste and healthy benefits of our unique kombucha brews,” said Sid Sharma, a partner in Wild Kombucha.

Grip Boost, Inc.

“It took two University of Maryland chemical engineers and a former Ravens tight end to come up with a product to improve the performance of athletic gloves. Our company, Grip Boost, found the additional working capital we needed to add inventory and grow our business in the perfect place, the UMBC Technology Center,” said Matt Furstenburg, CEO, Grip Boost.    

Grip Boost is used to improve the grip performance of football, baseball and golf gloves. A $100,000 Baltimore County Boost Fund loan will be used for working capital as the three-year old company expands and adds inventory.

Loans customized for each business

The Boost Fund, managed by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, can lend qualified small businesses in the region 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.

Loan funding comes from the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund, which was established with revenue from Maryland casinos.

Suite of business assistance services

“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.


The impact of an innovative workforce initiative led by Baltimore County is drawing attention across the country. New data from a five year program demonstrates that low-skilled job seekers can improve their employment potential and earnings through dynamic programs that go beyond the normal technical training. Accelerating Connections to Employment (ACE) incorporated employability training, financial literacy and computer literacy with occupational certification training to improve the marketability of job seekers.

ACE program participants included individuals with limited English proficiency and job seekers with low reading, writing and math skills.

“The ACE jobs innovation program has changed lives for job seekers who need a little extra support as they prepare for a new career. Baltimore County is proud to have lead the national team that clearly delivered results in getting people back to work in family-supporting jobs,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Baltimore County led the multi-state ACE collaboration, funded through a $11.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund.

In Baltimore County, the Department of Economic and Workforce Development delivered the local program in partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County.

“The ACE program not only gave us job skills and prepared us for the job of utility installer, but also gave us life skills to better our future. As a class we bounced back stronger, wiser and, personally, more powerful,” said Kevin Boyd, a Baltimore County ACE graduate who is currently working for American Airlines.

ACE delivered evidence-based results

An independent evaluation firm concluded that after graduating from the program, ACE participants worked more hours in a week, earned higher wages, and were more likely to achieve occupational credentials than those not participating in the program.

Below are key findings from the program evaluation:

  • On average, ACE participants in Baltimore County earned more than the control group after the end of the training program, and these differences appear to increase over time.
  • ACE participants were less likely to receive public assistance than non-ACE participants. 
  • ACE participants were more likely to hold occupational credentials than non-ACE participants.
  • Two years after the training, ACE participants were more likely to work 35 hours a week or more than the non-ACE participants.
  • ACE program participants were on average more likely to receive a promotion or raise than non-ACE participants. For example, eight quarters after the program end date, ACE participants made an average of $5,262.80 more than non-ACE participants.

“It is remarkable to see the results, with three quarters of our ACE graduates successfully employed. Putting people who lack skills back on track, getting them hired and keeping them employed is a challenge. With the gold-standard of evaluation, random control trial, running in the background, it was doubly difficult,” said Will Anderson, Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development.  

Results for the workforce field

Results from ACE program also provided insights for the workforce field.

  • Evaluation results demonstrate that the ACE model can be replicated in a variety of geographic areas and with a range of career training options.
  • Random control program evaluations are not conducted on a regular basis and many do not show positive results at the same level as ACE.
  • ACE made a difference in the lives of citizens and employers, enabling participants to complete training, achieve credentials, and become employed at a higher rate and at a greater wage than similar people who didn’t take part in ACE.

ACE served 1,258 low-skilled individuals in nine sites across four states: Maryland, Connecticut, Georgia and Texas. The individuals who received ACE services were randomly selected from a group of potential participants, ensuring that results were due to the impact of ACE services.

The Random Control Trial (RCT) evaluation was conducted by ICF, an independent, international research, evaluation, and technical assistance firm.

Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development administered the five-year initiative in five Maryland jurisdictions [Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Upper Shore] and cities in three other states.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, headquartered in Baltimore, provided the genesis for the ACE grant, encouraging workforce areas to combine efforts with local community colleges, providing technical assistance, and convening support for the program.

“Baltimore County’s leadership helped demonstrate how ACE can be an effective, evidence-based workforce development model for the entire country,” added Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz.   


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017