Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: workforce development

Job Connector will help workers get “job ready” to fill vacancies

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has launched Job Connector, 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.

“We are bringing an employer-focused, supply-and-demand strategy to workforce development,” said Kamenetz.

The Job Connector Difference

Most government workforce development systems start with the job seeker. This often leads to people completing training and getting certifications in fields where there are no local job openings.

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 can reduce the gap between the skills job seekers have and the skills employers need,” said Kamenetz.

The County-funded initiative will start with programs in healthcare, corporate operations/customer service, and trade apprenticeships in fields allied with business growth at Tradepoint Atlantic on Sparrows Point.

Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development is partnering with employers, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), business, union and trade groups to develop flexible, rapid response training and expanded apprenticeship programs.

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 will deploy customized tool kits to help career counselors guide job seekers to training and job openings in these high-demand fields.  

“As Job Connector moves forward, we will be expanding our work with Baltimore County Public Schools and higher education partners, as well as reaching out to trade associations, the faith community and other partners to multiply our efforts,” said Will Anderson, director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.

For more information go to

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz issued the following statement about the closure of Sam’s Club on Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. The closure eliminates jobs for the store’s 169 employees.  

“Donald Trump promised us that giving 100s of billions in tax cuts to big businesses would grow the economy. He lied again. I am reaching out to Walmart this morning to make sure they live up to their responsibilities to assist employees at Sam’s Club who have worked hard to benefit the company. The County will also provide assistance in securing jobs for these hard working people to keep them from the unemployment line.”

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