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Keyword: jobs

Commits More Than $10 Million in Grants to Protect Jobs, Small Businesses and Artists; CCBC to Launch Online Contact Trace Investigator Training Program

County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a series of economic relief efforts to support small businesses and individuals impacted by the severe financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • Baltimore County announces $10 million in new grant funding for small businesses
  • County offers $100,000 in grants to assist professional artists, musicians and performers  
  • Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) to launch online contact trace investigator training program  

Baltimore County Announces $10 Million in New Grant Funding For Small Businesses 

To support Baltimore County’s small businesses, Olszewski announced the County has allocated $10 million in new grant funding for the Baltimore County COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants Program. 

“Small businesses are a critical link of our county’s economy, and we must do all that we can to support them in meeting their basic needs during this crisis,” said County Executive Olszewski. “As we move toward economic recovery, these grants will provide a critical bridge to Baltimore County small businesses who have not received other forms of assistance.” 

The Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) will administer the Baltimore County COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants Program, which will award grants of up to $15,000 each to more than 650 Baltimore County-based small businesses on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The County has set a goal to award at least 25 percent of grant funding to women and minority-owned businesses. 

The County will fund these small business relief grants through the Economic Development Revolving Financing Fund, and intends to pursue emergency disaster reimbursement from the federal government.  

Grant Criteria, Application and Terms   

Grant applications will be posted on the DEWD website and will be accepted beginning May 11, 2020. To qualify for this grant program, small businesses must retain at least half of the workforce they had prior to January 31, 2020, which must have included at least two non-owner employees prior to Maryland’s Stay-at-Home Order. They must also: 

  • have at least two employees who are not owners or part-owners,
  • have no more than 25 employees per Baltimore County establishment,
  • demonstrate that they have lost at least 40 percent of their revenues since the Stay-at-Home Order began,
  • have been in operation for at least one year as of January 1, 2020, and commenced operations by December 31, 2018 or earlier, and
  • certify that they have not received other forms of federal or state COVID-19 assistance or relief at the time of application, and
  • be in good standing and not in default with the State of Maryland and Baltimore County.

Grant funds may only be used for payroll, operating expenses, business lease or rent, and inventory acquisition vital to the business, with at least 30 percent of the funds used to support payroll for non-owners. Funds may not be used for capital improvements or personal expenses, and if a business fails to reopen, all grant funds must be returned to the County within 14 days.

For more information, please visit baltimorecountybusiness.com or email COVIDbizrelief@baltimorecountymd.gov.

County Offers Grants to Assist Professional Artists, Musicians and Performers  

As part of his commitment to the local arts community, County Executive Olszewski is making available $100,000 to provide $1,000 stipends for up to 100 artists to help them recoup some of their financial losses due to the pandemic.

Grants will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted, and priority will be given to lower income artists, making $37,500 or less per year. Applicants will submit a streamlined application, document their artistic portfolio, and must be adult Baltimore County residents over the age of 18. The application process will open on May 11, 2020 and details will be available on the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences web page

Once approved, artists may use these grants for a number of purposes, including recouping losses from canceled performances and events, art-related travel expenses, lost teaching opportunities and loss of supplemental income for artists working in the service industry. 

Informational Resources for Businesses 

The Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) has complied an overview of resources and assistance available to affected employers and employees. This information is available on the Department’s website, baltimorecountybusiness.com

CCBC to Launch Online Contact Trace Investigator Training Program  

 In addition, Olszewski announced a partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County to launch a training program for contact trace investigators. 

Federal and state guidelines have indicated that significant contact tracing capacity will be a critical component of any efforts to reopen businesses and other institutions, and the training course will allow individuals to become proficient in this field as those jobs begin to become available. 

“At CCBC, we take pride in our ability to develop short-term training that can quickly prepare people for in-demand jobs,” said CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “We are happy to participate in this partnership which will help secure the health and safety of our community as well as generate a pool of specially-trained candidates for new employment opportunities.” 

The primary training component will be an online course that is free to participants and consists of three training modules. Participants will be required to register and will work at their own pace, but the course could be completed in as little as three hours. Individuals who complete the course will still be required to complete any other training requirements set forth by an entity that hires them. 

Baltimore County’s Department of Health and Human Services anticipates a need to hire 60 additional contact trace investigators by July 2020 to fill temporary positions.

In Baltimore County, those positions will require at least an associate degree as well as proven experience in customer service, strong communication skills, and knowledge of community resources. The County will also seek to fill a number of the positions with individuals who speak both English and Spanish. 

Currently, the County has 52 staff members performing contact tracing—most of whom were shifted to their roles from other positions within the Health Department or from Baltimore County Public School Health Services. 

For additional information on the training course, visit CCBC's website.


FY21 Budget Released Amid Significant Economic Uncertainty Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic

Amid the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today submitted to the County Council a $3.9 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021 that prioritizes fundamental commitments to providing quality education, keeping neighborhoods safe and supporting the County’s workforce to ensure residents can continue to receive essential government services.

The proposed budget for FY21 reflects an approximate $40 million write-down from earlier revenue estimates, due to the growing economic impact of the pandemic, while also providing funds for key priorities that will move Baltimore County forward, including economic opportunity, sustainability, healthy and safe communities, and transparent and accountable government.

“This is not the budget I hoped to present, but it is the one that meets the moment. We are laser-focused on responding to the immediate needs of this crisis even as we prepare our County for the long-term economic recovery.” Olszewski said. “We will get through this together, continuing to build toward our vision for a better Baltimore County for us all.”

Budget Highlights

In a virtual address to the County Council, Olszewski highlighted record investments in education and support for key priorities that will move Baltimore County forward. The total proposed Operating Budget is $3.9 billion.

Below are highlights of the FY21 budget County Executive Olszewski submitted to the Baltimore County Council.

Education

  • Provides record funding for education for the second year in a row. Total proposed education budget is more than $2 billion. The proposed BCPS budget is nearly $36 million above FY20 funding levels and $20 million over Maintenance of Effort (MOE).
  • Provides a one percent cost-of-living increase for all Baltimore County Public Schools employees, effective July 1, 2020.
  • Provides more than $1 million to hire additional school counselors and support staff to help address the mental health, social and emotional needs of our students.
  • Provides funding to support the Early College High School program at Woodlawn High School and the Pathways in Technology program at Dundalk High School.
  • Protects Baltimore County’s portion of capital funding for all remaining Schools for our Future projects, which cannot move forward until the state provides its share of funding from the Built to Learn Act.

Healthy and Safe Communities

  • Provides funding to realize critical components of County Executive Olszewski’s public safety plan, including support for the Real Time Crime Center and focused enforcement initiatives.
  • Provides the first phase of funding for a second set of turnout gear for firefighters.
  • Provides capital funding for two, new school-based Police Athletic League (PAL) Centers through the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Transparent, Accountable Government

  • Retains a 10.3 percent fund balance—critical for maintaining the County’s bond ratings.
  • Provides funding for full implementation of Baltimore County’s newly operational 311 program.
  • Expands the Baltimore County Office of Ethics and Accountability.
  • Creates an Audit Compliance Unit to ensure that audit findings are effectively deployed to improve County operations and help track tens of millions of dollars in COVID-related expenditures.

Vibrant, Livable Communities

  • Provides a previously announced, two percent cost-of-living increase for all County employees effective June 30, 2020. The proposed budget also includes a previously negotiated two percent cost‐of‐living increase for County employees, effective January 1, 2021.
  • Provides funds for planning and implementation of the Towson Circulator pilot program, leveraging a $1.6 million federal grant.
  • Provides funding to resume glass recycling, which the prior administration suspended.
  • Adds $1 million to support volunteer fire companies.
  • Provides new funding for park acquisition and a more equitable distribution of park and recreational infrastructure.

Economic Opportunity

  • Provides funding to expand employer-driven workforce strategies.
  • Freezes in-County tuition at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).
  • Ensures stability of College Promise Program, enabling CCBC to accept approximately 300 additional students.

Commitment to Critical Investments

Under state enabling legislation, the administration will introduce a bill to allow the placement of enforcement cameras on our school buses to more effectively catch drivers who continue to disregard the prohibition on passing stopped school buses. All revenue collected from this effort will be dedicated to support public safety efforts.

As the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to shift, the Office of Budget and Finance will continue to work with the legislative branch during their budget review as the latest information and projections are available.

The County Council is scheduled to vote on the budget on May 21.

View the full text of the County Executive’s FY21 budget message.


Company bringing 150 jobs to Tradepoint Atlantic

Tons of tile and flooring products will soon be imported through the Port of Baltimore to a 1.5 million square foot Floor & Decor distribution center at Tradepoint Atlantic. The center will bring 150 new jobs to Sparrows Point in eastern Baltimore County. 

“This is what 21st century job creation looks like. We are excited to welcome a rapidly growing company like Floor & Decor to the growing list of companies at Tradepoint Atlantic,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

Floor & Decor is a specialty retailer of tile, wood, laminate and natural stone flooring and accessories. Headquartered in Smyrna, Georgia, near Atlanta, their warehouse-format stores are located throughout the United States.

The Floor & Decor distribution center is expected to open at Tradepoint Atlantic in late 2019.

Floor & Decor will receive a $70,000 conditional loan from Baltimore County to support costs of equipment at the facility, including materials handling equipment, racking and IT hardware. The loan must be approved by the Baltimore County Council.  

The state, through the Maryland Department of Commerce, is supporting the project with a $700,000 conditional loan.                                          

Baltimore County Supporting Job Growth

“By continuing to support the businesses of tomorrow, we can continue Sparrows Point’s transformative redevelopment into a vibrant hub for global commerce,” Olszewski said.

The County initiated creation of the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone and established a foreign trade zone to expand global commerce. Through its Job Connector program, Baltimore County is facilitating employee recruitment for companies locating at Tradepoint Atlantic.

In early 2018, Baltimore County was awarded a $20 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation for infrastructure improvements and expansion of aging marine facilities at Tradepoint Atlantic.

Bringing Jobs Back to the Point

“There are more than 17,000 jobs on the horizon when Tradepoint Atlantic is fully developed. There already are more people working at Sparrows Point today than when the steel mill closed there in 2012,” Olszewski said.

Amazon, FedEx Ground, Pasha Automotive, Under Armour and Gotham Greens are among the companies bringing new jobs to Tradepoint Atlantic and Baltimore County.

When fully developed, Tradepoint Atlantic will generate 17,000 permanent jobs in the Baltimore region, plus another 21,000 jobs during construction. Economic impact is projected to top $3 billion by 2025, according to a Sage Policy Group study.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017