State Leaders Share Achievements, Aspirations for Apprenticeships in Maryland

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Maryland DLLR Secretary Schulz presents at the MACo Summer Conference as Maryland Education Secretary Lowery looks on.

At the MACo Summer Conference, education, workforce development, and tech leaders shared progress on new programs and initiatives in connecting Maryland’s youth with careers through apprenticeships.

Delegate Eric G. Luedtke of Montgomery County moderated the session, sharing the legislature’s interest in the area of apprenticeships, and spoke about the bill he co-sponsored last session, HB942 Apprenticeship Maryland, which will create an apprenticeship pilot program beginning in the summer of 2016. Luedtke is a former teacher and a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.

State Superintendent of Schools, Lillian Lowery described how the Governor has assembled everyone around the table to make sure that Apprenticeship Maryland fulfills its aim. In Maryland, we have closely defined the meaning of college-ready, she said, and now through cross-jurisdictional work on Apprenticeship Maryland, we now have the opportunity to define what career-ready means. The College and Career Ready Standards were implemented in Maryland schools in 2013-14.

Secretary Schulz of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation described how under her leadership, her department is expanding the number of apprenticeship programs and the type of apprenticeships.  Beyond the traditional apprenticeships in the skilled trades, they are reaching out to a variety of businesses and looking at best practices in South Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, and abroad. In Maryland, she said, we have the unique opportunity to design an apprenticeship program that suits our economy.

Maryland Association of Community Colleges Executive Director Dr. Bernie Sadusky spoke about the need to adapt to the skill needs of a changing world. He shared how the diversity of the community colleges continues to grow, and the commitment of community colleges to educating and training a diverse student-body through modifications to their delivery instruction, class schedules, and special language offerings. With statistics on the amount of students from community colleges who make Maryland their home, he showed the importance of community college training and education in our communities. With data on salaries and wages for a range of trade careers, he emphasized the value of career training opportunities to community college students.

Prince George’s County CIO, Vennard Wright shared the broad approach that his county is taking towards connecting students to careers and, at the same time, to address the inequities in the number of minorities in technology careers. He described the variety of activities, internships, and programs that the county is implementing as part of a multi-pronged approach to improving opportunities for students. Some of the initiatives, including career days, are low-cost programs that any county could implement.

For more information about this session, see this Press Release from the Maryland State Department of Education.