The State will provide $12 million total in grants to local education agencies to help establish an industry-aligned apprenticeship infrastructure in-line with the goals of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is launching Maryland Works, a grant program “to make an unprecedented investment in establishing an industry-aligned youth apprenticeship infrastructure for Maryland schools and business sectors.”
Maryland Works is aligned with the State’s ambitious goals under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Blueprint) — Maryland’s landmark education policy reform initiative — to prepare all public school students for college or careers by high school graduation. A press release reads:
Through this initiative, Maryland continues to move toward a more equitable future and meet the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future goals of graduating 45% of high-school students having completed an apprenticeship and earning an industry-recognized credential.
Through the new program, up to $12 million total in grants will be awarded for work “focused on two high-leverage strategies: Designing and Developing an Infrastructure to Expand the Quality and Proliferation of Apprenticeship Programs; and Launching an Innovative Apprenticeship Intermediary for LEAs and Industry at Regional and Statewide Levels.”
State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury commented:
‘In the 21st century, the path to a credential, a stable income and a gateway to wealth-building is through youth apprenticeships. Right now, the numbers are not there – in 2021, only about 7% of Maryland graduates completed an apprenticeship and earned an industry-recognized credential. The critical path for Maryland to increase this number is to invest in the infrastructure necessary to support school districts and industry as they launch and scale apprenticeships. Maryland Works will help school districts create permanent structures, systems, processes, and support mechanisms to ensure that all students, especially those from historically underserved communities, have access to the career paths they need to reach their full potential.’
MSDE is using American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Elementary and Secondary School Relief Funds (ESSER III) aid to fund Maryland Works.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh praised the innovative program, saying:
‘The Maryland Works grant program is a great example of how creative American Rescue Plan investments in education will help lift our schools out of the pandemic and sustain progress for years to come. Youth apprenticeship programs are pivotal to creating and sustaining robust workforce pipelines that align with industry needs and drive economic success. This program is a model for the nation and will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on Maryland’s pandemic recovery and the future of Maryland’s students.’
Counties are at the forefront of apprenticeship programs, workforce development, and education and career readiness. Counties can leverage these priorities and existing work to partner with the State on Maryland Works and similar programs. Doing so not only prepares kids for future success, it helps fill critical gaps in the work force, and moves local education agencies in-line with the goals of the Blueprint.
At MACo’s Winter Conference session, “Public Education 101: Key Partners for Success,” speakers will explore the role of local government in supporting public education, especially as the state embarks on the implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD from January 4-6, 2023 (with a pre-conference orientation for new county officials on January 3).
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