Counties Support Innovative Year of Service Bill to Support Workforce Development

On February 23, 2023, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee in support of SB 0551 – Education – Service Year Option Program – Establishment (Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration Act of 2023) with amendments.

The bill’s cross-file, HB 546, was heard on February 21 in the Appropriations Committee.

SB 511 establishes a new State Department of Service and Civic Innovation, as well as the Service Year Option Program to fund the Department and its operations. Whether it be at the state or local level, Maryland is struggling to hire and retain public sector employees.

Counties commend this legislation’s intent to strengthen the pipeline of talent into government across the board, and ask that the General Assembly expand the focus of SB 511 to include not just placement in the areas of climate, education, and health, but also to volunteer and professional firefighters and other first responders.

From the MACo Testimony:

As prime employers and major frontline-service providers across Maryland, counties remain ready to continue addressing public workforce needs, including through the mechanism envisioned in SB 511 / HB 546. Counties do believe, however, that the bill – and Marylanders – would best be served with a friendly amendment to add to the short list of priority service placements:


These should include, but not be limited to: first responders, public and environmental health professionals, and public works and trade-skilled positions.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database

Learn more about MACo’s 2023 Legislative Initiatives

Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog