Introducing Our Celebratory Blog Series: Showcasing the Remarkable Achievements of Maryland’s Award-Winning Counties!
Join us on an exciting journey as we embark on a special blog series dedicated to honoring the exceptional accomplishments of the counties that triumphed in the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2023 Achievement Awards. Each week, we will shine a well-deserved spotlight on a few remarkable counties, delving into their accomplishments, innovative initiatives, and the profound impact they have had on their communities. Let’s dive in!
Personnel Management, Employment, and Training
Baltimore County – BCSTAT Data Fellowship Program
Baltimore County Government intentionally fosters a data-driven culture to create accountability, improve performance, ensure data quality, and increase government transparency. As the County’s performance management program, BCSTAT’s mission is to incorporate data into decision-making and apply data-driven analysis to operations across the County. BCSTAT spearheads this effort through Stat review sessions, tool and resource development, and departmental support, among many other activities. The BCSTAT Data Fellowship Program, developed in 2021, is a recent initiative that further enhances Baltimore County’s data-driven culture by expanding the data skills and capacity within County departments. BCSTAT hires individuals seeking data roles and provides a one-year learning experience where they can practice and strengthen their data skills while becoming familiar with County operations. Those fellows are then given the opportunity to seek permanent employment with County government after their fellowship. By recruiting and training data fellows, the Fellowship Program strengthens data expertise across County departments while offering a robust and effective workforce development program that has expanded the pool of qualified, data-driven professionals within Baltimore County’s workforce.
Howard County – Cultural Intelligence & Diversity Training
Cultural Intelligence & Diversity Training is an original 60-90 minute workshop created by Claudia Allen in Howard County’s Office of Human Rights & Equity (OHRE). This presentation is specifically for the enrichment and development of the staff and officers serving on the Howard County Police Department (HCPD). This training gives staff, officers, and dispatchers an understanding of the impact of environment and experience on bias, increases their awareness of the role of culture in their interactions with diverse people, provides knowledge on the 2021 Cultural Statistics of Howard County, knowledge on the cultural implications of Howard County’s behavioral health statistics, and reinforces community policing.
Montgomery County – Montgomery County Government Delivers Mentorship Experience
Montgomery County Government (MCG) Delivers: The Mentoring Experience is a group mentoring program created by and for County employees. The program aims to increase knowledge sharing and interdepartmental networking, foster career and leadership skills, enhance employee engagement and well-being, and grow a mentoring culture. A cohort of employees developed, piloted and assessed the mentoring program in the summer of 2021 before transitioning it to the Office of Human Resources (OHR). OHR recruits employees to participate in this six-week group mentoring program. Interested employees fill out a survey, and the responses are then used to match mentees and mentors into small groups. Over six weeks, the groups meet once a week for an hour. Participants are given resources to support their mentoring sessions, including discussion guides for sessions covering topics such as career development and improving hard and soft skills. The experience has been well-received by employees. Surveys show that 90% of the mentees said the mentoring relationship positively impacted their career development, and 90% of the mentors said the relationship improved their leadership and coaching skills.
Howard County – Christian Jail Ministry
During and following the COVID pandemic, Howard County Detention Center worked with Christian Jail Ministries (CJM) to provide religious services to the offender population. Since that time, volunteers from CJM have conducted Sunday worship services. They also conduct weekly Bible studies for male and female offenders. Some services and study classes are taught in Spanish. They conduct group and one-on-one disciple training and protocol counseling. During Christmas, they host an Angel Tree to ensure every offender’s child receives a gift. CJM gives offenders Bibles and other religious materials. Occasionally, CJM hosts poetic and oratorical activities and special music programs. In 2022, CJM began a Grief and Bereavement class for offenders dealing with the loss of a loved one. CJM will also minister to staff if needed.
Howard County – Scott Lawrence, Volunteer
“We have a rich tradition in utilizing Howard County’s committed volunteers in a diverse and beneficial way so that participation increases the quality of our program offerings and facilities. We provide endless opportunities for volunteers to give back and are forever grateful for their time and talent, as well as their willingness to help us build a better Howard County.”
Together, let’s explore the remarkable stories behind these award-winning counties, and draw inspiration from their passion, creativity, and commitment to making a positive difference. View all 2023 NACo Achievement Award winners through their interactive and searchable map. View our full series of 2023 Maryland Award Winners.