Howard County Schools Launch Website for PIA Requests

Howard County schools interim superintendent Michael Martirano emphasized the need for transparency at a press conference Friday that formally launched the school system’s new Maryland Public Information Act request website.

The Baltimore Sun reports,

The website, which has been live since July 1, allows users to submit a request to access school system public records and documents as allowed under Maryland’s Public Information Act. Users can also view previously submitted requests and their completion status, which Martirano said is meant to help decrease the number of redundant requests the school system receives.

There have been 12 requests submitted since the site was created, one of which has been completed, 10 are “in progress” and one is “submitted.” Names of the requesters are not included on the site, something Martirano said the school system purposefully did so users would not be discouraged from submitting requests.

Danielle Lueking serves as the school system’s new senior communications specialist and Maryland Public Information Act representative. Lueking, who was hired this year, is charged with overseeing the review and completion of the requests.

Read the full article for more information.

Anne Arundel School Board Elects New Leadership

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Wednesday elected Vice President Julie Hummer as president for the 2017-18 school year.

According to The Capital Gazette,

“I think she’s the most qualified person we have on the board right now, or certainly the most available,” said Hummer’s predecessor Stacy Korbelak, who served as president for three years. “We’re really grateful that she can do that for us.”

Board member Terry Gilleland, who represents District 32, was elected vice president. Hummer said she looks forward to working with him.

“He’s a dedicated board member, he’s always prepared and we work well together,” she said.

Hummer and Gilleland aren’t the only people assuming new roles on the board, as Lusia Cole, a rising senior at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School and the 44th student member of the board, also broke new ground by attending her first meeting as a full voting rights board member Wednesday.

Read the full article for more information.

Garrett College Enacts Border State Tuition Rate

Garrett College has enacted a border state tuition rate for the four West Virginia and two Pennsylvania counties that border Garrett County. The rate — $235 per credit hour — is a $35-per-credit-hour reduction over the out-of-state rate the college normally charges and applies to residents of Somerset and Fayette counties in Pennsylvania and Preston, Tucker, Mineral and Grant counties in West Virginia.

Cumberland News-Times reports,

Richard Midcap, college president, said the college is seeking to expand access to postsecondary education to the residents of the affected counties.

“While our primary mission is to serve Garrett County residents, we want to be as accessible as possible to other potential students from neighboring states,” said Midcap. “A resident of one of these counties can use this rate to save about $2,100 in tuition while earning an associate degree from Garrett College.”

A new state law authorizing lower tuition rates at Maryland community colleges for residents of counties contiguous to Maryland counties with community colleges was championed by Sen. George Edwards and Del. Wendell Beitzel, who represent Garrett County.

The Admissions Office is available at or by calling 301-387-3044. Potential students may also go to to learn more about programs, residence housing and other areas of interest.

Read the full article for more information.

Article Delves Into Problems with American Career Training Programs

An article in the City Journal finds that career and technical training programs in the United States fail to prepare students for high paying job opportunities.

A former Qualcomm executive who’d grown concerned about how hard it was for San Diego tech firms to find qualified workers founded High Tech High schools that use project-based learning instead of textbooks, according to the City Journal.

As described in the City Journal, other countries have career and technical training programs that draw top talent and prepare students for high-income earning positions.

By contrast, the article finds,

Career and technical training in the U.S. hasn’t evolved to keep up with the transformation of the modern economy—with many schools even slashing funding for vocational education. Worse, parents, guidance counselors, and even politicians keep pushing students to enter four-year college programs that provide no clear paths to employment. Meantime, jobs in traditional blue-collar trades—from manufacturing to automobile repair—have grown more sophisticated and demanding. A huge gap between job seekers’ skills and employers’ needs has resulted.

The article also shares how partnerships between industry and education systems can enhance career and technical training programs.

For more on this perspective, and examples of programs that are pushing a new form of career and technical training, see Vocational Ed, Reborn.

The MACo Summer Conference will feature a session on the topic of career and technical training and Maryland’s programs:

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads: Let Career Training Transport Maryland Students
It’s back to the future for Maryland’s students. Not all need a college degree to succeed, but training will be key. Schools are changing course to prepare students for a new economy. And even for those who pursue higher education, technical skills are an asset. Hear how high schools are incorporating careers into the classroom through partnership with industry experts, and programs that provide job training and certifications.


  • Rhonda Hinch, Cadet Coordinator, Harford County Volunteer Fire Department
  • Lynne Gilli, Assistant State Superintendent Division of Career and College Readiness, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Michael Thomas, Director, Office of Learning to Work, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Kristine Pearl, Supervisor Career and Technology Education, Frederick County Public Schools

Moderator: Jim Rosapepe, Maryland State Senate

Date/Time: Saturday, August 19, 2017; 9:00 am – 10:00 am

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


Round Up the (Un) Usual Suspects – There’s a Broader Pool of People for Your Tech Hiring Needs at #MACoCon

MACo’s Summer Conference will be August 16-19, 2017. The theme is “You’re Hired!” and sessions will focus on economic development and ways counties can contribute to job growth in Maryland. Part of that discussion will focus on TechHire, the federal initiative that aims to to equip Marylanders with the skills they need to land jobs in the tech industry. In a session exploring this issue, participants will learn more about the TechHire initiative, including how local governments in Maryland can benefit from the program.

Round Up the (Un) Usual Suspects – There’s a Broader Pool of People for Your Tech Hiring

TechHire, an initiative powered by Opportunity@Work in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, is a nationwide, community-based movement that helps underrepresented and overlooked job seekers start technology careers. TechHire works with community partners and education providers that teach in-demand skills to people who want to take part in the modern economy—from overlooked youth, to veterans, to the long-term unemployed. Then, TechHire helps them find jobs by connecting them to a network of employers looking for tech talent. In this session, attendees will learn how to implement TechHire in their communities.


  • Keyon Smith, Community Engagement Manager, Opportunity@Work
  • Kati Townsley, Executive Director, Carroll Technology Council
  • Tracey Turner, Executive Director, Howard Tech Council
  • Denise L. Beaver, Deputy Director, Carroll County Economic Development

Date/Time: Thursday, August 17, 2017; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

MACo’s Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. Read more about this session and others in our registration brochure.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

How State Apprenticeships Could Ease Staffing Woes

It’s not unusual for firefighters and police officers to start their careers as apprentices. Some state agencies are also embracing the training strategy.

As state agencies face a wave of retirements, training programs such as apprenticeships can help fill open positions, give workers the skills they need, and reduce turnover. In Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe set aside funds in 2015 to expand federally registered apprenticeships at state agencies.

According to Route Fifty,

“It makes perfect sense for state agencies or county governments to utilize registered apprenticeships,” says Patricia Morrison, the division director at the Virginia Department of Labor who leads the state’s efforts to expand apprenticeships. The programs create a pipeline of younger, entry-level workers who will eventually replace retirees, she said.

Nationally, more than half a million apprentices are registered with the federal government, and many more — potentially up to a million — are employed in unregistered programs. Registered programs have to meet certain standards, and apprentices who complete such programs receive a journey worker credential that’s recognized by industry and the U.S. Department of Labor.

There’s no way to know the precise number of apprentices — registered or unregistered — working for state and local governments because of differences in how states track and report apprenticeship enrollment. But many police and fire departments use apprenticeships to train new recruits. Some local governments use apprentices to train technicians, such as the men and women who maintain water treatment plants.

All About the Credentials

Anthony Larry, 32, was one of the more talkative students in the road construction and drainage class that met recently at John Tyler Community College. He raised his hand repeatedly, and at one point he swung a foot swaddled in bandages — he’d injured it playing rugby — up onto the desk in front of him to elevate it.

He learned about the state’s apprenticeship for highway construction inspectors while working in maintenance at the Virginia Department of Transportation. Although becoming an apprentice meant taking a pay cut, he jumped at the chance to get on track to a higher-paying profession and take college courses for free. “Down the road, it opens so many doors,” he said of the program.

Apprentice pay varies throughout the state. In the Richmond area, pay for apprentice inspectors starts at $37,500 a year, and pay for inspectors starts at $42,000 a year, according to the department.

Transportation department inspectors monitor road building and repair projects, ensuring the work is structurally sound and the government is being billed properly. They need to know everything about road construction, from how to work with different types of soil to relevant environmental law.

Over the two-year program, Larry and his fellow apprentices, who are currently in their first year, will spend most of their time working under a senior inspector. They’re paid for their time spent in class, earning college credits they can put toward a degree or certifications they can show to future employers. They receive a journey worker credential when they complete the program, which they can use to find work in other states.

Creating an apprenticeship program was easy because the agency had a long-standing training program that already met the classroom and work-hour requirements for a federally registered apprenticeship. The agency had just never formally worked with the state Department of Labor to register the program.

“We were looking for an opportunity to take a training program that we had and align it with the governor’s intention to increase the number of workforce credentials in the state of Virginia,” said Bill Danzeisen, the transportation department’s technical training manager.

In 2015 the department registered its program and began using the community college system as a training partner, rather than the consultants it had used before. The agency took advantage of McAuliffe’s executive order, which set aside $120,000 to help state agencies create apprenticeships — parceled out as $1,000 per apprentice, up to $10,000 per program.

The money only covered part of the additional cost of the new program structure, Danzeisen said. Still, he said, the apprenticeship will pay off for both the department and its contractors. Some trainees will eventually leave for jobs in the private sector, but chances are they’ll return to the agency at another point in their career.

And the apprenticeship program is popular. Last year, 600 people applied for 40 open positions. Currently about a hundred people are enrolled.

Danzeisen says he’d like to add more apprenticeships. About eight months ago the department created a one-year apprenticeship for transportation operators, who do maintenance and drive heavy equipment. In the future, the agency may work with career and technical high schools to create an apprenticeship for vehicle mechanics.

Cost and Culture Challenges

For other state agencies, finding the money for an apprenticeship program is more complicated. In California, for instance, an apprenticeship program for nurses who work in the state prison system wouldn’t exist without help from a state grant.

The 34 licensed vocational nurses currently enrolled in the one-year apprenticeship are paid to work 20 hours a week and also are paid to study at a community college 20 hours a week. When they complete the program, they’ll be ready to become registered nurses and get a big salary bump. Ideally, they’ll continue to work for the state.

There are more than a hundred openings for registered nurses across the prison system that the state is desperate to fill. California Correctional Health Care Services and the Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents state workers, hope that the apprenticeship program will help develop a staff of prison nurses who are likely to stay in their jobs for longer.

“Working with prisoners is not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea,” said Joyce Hayhoe, director of legislation and communications for California’s inmate health care system. Turnover in some positions can be high, and it’s costly to recruit new nurses and train them to work in a prison environment.

The state grant will only cover the cost of training three groups of apprentices over three years, union officials say. And it doesn’t cover all the costs of the program. The prison health care system has to pay other licensed vocational nurses overtime or use contractors to fill in for the apprentices while they’re in class.

Hayhoe says the agency decided that the expense was worth it. But expanding the program will depend on whether the agency can secure more funding.

In Virginia, not all agencies have embraced apprenticeships. Only four took advantage of the governor’s incentive money: the transportation department, the University of Virginia, George Mason University, and Morrison’s own division at the Department of Labor. “One thousand dollars per apprentice is not that big of a selling point,” she said.

Morrison says the agency officials she talks to tend to be worried about the logistics of creating and managing an apprenticeship program. Human resources managers usually want to hire people who are ready to hit the ground running, and it can be hard to convince them to embrace training, she said.

Danzeisen says he hasn’t heard of any state transportation agency embracing apprenticeships the way Virginia’s has, although many officials he bumps into at regional and national conferences say they’d like to try. “A lot of the questions are, ‘How do you get started?’ ” he said.

He noted that an apprenticeship that works well for one agency in one state might not work as well elsewhere. In some states, highway maintenance and construction happens at the county and city level rather than the state level. Transportation agencies in such states might not need so many inspectors, he said.

Read the full article for more information.

College-bound Millennial: Local Government “Needs To Hear Youth”

In a particularly well-written Letter to the Editor in today’s Baltimore Sun, recent high school graduate Julianne McFarland discusses how important it is for youth to get involved in local government.

From her letter:

Seated in the back of the Baltimore City Council’s chambers, wearing shorts and T-shirts — a bit underdressed for the occasion, perhaps — I watched as two of my friends from high school took in their first City Council meeting, dutifully tracking the progress of every bill and resolution being debated.

I am proud to be a native Baltimorean, yet I didn’t step inside City Hall myself, or closely follow city politics, until May, when I started an internship with Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. A few Monday’s ago, I carted my friends — who were equally ignorant of our local government’s goings on — along to work with me.

After the meeting, as we exited City Hall into the humid Baltimore evening, I asked them what they thought.

“It was cool,” said Max Jacobs, 18, who will be attending Dickinson College in the fall. “I’ve never been able to see government actually happen before. I didn’t know that’s how it worked.”

Like a lot of people our age, Max has often felt disconnected from local government. I know because I have too.

Feeling detached from local government is particularly easy when you are young. As non-voting, or barely legal, members of the community, it is easy to feel as though the adults in charge will not take the time to hear your thoughts. This coupled with the fact that many simply don’t know how to get involved is a strong deterrent for kids who might want to participate.

Millennials in Adulthood, a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center, found that my generation has “a different relationship with politics than other generations” and that we’re “less likely than previous generations to identify with either major political party.”

The city needs to hear youth voices, and it is not difficult to make your voice heard. Young people were a major reason the City Council was able to boost youth spending by more than $13 million. Hundreds of youth attended budget hearings, rallied in front of City Hall, and inundated their City Council members with calls and emails demanding additional funding.

It’s time more of us joined them. So to the kids my age and younger, I say get involved at City Hall. Attend a City Council session. Call and schedule meetings to talk about your priorities with your representative on the council. It’s not nearly as intimidating or as scary as you might think.

And no one knows better how to improve an after school program or other enrichment activities than the youth who are in these programs.

Her article is available here.

The theme of MACo’s 2017 Summer Conference is “You’re Hired!” and will discuss issues such as how to incorporate Millennials into the workforce. The panel, “Dude, What’s My Job?”- Understanding, Attracting, and Retaining Your Millennial Workforce, is scheduled for Friday, August 18, from 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm in Ocean City, MD. Read more about that panel, and others, in our registration brochure.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Kirwan Commission Discusses Teachers, Instructional Systems

The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education held its most recent meeting last week in Annapolis. Known as the Kirwan Commission because it is chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, the Commission focused on developing world-class, highly coherent instructional systems and creating clear gateways for students through the system, with no dead ends.

One interesting takeaway came from Jack R. Smith, Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools. Dr. Smith discussed efforts to improve the teaching profession and stressed that the Commission “should not blow up the system,” and that any changes should be gradual and well-thought-out. Dr. Smith suggested implementing “authentic career ladders that involve higher education in ongoing professional development of both teachers and teacher educators.”

The Commission also heard testimony from Marc Tucker, President and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy. Mr. Tucker discussed Maryland’s standards, assessments, and curriculum. According to Mr. Tucker, “Maryland’s standards, assessments, and curriculum supports compare favorably to those of many if not most American states [and] Maryland is far ahead of many other states in providing support to teachers to help them teach to the new standards and in providing support in high school to students who fail to reach high school standards.”

However, Mr. Tucker recommended setting up a system that allows all students to take the
courses they need to meet the college and career standards at the end of 10th grade, not 11th
grade. According to Mr. Tucker, implementing this system would ensure more students would be ready for success in Maryland’s community colleges, increasing enrollment and greatly improving completion rates. Furthermore, because many Maryland students would be ready to take a full two-year degree program in grades 11 and 12 of high school, Maryland families would save a great deal of money.

Click here to view the meeting materials from last week’s meeting.

The 2016 Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was created by legislation introduced in the General Assembly. The Commission membership parallels that of the earlier Thornton Commission. MACo is entitled to two representatives on the Commission, under the legislation.

Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, MACo’s Education Subcommittee Chair, and Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine, MACo’s Education Subcommittee Vice Chair, represent MACo on the Commission.

The Commission’s next meeting, which will focus on resource equity, will be held on Monday, July 26, 2017; 9:30 am-5:30 pm, at 120 House Office Building (House Appropriations Committee Room), 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, Maryland.

For more information, contact Kevin Kinnally at MACo.

Howard County Libraries to Launch Lending Ukulele Kits

The Howard County Library wants everyone to know, you “Toucan” play a ukulele.

On July 1, the library system will reveal its first do-it-yoursef kits starring the four-string instrument, a case and a tuner along with its symbol for the program, a toucan strumming a ukulele.

According to The Howard County Times,

“We’re having some fun with this,” said Valerie Gross, president and CEO of the library system. “Who doesn’t like the ukulele?”

Library patrons 13 years or older can check a kit out for three weeks from either the Miller, Glenwood, Central or Savage branches. Each location has six kits to lend. Online lessons will be available via ArtistWorks, an online premium research tool, according to Gross.

“It is the best and easiest string instrument to learn,” said Jessica Landolt, children’s instructor and research specialist for the library system. “You feel success right off the bat.”

Landolt has been playing the ukulele since she was a child in Guam. When she joined the library system, she used both the ukulele and guitar in her classes and held a program for staff about integrating music into classes using the ukulele.

In September, several classes will be offered on the ukulele, covering everything from basic chords to the instrument’s history and place in pop culture, Landolt said. One class will end with the participants performing a small concert.

The library’s program launches with a You “Toucan” Uke Showcase July 1, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Glenwood, Miller and Savage branches; and from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Central Branch. For more information, call 410-313-7750.

Supporting Success Through Holistic Workforce Development

Counties are working hard to promote strong workforce development programs. They operate or partner with programs that provide a holistic approach to helping vulnerable residents overcome barriers and prepare for and find good paying jobs. Learn more about how counties and nonprofit agencies are empowering citizens and boosting the workforce at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference.

Second Chance for Workplace Success – A Good Program is Good for Your County

Description: Programs to provide workforce development are the foundation of a healthy economy. County social services agencies are championing workforce development by assisting low wage workers and job seekers with their employment-related challenges; from job coaching, training, and apprenticeships to family counseling, case management, expungements, and personal presentation. By preparing these individuals to succeed in the workforce, public and private programs are working together to develop a community built on self-reliant individuals. Results from these programs often include decreased costs for county governments, and – more importantly – a diversified and healthy community thriving in a more economically stable environment. This session will showcase innovative practices counties and communities are using to incentivize, train, and support many of Maryland’s vulnerable and overlooked residents.


  • D. Michael Piercy, Jr., LCSW-C, Director, Washington County Department of Social Services
  • Melissa Jones-Harris, Child Support Lead Supervisor, Caroline County Department of Social Services
  • Carnitra D. White, Director, Anne Arundel Department of Social Services
  • Caryn York, Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF)

Moderator: The Honorable Cory McCray, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Thursday, August 17, 2017; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The MACo summer conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme is “You’re Hired!”.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: