Counties Opposed to Potential Prohibitions Limiting Ability to Set Qualification Standards in Hiring

On January 27, 2022, Associate Director Brianna January submitted written testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in opposition of SB 66 Labor and Employment - Hiring - Education Requirements (Give Me A Chance - Job Opportunities Act of 2022). This bill would prohibit counties, as employers, from using level of educational achievement, such as high school or college degree, as a qualifying factor for employment or internal advancement. While the bill does offer some language exempting…

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State Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate Since Start of Pandemic

In December, Maryland continued its uptick in hiring, lowering the State's unemployment rate to its lowest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated employment data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on January 25 showed that Maryland gained 4,700 jobs in October and that the unemployment rate decreased to 5% — the lowest unemployment rate since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Maryland saw a drop of…

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State Fights COVID Surge with $100 Million in Emergency Funding

Maryland will adopt several measures, including the release of $100 million in emergency funding, to combat a recent surge in COVID-19 infections. In addition to committing $100 million toward urgent staffing needs at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes, the days and hours of operations at community testing sites will be expanded and the National Guard will be providing staffing support. Another $30 million will be provided to schools to purchase testing resources. Governor Larry Hogan discussed steps…

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Howard Co. Approves Incentives for Hiring, Retaining Bus Drivers

Howard County is offering financial incentives for hiring and retaining bus drivers. Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced yesterday that the county will offer a series of incentives for current and new bus drivers for the county's public fleet. Ball also said the county will update some hiring and credential processes to lessen the burden on potential drivers. The move comes as the county, like many others, is experiencing a shortage of qualified bus drivers…

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Academy Core: Fellows Learn About Best Practices in Employment at #MACoCon

MACoCon attendees -- who are often deeply involved in the hiring and retention of county employees -- learned about best practices in employment policy as part of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance.  At the 2021 MACo Winter Conference Academy Core Sessions, " Employment Issues," Academy Core participants learned about  preferred employment practices and the legal restrictions involved in hiring, firing, promoting, and disciplining employees. The session course was moderated by Anne Arundel County Council Member…

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Howard Co. Votes to Raise Minimum Wage to Highest in State

The Howard County Council voted yesterday to raise the County's minimum wage by more than $4 per hour by 2025, to the highest level in Maryland. At its December 6 meeting, the Howard County Council approved CB82-2021 to raise the minimum hourly wage from $11.75 per hour to $16 by Jan.1, 2025. The move is expected to affect about 40,000 workers in the county, according to the council. The bill was introduced in early November, to robust debate in…

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Howard Community College and MD Dept. of Labor Partner on $250,000 Apprenticeship Program

Howard Community College (HCC) announced that it has partnered with the Maryland State Department  of Labor to expand apprenticeship programs via a $250,000 state grant. The expanded program will include two new career pathways for students and aspiring professionals: a new surgical technician apprenticeship program to support the increased demand for skilled workers in healthcare and a new CompTIA technology support apprenticeship program for information technology. According to a HCC press release: The expansion of HCC’s apprenticeship program will…

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Montgomery Libraries to Hold Free Job Seeking and Entrepreneurship Couching and Workshops

Throughout the month of December, Montgomery County Public Libraries will host online workshops and one-on-one career coaching geared toward assisting job seekers and entrepreneurs. Every Monday in December from 9:30-11:30 a.m., the Montgomery County Public Library System will hold Helping Individuals Reach Employment (HIRE) for job seekers to meet virtually, one-on-one with career counselors. Register for a one-on-one career counseling session using the links below: Monday, Dec. 6 Monday, Dec. 13 Monday, Dec. 20 Monday, Dec. 27 Additionally, throughout the month…

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Unemployment Hits Lowest in State Since Start of Pandemic

In October, Maryland saw a significant uptick in hiring, dip in unemployment at strongest rate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated employment data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on November 19 showed that Maryland gained 14,900 jobs in October and that the unemployment rate decreased to 5.7% -- the lowest unemployment rate since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Maryland Department of Labor press…

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Anne Arundel Co. Exec Pittman Signs Bill on Minimum Wage Increase, Benefits for Construction Workers

Yesterday, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman signed a bill into law to establish a minimum wage and benefits for construction trade employees. Pittman signed into law Bill 72-21, passed by the county council on October 4, along party lines. Prior, Pittman, County Council members, and labor unions advocated for increased wages and benefits for construction trade professionals that do business with the county. Baltimore City and Baltimore, Montgomery, Charles, and Prince George’s counties have all implemented…

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