Baltimore Ranks Among Fastest Growing Cities for Tech Jobs

Baltimore City ranked no. 10 out of 20 on ZipRecruiter’s list of fastest growing tech markets. Time Magazine reports:

Job search site ZipRecruiter recently analyzed its database of more than 8 million active jobs, and ranked the 20 fastest-growing tech markets based on year-over-year data. Job growth for engineering, software, and IT roles may be losing steam in the Bay Area, but smaller cities are picking up the slack, the company says.

“The tech industry is no longer bound to the coast,” says ZipRecruiter’s Chief Economic Adviser, Cathy Barrera. “As a result, we’re seeing the tech industry expand out of the major metropolis areas, and into smaller regional cities that have since flown largely under the radar.”

Barrera credits government policies, like tax breaks that attract entrepreneurs and business startups for much of this growth. But the main impetus, she says, is the skyrocketing cost of living in coastal tech hubs like San Francisco and New York.

The Time’s article notes high rents and slowing markets as a reason tech jobs may be leaving Silicon Valley for smaller cities, but the Baltimore Business Journal shares some local insight on Baltimore City’s ranking:

Baltimore’s top tech jobs include project manager, software engineer, network engineer and software developer. Year-over-year growth in tech jobs here is 109 percent, along with $62,500 in early career median pay, $105,000 in mid-career median pay, $1,375 in median rent and a $196,900 median home price.

The city ranked just behind Jacksonville, Florida on Time’s list, and one spot ahead of Cincinnati. No other local cities made the list. The very top spot went to Huntsville, Alabama.

Baltimore has a growing tech community that has recently seen a number of co-working spaces and startup hubs open. By having various accelerators like Betamore, Spark Baltimore and City Garage to support tech entrepreneurs, more idea makers may feel confident about coming to Baltimore to build a company.

More information:

The 20 Hottest Cities for Tech Jobs Now (Time Magazine)

Baltimore ranks among 20 hottest cities for tech growth — and here’s why (Baltimore Business Journal)

Will You Throw the First Pitch?

Screenshot 2017-06-26 15.05.44
Step up and share your county’s IT needs at MACo’s Summer Conference.

This year’s MACo Conference offers attendees an opportunity to voice county government information technology interests directly to private sector providers in an informal, informational format.

Share challenges & discover capabilities in this new Tech Wednesday offering.

SWITCH PITCH” IGNITE! — Meet Your Match: Solutions to County IT Challenges

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Gain quick insight into what tech can do for county governments in this fast-paced session. County IT and management professionals will state their needs, and vendors in the Tech Expo Tradeshow will respond with their pitch for solving the top tech issues. Attendees will get a chance to learn a little about a lot of vendors in a short period of time. Listen and learn!

Example County Pitches

  1. How do I empower employees to work from home in a secure and productive manner at minimal cost to the County?
  2. There are so many mobile apps in the market. Other than reading through the reviews, how can one determine the overall quality of a mobile app?  Is there a standard to check an app’s quality? What is it?
  3. What and where have been some of the more successful public/private partnerships providing broadband to unserved rural areas?

SIGN UP HERE TO BE A PART OF THIS SESSION Space is limited – Reply by July 19.

Have a pitch, but you are not attending this session?  Contact Robin Clark Eilenberg at MACo.

Tech Wednesday Vendor List

  • AVI-SPL, Inc
  • CDW-G
  • Comcast
  • Commvault
  • Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc.
  • Data Networks of America
  • ePlus Technology Inc.
  • Esri
  • Freedom Broadband
  • Fujitsu America, Inc.
  • GovDeals, Inc.
  • Juniper Networks
  • Lenovo
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Maryland Libraries
  • Maryland Relay
  • Motorola Solutions, Inc.
  • Musco Sports Lighting
  • NIC Maryland
  • Phillips Office Solutions
  • Presidio
  • Prosys Information Systems
  • Regent Development Consulting, Inc. (RDC)
  • Ricoh USA, Inc.
  • Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Rudolph’s Office & Computer Supply, Inc.
  • SAIC
  • ShoreScan Solutions
  • Splunk
  • Sprint
  • Supply Solutions, LLC
  • Tomi Environmental Solutions

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Mayors Poised to Oppose Federal CDBG Cuts

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is considering adopting a resolution at their annual conference to oppose cuts to the federal Community Service Block Grant (CDBG) program.

Route Fifty reports:

Local leaders have been pushing back hard against a proposal in President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget plan to ax the grants. The block grant program, commonly called CDBG, was allotted about $3 billion in a bipartisan budget deal for the current fiscal year.

Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will consider adopting the resolution as the group convenes for its annual meeting this Friday through Monday.

They’ll also consider a resolution opposing the elimination of funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which provides local governments with grants meant to support affordable housing. HOME was allotted about $950 million in the current budget cycle.

Both HOME and CDBG are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

CDBG is an important source of funding for many counties as well. In March, the U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran, National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase, and National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony released a joint statement condemning the cuts:

“Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are the heart, lungs and backbone of cities and counties, small, medium and large. By eliminating or cutting them, the administration mortally wounds the places where the majority of Americans live, work and play.  Such a move risks ending or harming programs that keep Americans safe, help them find better-paying jobs, improve their health and keep public facilities in good shape. It is an attack on places the president said he wanted to help.

“The National Association of Counties and The United States Conference of Mayors visited Congress last week and solidified support for CDBG. The National League of Cities will follow next week. Together, strongly united with the full force of our organizations, we will demand from Congress, representing the people that sent them to Washington, that they take action to speak and vote against any proposal to cut or eliminate this vital and successful federal program.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has been urging counties to contact their members of Congress to support $3.3 billion in funding for CDBG in the FY 2018 appropriations process and it will likely be a topic of conversation at the 2017 NACo Annual Conference.

For more information:

Mayors to Consider Adopting Resolution Against Trump’s Proposed CDBG Cuts (Route Fifty)

Local Elected Officials Stand United Against Attack on Community Development Block Grants (NACo)

Commissioner Highlights Importance of CDBG and HOME at Capitol Hill Roundtable Discussion (NACo)

Trumps Proposed Budget Eliminates 66 Programs, Including “CDBG” (Conduit Street)

NACo Webinar: National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization – What Counties Need to Know

On Monday, June 26, the National Association of Counties (NACo) will host a webinar to educate stakeholders about the potential impact of changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The upcoming webinar titled “National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization: What Counties Need to Know” will provide participants with an overview of the NFIP and how it works. Additionally, the webinar will provide an update about legislation that Congress is developing to reauthorize the program before it expires on September 30, 2017.

Monday’s webinar will feature Caitlin Berni, Vice President for Policy and Communications at Greater New Orleans, Inc., who recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee about the potential impact of changes to the program on communities throughout the United States.

NACo encourages local leaders from communities that participate in the NFIP to register for the webinar by clicking here.

Additional information is available on the NACo website.

Program Aims to Break the Cycle of Poverty With Career Training

As reported in sponsored content in the Baltimore Business Journal,

Screenshot 2017-06-01 19.28.18
Click for video of the UMD program that creates a science pipeline for underrepresented minorities.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is transforming lives in West Baltimore with initiatives like the UMB CURE Scholars Program, a groundbreaking health care pipeline program that serves 65 sixth- and seventh-graders from three middle schools near the University.

The program, in its second year, identifies promising middle school students and prepares them for health care and research careers through hands-on workshops, lab experiences, and mentorship from UMB faculty, students, and staff.

The aim of the program is to break the cycle of poverty in West Baltimore, according to the article.

For more information about the program, see How UMB is trying to break the cycle of poverty in the Baltimore Business Journal.

Trump’s Proposed Budget Eliminates 66 Programs, Including “CDBG”

cdbgAs reported by The Hill, the Trump budget proposal would end many federal programs, including the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Community Development Blog Grants, also known as “CDBG.”

The CDBG cut is one of the program cuts making up $4.123 billion in reductions to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to The Hill. The whole fiscal 2018 budget proposal would eliminate 66 programs for a savings of $26.7 billion, according to The Hill.

As described by MACo’s Associate Director, Natasha Mehu,

Counties in Maryland are eligible for CDBG grants either through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers the grants to non-entitlement counties, or directly through HUD for entitlement counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s). All would be impacted by cuts.

For a list of all of the grants affected, see Here are the 66 programs eliminated in Trump’s budget from The Hill.

‘Vacants to Value’ Successful in Reducing City-Owned Properties

A report evaluating Baltimore City’s Vacants to Value program found that the program was successful in reducing the number of vacant properties owned by the City.

The program, which was launched in 2010, is intended to reduce blight and spur economic activity in city neighborhoods.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The city commissioned the report for $113,930 from the Center for Community Progress, a Flint, Mich.-based nonprofit that focuses on the problem of vacant and abandoned properties. The center worked with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute and Schaefer Center at University of Baltimore to evaluate the program.

Michael Braverman, the acting commissioner of the Department of Housing & Community Development, said the report showed the program has made progress and is worth maintaining, but he expects Mayor Catherine E. Pugh to put her own stamp on it by expanding demolition activity and pushing to include more city departments in the initiative.

Launched in 2010, Vacants to Value steps up code enforcement in areas where homes are vacant or abandoned and encourages developers to rehabilitate those properties.

The new report showed that while the total number of vacant and abandoned homes has gone up since 2010, the number of vacant properties owned by the city has declined.

There were a total of 16,548 vacant and abandoned homes in the city in 2014, 483 more than in 2010.

Over the same time period the number of city-owned vacant properties declined from 3,282 to 2,620, which Seema Iyer, associate director of the Jacob France Institute, said is a sign of the program’s success.

“When the city owns a property, the Vacants to Value program has demonstrated it’s good at getting it in the hands of people who will bring it to good use,” Iyer said.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

Tools to reduce blight and revitalize communities will be discussed at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session entitled, “No Vacancy: Revitalizing Vacant and Blighted Properties.”

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:

Pugh Backs Calls For Multimillion Dollar Investment in Affordable Housing in Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh publicly backed advocates’ calls Saturday for her administration to issue $40 million in bonds annually for affordable housing and deconstruction projects — a move activists say would cut down on the problems of joblessness and homelessness.

As reported by The Baltimore Sun,

About 200 people rallied at Baltimore’s War Memorial Building in favor of the Baltimore Housing Roundtable’s “20/20 Campaign,” which calls for the city to dedicate $20 million in public bonds to an affordable-housing trust fund each year and $20 million in public bonds annually to take down vacant homes and fund projects that create green space.

Pugh told the crowd she is troubled by the levels of homelessness and unemployment she sees in Baltimore.

“We cannot afford to have people living on the streets of our city,” the mayor said. “Regardless of what your status is, everybody deserves a place to live. … The vision for 20/20 is one that I support. When we lift the least, we lift all of us.”

The advocacy group United Workers formed the Baltimore Housing Roundtable in 2013 by bringing together 25 organizations to address affordable-housing issues.

In addition to the $40 million in annual bonds, the group recommends the city establish a land bank to speed up the conversion of vacant properties to affordable housing, and give priority to ex-offenders for training and employment working on such projects. It advocated a process called “decontruction,” rather than demolition of vacant properties, to provide more jobs and recycle building materials.

Several City Council members attended the rally, including Zeke Cohen, Ryan Dorsey, Bill Henry, Kris Burnett, John Bullock, Shannon Sneed and Mary Pat Clarke.

Clarke said she believes there would be support on the City Council for the advocates’ proposals.

“It’s worth the investment,” she said. “We need affordable housing that stays affordable.”

Read the full article for more information.

Montgomery County Council Passes Bill to Battle Blight

The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a bill that would create escalating penalties for owners of vacant and blighted properties that fail to correct code violations in a timely manner.

As reported in The Washington Post:

There are at least 350 vacant houses in Montgomery, many owned by out-of-state residents or developers “who simply have no short-term incentive to care for the property or put it back on the market,” Tom Hucker (D-Eastern County), the bill’s sponsor, said in a memo to his fellow council members.

Under county law, owners of vacant homes face fines of up to $500 for failing to clear up code violations within 90 days. But fines can be contested in court, where proceedings are often delayed and penalties lowered.

Hucker’s bill imposes an escalating schedule of fees — similar to those charged to owners for false fire alarms — that can’t be contested. The measure calls for the county housing department to begin a registry of poorly maintained vacant properties and inspect them for code violations. Owners whose homes remain in poor condition after 90 days would be charged for each subsequent county inspection. (Fees for false alarms start at $25 and can reach $4,000 for 20 alarm calls.)

Read The Washington Post to learn more.

Related coverage on Conduit Street:

Montgomery Passes Bill to Enforce Foreclosed Property Registry

Tools for addressing blighted and vacant properties and for spurring community revitalization will be a topic covered at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Mayor Pugh Explores Tax Incentives to Redevelop Park Heights

The city’s blighted and troubled Park Heights community may soon get a boost through tax incentives, Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday.

The mayor, speaking at a news conference at City Hall, said she is considering a tax increment financing district in the Northwest Baltimore community.

As reported in the Baltimore Business Journal,

A restoration of the Park Heights area has been underway for about five years after the establishment of the nonprofit Park Heights Renaissance group, which has targeted demolition of certain areas of vacant buildings and houses and redevelopment. But those efforts have rolled out in fits and starts, and the community, long ignored for decades and plagued with drug dealing and violence, has continued to struggle.

Recent debate over the future of 147-year-old Pimlico Race Course in Pimlico near Park Heights has brought the area back into a larger spotlight, Pugh said.

The Maryland Stadium Authority in February released the first phase of a study on the Pimlico Race Course that concluded the facility needed about $320 million in renovations and upgrades. Pugh’s response has been to support keeping the Preakness Stakes race in Baltimore, even as the Stronach Group, owner of Pimlico, has signaled a possible move to Laurel Park because the current Pimlico structure cannot support the addition of modern skyboxes and upgrades.

“In Pimlico, we ask should we be looking at a TIF area?” the mayor said.

The TIF possibilities — which would offer the sale of bonds to private investors in return for funds for infrastructure for new development — is a part of the ongoing discussions to keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, said Anthony McCarthy, the mayor’s spokesperson.

It would join other city TIF districts including Mondawmin Mall, Clipper Mill, Belvedere Square, East Baltimore Development Corp. and Port Covington.

McCarthy said a press conference is expected to be held within the next two weeks to discuss “the mayor’s clear mandate to renovate the neighborhood” in Park Heights and he said the discussions are ongoing now within the public and private sector to make sure the Triple Crown race remains at Pimlico.

Read the full article for more information.