Report Calls for More Career & Technology Education at Montgomery County Schools

A study team is recommending that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) make more of an effort to prepare students for careers, not just for college. Education Strategy Group Fund, a consulting firm based in Chevy Chase, was hired by MCPS to analyze the district’s efforts to prepare students for an ever changing workforce.

According to The Washington Post,

Montgomery County has created “a clear and commendable culture of high expectations” in its public schools, but career preparation “has been marginalized as a priority, sometimes being inaccurately perceived as the antithesis of the college-going culture.” Presented to the school board Tuesday, the report recommended a string of changes, starting with a new vision for career readiness and more meaningful collaboration with key employers.

The 75-page report notes that enrollment in career and technology education lags behind the state average and that relatively few students — about 10 percent of 2016 graduates — complete a program, which requires multiple courses.

The study’s authors note that career and technology education (CTE) has widened in scope over the years, preparing students for jobs in health care and information technology as well as more traditional areas such as construction and automotive repair.

The consultants suggest that MCPS educate parents and students about career readiness opportunities and dispel the stigma associated with CTE programs. The study’s authors also note that MCPS does offer some top-notch CTE, but access to these programs is not consistent across the school system.

CTE should be redefined as offering rigorous academic coursework, state-of-the-art technical instruction, and real-world experiences, the report said. According to the consultants, in a 21st-century economy, more opportunities exist for workers with industry credentials, two-year college degrees, and other postsecondary certificates.

The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, known as the Kirwan Commission because it is chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, is reviewing statewide CTE programs as part of its charge to evaluate a wide range of issues relating to K-12 education in Maryland. Click here to read Kirwan Commission coverage on the Conduit Street blog.

For more information, read the full article from The Washington Post.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pending Overtime Rule

A Texas federal judge has struck down the Obama Administration’s pending rule mandating that employers provide overtime for a far wider swath of salaried employees than previously. The decision, released today and first reported by Bloomberg news, prevents the rule from going into effect on December 1, after a previous ruling in November of 2016 put the rule on hold.

From coverage in The Hill:

In the ruling, first reported by Bloomberg, the judge wrote that the agency improperly looked at salaries instead of job descriptions when determining whether a worker should be eligible for overtime pay.

The rule would have required employers to pay overtime to most salaried workers who earn less than $47,476 annually, a sharp increase from the current annual salary limit of $23,660.

See previous Conduit Street coverage

Mastering the Millennial Workforce at #MACoCon

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Dude, What’s My Job?”- Understanding, Attracting, and Retaining Your Millenial Workforce” panelists offered insight into the impact millennials are having in the workplace today. Attendees learned strategies to understand, attract, and retain millennials.

Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Director, Masters of Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program, University of Maryland, began the session by providing an overview of the millennial workforce and how employers may need to adjust tactics to understand, attract, and retain this new generation of potential employees.

Ryan McShane, Vice President & Corporate Operations Officer, Marc3Solutions, discussed how the challenges of generations and megatrends are being met with principles of conscious capitalism to reconcile and make business more effective and efficient

Jennifer Marson, Executive Director, Arizona Association of Counties, concluded the panel by talking about how the Arizona Association of Counties has implemented policies that speak to millennials and how those policies have been successful.

The session was moderated by Delegate Angela Angel and took place on Friday, August 18. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

Anne Arundel Conducts In-Service Dementia Awareness Training

The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities and the Anne Arundel County Police Department announced the successful conclusion of the 2017 in-service dementia awareness training of 691 members of the force. This collaboration was recognized at an event at the Department of Aging and Disabilities. During the event, training staff members were presented police citations in recognition of their hard work and dedication.

According to a press release,

Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease. There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with the disease. By 2050, this could increase to more than 16 million.

The Department of Aging and Disabilities provided the training Communicating Through Behaviors with the Virtual Dementia Tour to the Anne Arundel County Police Department. This is a scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia through the use of patented sensory tools and instruction. This is an up-close, hands-on experience that provides critical insight to those caring for dementia. This tour is an eye-opening experience that proves how difficult the disease can be for the patients and caregivers alike.

“This is yet another example of how our county agencies are collaborating toimprove service to the public while enhancing public safety,” said County Executive Steve Schuh.

Director of the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities, Pamela Jordan, stated, “It is so important that we support our first responders to give them the tools they need to understand this disease. The likelihood that first responders will encounter this in field is very high.”

For information call the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities at 410-222-4257 or go online to http://www.aacounty.org/aging. TTY users, please call via Maryland Relay 7-1-1. All materials are available in an alternative format upon request.

Learn how counties are collaborating with stakeholders to provide citizens with resources to assess, treat, and manage cognitive impairment at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session “Smoothing the Rough Road: Addressing Dementia Challenges” on Friday, August 18, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 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:

The Future of Work is Flexible

Baby boomers currently represent the largest share of active workers. Research has shown that boomers identify their strengths as organizational memory, optimism, and their willingness to work long hours. This generation grew up in organizations with large corporate hierarchies, rather than flat management structures and teamwork-based job roles.

Millennials have a very different point of view on what they expect from their employment experience. Millennials are knowledgeable, innovative, self-confident, have the ability to multi-task, and are very energetic. They have high expectations for themselves and their coworkers, and prefer to work in groups, rather than as individuals. Millennials seek challenges, yet work-life balance is of utmost importance to them. They do, however, realize that their desire for social interaction, immediate results in their work, and sense of entitlement may be seen as weaknesses by older colleagues.

So how do businesses keep this generation – the savviest, best-educated generation to date – involved, productive, and engaged?

According to HR Technologist,

Gone are the days when workers were exclusively full-time workers, glued to their desks and being supervised over their shoulders by strict supervisors and time-clocks. An increasing number of workers today want to work independently, branding themselves as independent consultants and freelancers.

Recruiters will need to reach out to new talent pools, by tapping online recruitment forums meant for the flexible workforce. Work infrastructure such as laptops, software subscriptions, security-ware, and place of work must be defined in new flexi-work policies.  The traditional performance management approach will need to be rethought, to factor in the flexible work hours/location and bringing together of virtual teams.

You can learn more about understanding, attracting, and recruiting your millennial workforce at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session, “Dude, What’s My Job?”- Understanding, Attracting, and Retaining Your Millennial Workforce.

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:

Mastering the Millennial Workforce at #MACoCon

Learn how to understand, attract, and retain your millennial workforce by attending the 2017 MACo Summer Conference.

“Dude, What’s My Job?”- Understanding, Attracting, and Retaining Your Millennial Workforce

Description: Today’s workforce continues to grow more multi-generational and competitive. “Millennials” are creating a major shift in the way business is conducted and what employers must provide to attract top talent. Local governments looking to remain competitive as this generation permeates the workforce will need to change how they operate in order to attract, develop, and retain the best of the bright-eyed millennials. In this session, panelists will discuss these important dynamics and offer insight into the impact they are already having in the workplace today. Participants will learn strategies to understand, attract, and retain millennials.

Speakers:

  • Jennifer Marson, Executive Director, Arizona Association of Counties
  • Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Director, Masters of Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Ryan McShane, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Marc3 Leadership Solutions

Date/Time: Friday, August 18, 2017; 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

MACo’s Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland.

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.

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:

Wicomico County’s Budget Proposal Benefits from Real Property Base

Wicomico County Executive Culver has presented his proposed operating budget to the County Council.

download
Wicomico County’s proposed operating budget total is a 6.2% increase over the current year’s budget. 

As described in the Wicomico County Budget proposal, a continued increase in the County’s net assessable real property base and a positive trend in employment support county investments in services, while allowing the county to maintain current tax rates.

Here are a few highlights from the budget as described in the budget summary and as reported by the Salisbury Independent:

Total Operating Budget

  • “The budget formally presented Tuesday to the County Council totals $143.7 million, a 6.2 percent increase over the current year’s budget of $135.2 million,” according to the Independent.

Education Funding

  • The budget satistifies the maintenance of effort requirement for the county, including an increaseof more than $1 million required by the maintenance of effort escalator.

Taxes

  • Tax rates remain unchanged in the proposed budget.

Government Employee Salaries

  • Eligible employees will receive a 2% COLA and Communications Operators will receive a salary increase.

For more information, see Culver unveils $143.7 million spending plan from the Salisbury Independent and the proposed operating budget for Wicomico County.

Prospective Officers Face Rule Change Regarding Marijuana Use

The Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission voted to approve changes to state policy regarding prior use of marijuana by prospective police officers. The rule change would ease restrictions on how much of the drug a potential officer may have consumed prior to being hired.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

The new rule, which received final approval from the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission on Wednesday, bars the hiring of any prospective officers who have smoked marijuana in the past three years. It replaces a state policy dating to the 1970s that had disqualified police applicants who had used marijuana more than 20 times in their lives, or five times since turning 21 years old.

The rule was reviewed by the Office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. It takes effect June 1.

The training and standards commission, part of the state corrections department, regulates police hiring in the state. The panel voted 16-1 to approve the change, spokesman Gerard Shields said.

The commission had recommended the change at its inaugural meeting in October. A legal review and a public comment period followed. Officials said they received no comments.

The new rule allows individual police chiefs to hold applicants to their agencies to a stricter marijuana standard if they choose, officials said.

While the move would help jurisdictions such as Baltimore City where Police Commissioner Kevin Davis strongly supported the change, it is not without opposition. The article notes that Vince Canales, president of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, was the lone vote in opposition to the change citing the illegality of marijuana at the federal level and the uncertainty of state laws regarding the drug.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.