By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—It’s time to update Maryland’s workforce. That’s what supporters of a job training bill are telling lawmakers in Annapolis.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains how that might work for you.

If it takes money to make money, Baltimore residents like Gerswen Hardy at the city’s employment center might like to be on the receiving end.

“I see people up here every day looking for work on the computer, busting their butt from 8 o’clock until the time this place closes,” Hardy said.

“There’s many people in Baltimore City that’s looking for work every day. We just don’t get the opportunity,” said job seeker Brian Samuels.

Opportunity just might come knocking in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s EARN proposal, which he included in his state-of-the-state address last month.

“The reality is that too many of the new jobs being created in our new economy still go unfilled. Why? Because too many of our people lack the skills to fill them,” O’Malley said.

EARN stand for Employment Advancement Right Now.

EARN pinpoints employer needs in cyber security, health care and construction industries, for example, and then provides funding for job training programs in those areas.

O’Malley testified on the bill before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.

Information on the program would go to everyone who applies for unemployment.

“This EARN bill will help more moms and dads get the skills they need to enter those better jobs,” the governor told the committee.

It works for the whole family.

“What we’re creating now is a pathway for your children to get linked up with our workforce system,” said Leonard Howie, labor secretary.

A majority of the senators on the Finance Committee expressed approval of the plan, so it’s very likely to go to the full Senate for a vote.

The state’s initial investment in the EARN program would be $2.5 million.


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