State Official Explains Economic Impact of New EARN Legislation

Scott Jensen, the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR), was the guest speaker at the recent Garrett Career Pathways meeting at Garrett College. He outlined the major points of a new program: Maryland Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN).

Established through state legislation, the EARN program will provide grants on a competitive basis for specified purposes including training for potential employees in industry sectors which have been identified using labor data, worker shortages, and other forms of reporting. The goal of the program is to provide the means to connect Marylanders to jobs by closing critical skills gaps which have prevented their employment. It proposes to grow sectors of Maryland’s economy, and to have meaningful economic impact on Maryland small businesses.

During his presentation at the Garrett Career Pathways meeting, Jensen pointed out the successes in other states where similar programs have been in effect. He reported the results of surveys of employers participating in sector partnerships elsewhere noting that all companies said that participation in a sector partnership was valuable.

Authors of the legislation underscored that sector strategies are among the few interventions with a growing body of evidence showing improved employment opportunities and wages for workers, and increased productivity and other positive outcomes for employers.

Career Pathways, a national workforce development strategy, was recently introduced in Garrett County at a meeting coordinated by the Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) Division of Garrett College which is under the direction of Dean Julie Yoder.

The team working with the Career Pathways plan includes key individuals representing education, social services, economic development, and business in Garrett County.   More 30 of these participants were on hand to listen to Jensen and discuss the ramifications of the new EARN legislation for economic growth in various sectors in the county.

In addition to the Jensen’s presentation on EARN, the meeting participants heard a report from Yoder on the progress made to date by the Garrett Pathways group. Garrett College President Dr. MacLennan reported on the employer survey recently conducted through The Greater Cumberland Committee and Mike Koch, Director of the Garrett County Department of Economic Development, gave an update of activities in his department. Those in attendance then broke into focus groups to discuss needs from the perspective of the employers who were present.

Following the meeting with Jensen, Yoder expressed optimism for Garrett County’s ability to win grants to support the training programs that can provide the underpinning for a stronger economy. “Because of the work of our Career Pathways group, we are well poised to apply for these funds when the request for proposals comes out in September.  Our identified sectors are: manufacturing, health, internet technology, cybersecrity, retail trade, transportation, hospitality, and tourism,” she said.

For more information on the Garrett Career Pathways program persons may contact Yoder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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