- AWARD WON: 2018 Top 25
- AWARDEE: Employee Advancement Right Now (EARN) Maryland
- DESIGNEE: State of Maryland
- JURISDICTION: State of Maryland
In 2013, department staff at the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation realized that, regardless of industry, employers face similar challenges in recruiting candidates with the appropriate skillsets for available jobs. Recognizing that a workforce system disconnected from business fails to meet the needs of jobseekers, the state created the Employee Advancement Right Now (EARN) program, which partners with industry stakeholders to equip workers with the proper skills for jobs. Funding is provided to Strategic Industry Partnerships, comprised of employer and industry partners; nonprofit and community-based organizations; and workforce, economic development, and education partners. More than 1,000 employer partners have participated in the program, identifying workforce needs, developing curricula, and ultimately hiring successful trainees. To date, more than 2,900 unemployed and underemployed residents, many of whom have multiple barriers to employment, have been placed into careers that pay family-sustaining wages. Additionally, more than 5,600 incumbent workers have received updated training.