If our goal is to redevelop Baltimore and the State of Maryland into a world class city and state, we will need to insure that everybody is working with that same goal in mind.
We need a jobs strategy that involves all levels of our society. Currently, there is a jobs strategy for biotechnical, technology, and medical fields as well as a plan for base realignment, which will result in the expansion of the workforce at Fort Meade. But where is the strategy to improve the employment conditions of local people within our city and state?
I propose that the Governor and General Assembly pass a state law that requires any local municipality or developer that receives funding through an agency of the State of Maryland to train and hire 50% of its construction and permanent workforce from that local area.
If such a law was in place in the State of Maryland’s planning for the State Center Project, residents of West Baltimore could prepare themselves for 50% of the 1,600 jobs that will be created by the first phase of the project. Eight hundred jobs injected into the local economy of the areas surrounding the State Center in West Baltimore would have a tremendously positive effect on the community, city and state!
Think about all of the projects in the pipeline throughout our State. Wouldn’t every local community benefit from workforce agreements that put their residents to work? Yes! It is time for the State of Maryland to adopt legislative language that mimics the intent of Section 3 in the Housing Act of 1968. But in our instance, we should not confide local training and hiring to a single agency, but to every agency of the State of Maryland.