Center Maryland: Inside the Headlines with Alison Prost — VIDEO (Part 2)

InsideHeadlines_logo

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost explains why the farmer “certainty bill” was so important to pass. Prost also discusses the Hudson case and the effect it’s had on the discourse between environmental and agriculture advocates.

Inside the Headlines is a video politicast featured on Center Maryland. Damian O’Doherty brings guests on the show to have in-depth conversations on major news happening in Maryland.

Having trouble seeing the above video? Click here to go directly to it.

In case you missed it, be sure to watch the first part of Alison Prost’s recent Center Maryland: Inside the Headlines appearance.

Damian O’Doherty is a corporate communications strategist, a principal of KO Public Affairs LLC and co-founder of Center Maryland.

Josh Kurtz: Winners and Losers

By Josh Kurtz

The balloons dropped last night in the House and Senate chambers.

So you might say that all 188 members of the General Assembly were winners this legislative session. After last year’s end-of-session debacle, which required two subsequent special summer sessions to pick up the pieces, all that most lawmakers wanted this year was to go home on time.

Mission accomplished!

But it turned out to be an interesting and productive session as well — far more so than anyone could have predicted 90 days ago. So here’s a tally of some of the session’s winners and losers:

WINNER: Martin O’Malley. See last week’s column. Got almost everything he wanted — and has plenty to brag about on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire.

WINNER: Mike Miller. As the canniest operator in Annapolis, Miller is a winner every session. But this year, he got the ball rolling on a transportation funding deal when nobody — including Miller, at least as the session kicked off — thought it was going to happen until 2015 (Virginia’s decision to tackle transportation funding this year gets a hat-tip as well).

WINNER: Mike Busch. The speaker handled a restive House with far more skill this year than he did last year, reaching out, listening more closely, and working more collaboratively. He still needs to do something to address the steam that’s building up among ambitious members with no place to go. Emeritus chairmanships for longtime gavel-holders, perhaps?

WINNERS: Vicki Gruber and Kristin Jones. The top aides to Miller and Busch, these women ran their chambers’ legislative strategies with skill and aplomb. Although she’s less visible and overtly political than some of her predecessors, Gruber in particular seems uniquely in command.

WINNER: Stacy Mayer. Joe Who? Once considered more of a figurehead replacement to Joe Bryce, O’Malley’s longtime legislative liaison, someone biding her time and waiting to be appointed to a judgeship rather than a true legislative strategist, Mayer instead guided an especially ambitious agenda through without missing a beat.

WINNER: Abby Hopper. The head of the Maryland Energy Administration saw the wind energy bill through after all these years, despite multiple impediments and political demands.

LOSERS: Maryland Republicans. Couldn’t organize a two-car funeral at this point if they wanted to.

WINNER: Larry Hogan. Where the state GOP has failed utterly, Hogan has become a pretty persistent and effective critic of O’Malley’s through his group Change Maryland. He may be powerless to stop the governor’s agenda, but he has become a significant irritant. Change Maryland’s big Annapolis breakfast in February was the most impressive gathering of Republicans and (a very few) dissident Democrats in recent memory. He may not become a candidate for governor in 2014, but Hogan’s style of bombast seems uniquely suited to the times — and stands in stark contrast to the nominal frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Harford County Executive David Craig, a Main Street Republican and policy maven disinclined to throw sharp elbows.

WINNER: Laura Neuman. OK, this wasn’t a legislative development per se, but the stink surrounding John Leopold was taking place just two blocks from the State House and has all kinds of implications for ambitious legislators. Neuman took over Anne Arundel County government and has so far done a brilliant job. Already a rare Republican rising star.

LOSERS: All Anne Arundel county exec wannabes not named Laura Neuman.

WINNERS: Liberals. The legislature this year was like the 1965 Congress, with O’Malley as LBJ — or like the Marin County Board of Supervisors on any given Tuesday.

LOSERS: Moderate Democrats. After the past two legislative sessions, they’ll have some ‘splaining to do to their conservative constituents — even if they did vote against tax increases, gay marriage, gun control, the DREAM Act, etc. etc. But did those votes inoculate them at all? How many will actually be endangered next year? And will the defeat of a few centrist Democrats tilt the political dynamic in Annapolis at all? Highly unlikely.

WINNER: Rushern Baker. From seizing partial control of the Prince George’s County school system, to winning an adjustment to the calculation for net taxable income, to securing more state support for a new county hospital, Baker made good on his pledge to utilize his contacts in Annapolis to push his agenda. The school issue could still blow up in his face, but it’s hard to recall another first-term county executive getting so much out of the legislature.

WINNER: Local courtesy. Baker and his allies somehow convinced legislators that the school control bill, which potentially has enormous statewide implications, was strictly a local matter.

LOSERS: The Maryland Association of Boards of Education and the Maryland State Education Association. Both fought Baker’s school takeover plan and lost. Could similar efforts emerge in other jurisdictions? Stay tuned.

WINNER: Maryland Association of Counties. See above. Don’t be surprised if MACo is already drafting a more comprehensive schools takeover bill for next year.

WINNER: Mac Middleton. The consensus builder, at home and in the Senate. Shepherds offshore wind and a controversial utility surcharge, and resolves a hospital dispute on the Eastern Shore. Continues to be a power broker with a soft touch in swiftly changing Charles County.

WINNERS: Norm Conway and the Hudsons. The Eastern Shore Democrat scores a victory for farmers amid the Republican complaints of a war on rural Maryland. And Hudsons win the right to seek $300,000 in state reimbursement for legal costs incurred from the University of Maryland environmental law clinic’s support of the Waterkeepers’ misguided lawsuit. Wonder what the chicken industry will find in its PIA of Attorney General Gansler’s office for records on his involvement in the lawsuit?

WINNER: Vinny DeMarco. The man has enjoyed a lot of victories in Annapolis through the years, but he called the passage of O’Malley’s gun control package the culmination of his 25-year career.

LOSERS: Gun rights groups. Not that they expected much out of this General Assembly. Where have you gone, Walter Baker?

LOSER: Joe Vallario. Marginalized during the gun debate – his opinions were completely ignored and he saw his vice chairwoman, Kathleen Dumais, do the heavy lifting to pass the bill and work closely with O’Malley. And let’s not forget that he’s already been marginalized by redistricting.

WINNER: Dumais. This year’s gun debate sure felt like an audition for her to succeed Vallario, didn’t it?

WINNER: Don Fry. For years, the GBC president has been calling for the state to figure out a fix to its transportation funding issues, getting much of the business community behind him. Finally, the General Assembly listened this year.

WINNERS: Lisa Gladden and Sandy Rosenberg. Longtime advocates of death penalty repeal see their hard work rewarded.

WINNER: Brian Frosh. Gun control and the death penalty are perfect issues for a guy seeking to be the Democratic nominee for attorney general.

WINNER AND LOSER: Bill Ferguson. Young reformer asked by leadership to manage campaign finance reform bill on the Senate floor. A political maturing or a political co-option? Not much reform in that reform bill. But if leadership is willing to protect him against John Pica, George Della and car vandals, it may have been worth it.

WINNER: Towson University President Maravene Loesschke. Sure, she was pilloried by Peter Franchot and, to a lesser extent, O’Malley, after making painful cuts to the university’s sports program. And she had to fight her own board chair, David Nevins, who chaired the task force that studied the cuts but then joined the criticism against them. But in the end, she winds up with money to try to save the baseball team and $2 million from the capital budget for a new women’s softball field. Most college administrators would accept that kind of trade-off during tough budget times.

WINNER: David Moon. Lefty blogger kept Montgomery County legislators honest – maybe nervous is a better word – with his diatribes. His decision to publish roll call votes on controversial measures was also invaluable – especially his list of moderate Democrats and how they lined up on high-profile liberal bills.

LOSERS: The mainstream media. We remember a time when the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun published hard-hitting investigative pieces in the early days of a legislative session that helped set the tone – and the agenda – for the weeks ahead. That’s a thing of the past. Two weeks ago, in its obituary of former House Commerce and Government Affairs Chairman Gerry Curran (D), the Sun somehow failed to mention that its investigation into the shady comingling of Curran’s business and legislative affairs drove him to resign in 1998. Now, the Sun and Post race to post blogs on O’Malley’s out-of-state speeches and national TV appearances. Meanwhile, The Gazette of Politics and Business craps out and The Washington Examiner is about to deep-six its state and local coverage. Where’s the oversight?

LOSERS: The Democratic candidates for governor. Remained mostly on the sidelines this session, unseen and unheard, though Anthony Brown got his public-private partnership bill passed on the final day and can bask in some of O’Malley’s reflected glory.

WINNER: The next governor. Thanks to this year’s transportation package, he or she will get to preside over a lot of ribbon cuttings in the years ahead.

Josh Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily, a Capitol Hill publication. He can be reached at joshkurtz92@gmail.com.

Recent Center Maryland columns by Josh Kurtz:

Filing Deadline Quietly Changed to Early January

Stations of the Cross and the Station That’s Become a Cross to Bear

Fools Rushern In

A Sense of the Senate

Montgomery Councilmember Seeks Investigation Into Anonymous Web Attack

Peter Principle

Louie, Louie

Josh Kurtz: Filing Deadline Quietly Changed to Early January

By Josh Kurtz

Among the items the Maryland General Assembly has to finish today before adjourning Sine Die is a sweeping campaign finance reform bill.

Less than two weeks ago, a key aspect of the bill was quietly and unceremoniously changed by a Senate committee: the filing deadline for the June 2014 primaries is being moved to early January, just before the start of the next legislative session.

The change in filing deadline is not completely a done deal: It was an amendment attached by senators to the House version of the bill; if House members object today they can theoretically try to change the filing deadline back to just after the 2014 legislative session, which is where it was presumed to be once the June primary date was set. But that isn’t likely to happen.

At first blush, this appears to be a boon to incumbents.

State officeholders are banned from fundraising during the three-month legislative session, but nothing prevents challengers from doing so. Now, a rare advantage for prospective challengers has been stripped away – they have been robbed of their ability to test the financial strength of their putative campaigns during the 90 days when the incumbents are tied up in Annapolis. If the Senate committee change stands, a prospective challenger has to be sure she’s ready to go and commit to a campaign before the session even begins.

But the new filing deadline could inconvenience veteran incumbents who are mulling whether to commit to one more term – and one more campaign. They now will no longer have the benefit of being able to fully assess just how draining the fourth year of their term has been.

There is much to be said about the campaign finance legislation and its impact on Maryland elections going forward — and we’ll revisit the issue in the weeks ahead. As for the earlier filing deadline, regardless of whether you think this change is good or bad, regardless of who it benefits, one thing is incontrovertible – an important part of state election law is about to be changed, and almost nobody knew about it.

TOMORROW’S COLUMN: Session winners and losers.

Josh Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily, a Capitol Hill publication. He can be reached at joshkurtz92@gmail.com.

Recent Center Maryland columns by Josh Kurtz:

Stations of the Cross and the Station That’s Become a Cross to Bear

Fools Rushern In

A Sense of the Senate

Montgomery Councilmember Seeks Investigation Into Anonymous Web Attack

Peter Principle

Louie, Louie

Center Maryland: Inside Out – The Dancer Joseph “Max” Curran, III — VIDEO

InsideOutLogo

Joseph “Max” Curran, III announces that he will be competing in the Alzheimer’s 2013 Memory Ball this Saturday, April 13th. He will compete for “votes” to win the “You’re Our Star” trophy, awarded to the top fundraising dancers. For more information on the event, please click here.

Center Maryland: Inside Out is a video politicast featured on Center Maryland. Lisa Harris Jones joins Damian O’Doherty to discuss Maryland’s growth, investment and infrastructure policies with various political insiders and elected officials. Center Maryland: Inside Out brings political realities to the forefront of the discussion, advancing reasonable and responsible ideas.

Having trouble seeing the above video? Click here to go directly to it.

Lisa Harris Jones is an Attorney at Law and Lobbyist, Member and Founder of Harris Jones & Malone, LLC. Damian O’Doherty is a Corporate Communications Strategist, a Principal of KO Public Affairs LLC, and Co-Founder of Center Maryland.

Donald Fry: O’Malley deserves better grade for affordable college in Maryland

By Donald C. Fry

One of the more curious outcomes of a recent Washington Post poll measuring Marylanders’ opinions of Governor Martin O’Malley’s job performance has to be the score that statewide constituents gave the governor for making college education more affordable.

Fifty percent of 1,156 Marylanders phoned by pollsters in February rated the governor’s performance “not so good” or “poor” for making college education more affordable, while only 40 percent rated his performance “good” or “excellent.”

Frankly, I’m guessing that most of the 578 respondents who gave the governor low grades on this issue don’t have college-bound kids. If they did, they’d know better.

Keeping college tuition costs down has been a top priority for the governor, as it is for Maryland business leaders who consider workforce development a core prerequisite for business competitiveness.

A look at tuition data for Maryland and elsewhere confirms that Governor O’Malley has followed through on his pledged commitment to affordable college. When he took office in 2007, the governor froze tuitions during the first three years of his administration and has limited annual tuition increases to no more than 3 percent since.

The result has been that the University System of Maryland’s ranking for tuition improved from 8th highest in the nation in 2007 to 27th today.

The contrast is even more dramatic when comparing Maryland’s tuitions and fees for in-state students at public universities to those in adjacent competing states. Since 2007, tuition and fees at public colleges in Maryland have increased only 2 percent, compared to 29 percent, 27 percent and 14 percent respectively in Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, according to state data.

Maryland’s progress is further validated by data published on the widely-used online resource: collegetuitioncompare.com. The average in-state annual tuition and fees for all public four-year colleges in Maryland are at least 13 percent less than in-state tuition and fees at public colleges in Virginia and Delaware, and 31 percent less than in Pennsylvania.

Among flagship universities, the University of Maryland College Park’s combined annual tuition and fees for in-state students are at least 20 percent less than in-state tuition and fees at the University of Delaware and at the University of Virginia’s main campus, and they are 45 percent less than what in-state students pay at Penn State’s main campus.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. When it comes to promoting affordable college education, especially during challenging financial times for working families, Governor O’Malley has been a national leader. He deserves high grades for his accomplishment on this issue.

Donald C. Fry is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. He is a regular contributor to Center Maryland.

Recent Center Maryland columns by Donald C. Fry:

Hire One Youth: connecting Baltimore’s youth with private-sector opportunity

Maryland’s transportation funding crisis is real, not contrived

Unmet county priority lists frame the need for transportation funding bill

CEOs are talking about Maryland’s competitiveness

Lessons from the port’s record year

Latest business climate rankings for Maryland range from 5th to 41st

Inside the Headlines with Michele Whelley — The MARC Train — VIDEO

InsideHeadlines_logo

President and CEO of The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance Michele L. Whelley explains the significance of the recently passed transportation infrastructure bill and the opportunity it brings to the MARC Train. Whelley also highlights the success of the Baltimore Circulator, and some of the challenges that have faced the MTA.

Whelley brings 20 years of experience in economic development to her position as President and CEO of the Transportation Alliance. Her previous positions at the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven, Colliers Pinkard, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the Baltimore Development Corporation have given her a deep understanding of how transportation impacts the economic growth and vitality of a region.

Inside the Headlines is a video politicast featured on Center Maryland. Damian O’Doherty brings guests on the show to have in-depth conversations on major news happening in Maryland.

Having trouble seeing the above video? Click here to go directly to it.

Damian O’Doherty is a corporate communications strategist, a principal of KO Public Affairs LLC and co-founder of Center Maryland.

Josh Kurtz: Stations of the Cross and the Station That’s Become a Cross to Bear

By Josh Kurtz

We may as well just go ahead and cancel the 2014 General Assembly session. What, after all, is left for Gov. Martin O’Malley to accomplish?

Legislative sessions in election years are usually sleepy affairs, anyway. With re-elections uppermost in the lawmakers’ minds, no one has the stomach to confront anything remotely controversial. That’ll be especially true with primaries just six or seven weeks after Sine Die.

But for O’Malley, the 2014 session is looking like a zero sum game.

By any measure, even if you can’t stand the guy, he’s been on a remarkable winning streak during the past couple of years. Why tempt fate with another ambitious legislative push? He’d only encounter resistance — not that the legislature has proven much of an impediment to him so far.

Political insiders have marveled at O’Malley’s less-than-stellar polling numbers in Maryland. They shouldn’t. Those numbers are almost irrelevant in a certain way.

Sure, they matter — just not to O’Malley. If there’s “O’Malley fatigue” in the electorate, it will attach itself to Anthony Brown, his loyal lieutenant governor and designated successor.

As for the charge that O’Malley’s agenda has been so liberal that it could boomerang on moderate Democratic legislators serving swing areas of the state — really?

Increasingly, Maryland isn’t a one party state, as the conventional wisdom goes. It’s really a three party state — with liberal Democrats, who are dominant, moderate Democrats who help fatten the majority, and Republicans.

With the rare exception of someone who is going to be picked off because he didn’t campaign hard enough, most moderate Maryland Democrats are savvy enough at this point in their careers to figure out how to thrive in the current political environment. They shrug off the march of progress in Annapolis by voting against gay marriage and the DREAM Act and gun control. O’Malley is an irritant to them, but not a major worry, because their political identities are well established and they‘ve learned how to work around him — and vice-versa.

And the Republicans? They continue to slouch toward total irrelevance. Only in Maryland would House Republicans save a leadership fight until just after the legislative session is finished. Makes absolutely no sense. It’s like saying “wait ‘till next year” — this year. The “leadership” “battle” at the state GOP is another train wreck we’ll have to address another time.

As for O’Malley, he once cared what voters in places like Odenton and Essex and Waldorf thought. Swing voters were essential when he ousted Bob Ehrlich from Government House in 2006, and when he stomped him again four years later. Now, he cares more about Democratic caucus and primary voters in places like Ames, Iowa and Portsmouth, N.H.

And what does he have to offer them? Over the past couple of years, O’Malley has made successful stops at just about every liberal station of the cross. It’s a pretty impressive offering, when you stop and think about it.

Gay marriage? Check. Gun control? Check. Immigrants’ rights? Check. Rescind capital punishment? Check. Renewable energy initiatives? Check. More transportation and infrastructure spending, an essential ingredient for every Democratic recipe on economic development? Check. Expanded gambling, a high priority for most trade unions? Check. Same-day voter registration? Check. Ample education spending? Check. Policies that put the state in line with the rules and principles of Obamacare? Check.

It’s a menu as enticing for Democratic activists in early primary and caucus states as any potential 2016 presidential contender can offer — even Hillary Clinton.

Which doesn’t mean that O’Malley can beat Clinton, if she runs. Or that he’s the best candidate. It just means that O’Malley has skillfully built a plausible case for a national candidacy. Skeptics back home should get over it — and enjoy the ride.

——————————————————————————

It should be lost on no one that the biggest fiasco of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s tenure is happening in the same place where former County Executive Doug Duncan enjoyed his greatest triumph — downtown Silver Spring.

The county’s inability to bring to a close construction of a sprawling transit center there — now $80 million over budget and two years late (and counting) is no longer just an eyesore and an inconvenience and an embarrassment. It could potentially turn into a major political liability for Leggett — and an opportunity for Duncan.

Although he continues to do his Hamlet-on-Hungerford thing, it’s widely assumed now that Leggett will seek a third term. Duncan and County Councilman Phil Andrews seem determined to take him on in the Democratic primary, and Councilwoman Valerie Ervin may as well.

Count me as one of those Montgomery County political observers who has thought that Leggett will wipe the floor with Duncan and Andrews — and I guess I still do. But the transit center may present Duncan with an opening.

All along, Duncan’s prime argument for a comeback has been, “Look what I did.” And the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring will always be Exhibit A. But with the transit center, designed as a hub for Metro and MARC trains and dozens of public bus routes, stalled, Duncan can now say, “Look what I did — and look what he couldn’t do.”

Is it enough to derail Leggett’s re-election bid? Does it bring Duncan any closer to the Montgomery County electorate, which has changed dramatically since he left office? Probably not. But it’s something that Leggett is going to have to answer for — and that’s not an enviable position to be in.

Meanwhile, Andrews’ candidacy seems designed to appeal to one entity only — The Washington Post. Don’t underestimate the political potency of that potential alliance.

If Duncan is out of sync with the modern Montgomery electorate, Andrews, with his aw-shucks, Boy Scout demeanor, appears to be, too. And the success he’s had in his Council district, going door-to-door all these years, can’t be replicated in a countywide race.

But he’s still got allies in the civic community. And some voters will find his Common Cause history appealing. If there’s going to be one candidate with a modicum of grass-roots support in next year’s executive race, it may well be Andrews.

And then there’s the Post. The editorial writers there like his good government cred as well. But most of all, they like his increasing stridency against the public employee unions — a stark contrast to Leggett, who just offered most county workers a fairly generous contract.

People have asked: Could the Post really turn its back on Leggett after being such an integral part of his success for so long? Isn’t the editorial board terrified of abandoning a high-profile African-American elected official?

Not in the current political atmosphere, with the Post’s jihad on public employee unions. With Andrews mouthing their positions on labor relations, the editorial writers may be all to happy to offer Ike Leggett a gold watch and send him on his way.

Josh Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily, a Capitol Hill publication. He can be reached at joshkurtz92@gmail.com.

Recent Center Maryland columns by Josh Kurtz:

Fools Rushern In

A Sense of the Senate

Montgomery Councilmember Seeks Investigation Into Anonymous Web Attack

Peter Principle

Louie, Louie

Donald Fry — Hire One Youth: connecting Baltimore’s youth with private-sector opportunity

By Donald C. Fry

All business owners and managers face a fundamental question: Where will my future workforce come from?

In Baltimore City, one answer seems obvious – from among the 23,000 students currently attending city high schools and the recent graduates now attending two and four-year colleges and universities. But converting this major potential talent pool into a first-resort workforce of the future must overcome a major challenge these days – chronic underemployment of youth.

Youth employment is at its lowest level since World War II, according to a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Nationally, only about half of young people 16-24 held jobs in 2011.

In today’s tight job market, many entry-level jobs that young people once counted on to start their careers now go to older, more experienced workers or to overqualified job-seekers with some college experience, according to the report.

In Baltimore City, the unemployment rate among 16-24 year olds is 31 percent, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

For Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, training the city’s workforce for future success in the world of work starts with the basics – acclimating the city’s high school students to career opportunities that exist in the private sector.

That’s why, last year, the mayor launched “Hire One Youth,” a new signature initiative of YouthWorks, the city’s long-time summer jobs program. Hire One Youth’s objective is to place highly-motivated and well-prepared high school juniors and seniors and recent high school graduates into six-week summer jobs in the private-sector.

Previously, private-sector employers in the city and region consistently supported YouthWorks with financial contributions, but placed a comparatively low number of youth workers in their own workplaces during the summer. Most YouthWorks student participants ended up working in government agencies.

Last year, 81 employers participated in the inaugural Hire One Youth campaign, hiring 285 young people for summer jobs in private-sector workplaces. This year, Hire One Youth is seeking to double the number of participating employers and to place 500 young people in six-week jobs in businesses and nonprofits.

Here’s how the program works. Local employers can commit to hiring at least one youth, aged 16-21, this summer by completing an online form or by calling the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development at 410-396-JOBS (5627).

Employers who sign onto the Hire One Youth initiative will be provided with a pool of pre-screened, qualified young people to interview for jobs starting in late June and ending in August that pay $1,200 for the summer. Employers may elect to pay a higher salary scale. Employers then select applicants who best meet their summer employment needs. Employers are asked to conduct the job interviews, and to set on-the-job performance expectations that are the same as for any employee.

Employers will have the option of either placing the youth employees directly on their payrolls or making a $1,200 payment to the Baltimore City Foundation/YouthWorks, who will pay wages to Hire One Youth student employees.

Job coaches will be assigned to each hiring organization to answer questions and serve as a direct link to the Hire One Youth program. Throughout the summer, job coaches will visit work sites to provide support for employees and to ensure a productive summer experience.

Connecting the city’s large pool of young talent to the world of private-sector employment is critically important on several levels that relate directly to workforce development in the city and region.

Students gain invaluable exposure to the private-sector business environment. Also, they gain important perspectives about education options after high school.

Businesses get a first-hand look at talented, yet developing, young people that are close by. They identify young people with skills and help them identify other skills to acquire for success in a particular field of interest. Employers meet and work with talented young prospects to bring into their workforces, either right away or when they come back from college.

The current structural youth unemployment trend notwithstanding, it’s important for private-sector employers to cultivate youthful workers with skills – because they’re going to need them.

In Maryland, studies show that employment growth and retiring baby-boomers will create significant workforce demands in the next decade, creating hundreds of thousands of job vacancies.

Of these, 36 percent will require either a bachelor’s or graduate degree, and almost 30 percent will be so-called “middle skills” jobs requiring less than 4-year degree, but more than HS education.

Today’s employers must do all they can to cultivate, not waste, talent that is nearby and waiting in the wings to be productive.

In Baltimore, the Hire One Youth program is a way for businesses “to do well by doing good,” says Mayor Rawlings-Blake, “not only for giving a young person a chance to earn and learn, but also by making an investment in their organization, their industry and Baltimore’s economy.”

For this initiative, summer jobs aren’t about charity or getting Baltimore’s youth off of the streets. They’re about inspiring our young people and giving them a genuine glimpse of their potential futures as professionals in a private sector that, for them, will be teeming with opportunity.

Donald C. Fry is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. He is a regular contributor to Center Maryland and chairs the private-sector Leadership Team for the Hire One Youth Initiative.

Recent Center Maryland columns by Donald C. Fry:

Maryland’s transportation funding crisis is real, not contrived

Unmet county priority lists frame the need for transportation funding bill

CEOs are talking about Maryland’s competitiveness

Lessons from the port’s record year

Latest business climate rankings for Maryland range from 5th to 41st

Workforce wellness survey: high enthusiasm, spotty evaluation

Act Now for Prince George’s Schools

Center Maryland rarely weighs in with an editorial – usually leaving the commentary to our regular contributors and guest columnists. However, this week’s column by Josh Kurtz inspired us to speak up.

We support Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s proposal to assume more responsibility for his county’s schools.

In several decades of fits and starts on education reform, only increasing executive authority – and accountability – has demonstrated progress in moving struggling school systems forward. This movement has included numerous instances of giving mayors the power to appoint superintendents – as well as cases, such as Baltimore, where executives appoint school boards.

In contrast, Prince George’s County’s elected school board has repeatedly proven its inability to function effectively – with its misguided micromanagement driving away two highly regarded superintendents in four years. The Prince George’s Board is Exhibit A, illustrating the pitfalls of placing education policy in the hands of politicians who are not adept enough to get elected to the council or legislature – and choose to run for the school board as first rung on the political ladder.

In Prince George’s County, there is a clear choice facing the General Assembly: Should the schools be left to a Board of bumblers or turned over to a capable County Executive, who will likely be in office for six more years?

As test scores and other measures demonstrate, the status quo is not serving the County’s children – and they don’t have years to wait while adults seek to protect their own interests. We say, make the change now. The General Assembly and Governor O’Malley should approve County Executive Baker’s reforms.

Inside the Headlines: Alison Prost of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation — VIDEO

InsideHeadlines_logo

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost talks about what’s at stake for environmental protection in the upcoming Senate vote on transportation infrastructure funding. We also learn why 2012 was a “Watershed Year” for the environment in Maryland, the status of the Chesapeake Bay’s report card, and the importance of the septic bill.

Inside the Headlines is a video politicast featured on Center Maryland. Damian O’Doherty brings guests on the show to have in-depth conversations on major news happening in Maryland.

Having trouble seeing the above video? Click here to go directly to it.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Alison Prost’s recent Center Maryland op-ed:
Localities Making Progress in Implementing Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint

Damian O’Doherty is a corporate communications strategist, a principal of KO Public Affairs LLC and co-founder of Center Maryland.