The Maryland General Assembly on Tuesday approved a new program that would distribute $2.5 million in state grants each year to train workers for high-demand industries.
The House of Delegates voted 115-23 to approve the measure, which passed the Senate unanimously last month.
Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced the Maryland Employment Advancement Right Now bill, given the acronym EARN, and on Tuesday celebrated its passage.
"Though Maryland has built up one of the most highly-skilled workforces in the nation, too many of our workers lack the skills they need to compete for the jobs in highest demand," O'Malley said in a statement, adding that "The EARN initiative will help us bridge that skills gap."
Under the program, grants would be distributed through partnerships among workforce centers, community colleges, employers and others in "targeted industries" that have a high demand for skilled workers. O'Malley's staff said two state agencies would develop the program, but the intent is to focus on construction, traditional and advanced manufacturing, cyber and health care industries.
A new website called "Train Maryland" would connect job-seekers with the training program. The bill does not specify which industries the would receive the grants.
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