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Lab project at EBDI committed to minority, local hiring

In light of the May 31 article in your paper, "Halt is urged for EBDI," it is important that we share with you and your readers the state's perspective on the Maryland Public Health Laboratory project within the Science and Technology Park at Johns Hopkins. The Lab has been in its current location since 1974, and while the facility around it has continued to deteriorate, the Lab staff has continued to provide a superior level of service and care to every citizen in the state.

Locating the new, state-of-the-art Lab in the Science and Technology Park at Johns Hopkins provides the effectiveness of close proximity to the Bloomberg School of Public Health, valuable linkages to public school partners at Dunbar High and supports the redevelopment of East Baltimore.

The economic inclusion goals for the EBDI project are far reaching — trying to create jobs and economic opportunities that are untypical in a public project. Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), developer of the Lab project, embraces these goals. Through the Lab project, more than 100 new workers will be hired by subcontractors in East Baltimore. It is creating jobs, growing companies and helping to rebuild a community.

The state's team established aggressive goals for local hiring and subcontracting to minorities, women and local businesses. The overall goal for minority subcontracting is 35 percent, with 27 percent targeted to minority business enterprises (MBE), 8 percent to women business enterprises (WBE) and 20 percent to local business enterprises (LBE).

While the project has only been under way for a few months, we can report that nearly 75 percent of the nearly $98 million subcontracting budget has been awarded to date. Of that budget, approximately 33 percent has been awarded to MBEs, 6.5 percent to WBEs and nearly 18 percent to LBEs. Of the total $98 million budget, minority firms are projected to receive more than $25 million in contracts. While these numbers still need to be validated, we have a great deal of confidence in our progress to date and believe we will certainly meet all goals and in fact exceed some.

The state of Maryland is committed to the success of the Health Lab project and the redevelopment of East Baltimore in a continued partnership with all stakeholders and EBDI.

Michael A. Gaines Sr. and Robert Brennan

The writers are, respectively, the assistant secretary in the Office of Real Estate and the executive director of the Maryland Department of General Services.

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