Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley chalked up his first win of the 90-day legislative session Tuesday with passage of a modest jobs training bill by the House of Delegates.
The legislation, known as the Employment Advancement Right Now bill, or EARN, cleared the Senate unanimously last month. The 115 to 23 vote in the House on Tuesday sends the measure to O’Malley (D) for his signature.
The bill creates a $2.5 million annual grant program for workforce training programs that offer “industry-valued skills.” It will be administered by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in consultation with other agencies.
“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. “The EARN initiative will help us bridge that skills gap by creating employer-driven partnerships with businesses so together we can grow our state’s economy and ensure that every Marylander has the opportunity to learn and earn.”
Several other higher-profile bills sponsored by O’Malley are also nearing passage in the legislature, including legislation to repeal the death penalty and offer incentives to create an offshore wind farm.