Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has announced a new $15 million Jobs That Build initiative to eliminate real-world barriers to careers in infrastructure, and help keep pace with the demand for capital projects generated by unprecedented federal and state investments.
The program offers grants of up to $10,000 per worker to enhance recruitment efforts, facilitate smarter training, and support enduring employee retention.
“To address this challenge head-on and immediately jumpstart the workforce pipeline for infrastructure projects at the state and local levels, today I am announcing a new Jobs That Build Initiative to help provide infrastructure workers with up to $10,000 in incentives,” Hogan said in an Oct. 14 statement. “We are making an initial investment of $15 million into this initiative—which is the first of its kind in the nation—and expect that this will help bring on thousands of construction workers and ensure that more capital projects are delivered on time and on budget.”
In a tight post-pandemic job market, employers with open positions for infrastructure work are finding that competitive wages and training are not always enough to secure and retain top talent. Employers do not always have available resources to meet candidate requests for supportive benefits or monetary incentives.
The Jobs That Build Initiative will help address this challenge head-on, and help recruit and retain thousands more construction workers statewide. Jobs That Build will be complemented by the state’s ongoing workforce development and training initiatives. Last month, the governor announced that the state had achieved the record milestone of 12,000 apprenticeships statewide. Earlier this year, the governor announced that Maryland would become the first state in the nation to remove the four-year degree requirement for thousands of state jobs, which has led to a 41% year-over-year increase in non-degree hires.
Eligibility Guidelines. This initiative, which utilizes federal funds, will be managed through the Maryland Department of Labor Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL). An employer is eligible to apply for support if they meet the following qualifications:
- Is a Maryland-based employer with employees who reside in Maryland;
- Are up-to-date on Unemployment Insurance Taxes and in Good Standing with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation and Maryland Department of Labor;
- Have secured or can demonstrate a future award of a publicly-funded infrastructure project(s);
- Can attest to a difficulty in hiring and/or retaining construction-related employees.
Employers are eligible to apply for funds based upon the size of their company:
- $500,000 for companies with 750+ employees
- $400,000 for companies with 500-749 employees
- $300,000 for companies with less than 500 employees
Application and Award Process. Applications are available immediately, and will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition to a completed application, applicants should submit their organization’s W-9 form and a copy or screenshot of the organization’s Certificate of Good Standing. Applications will be reviewed within ten business days of receipt, and awards will be made in the coming weeks.
All grant funds awarded to an employer must be paid directly to an employee (sign-on/retention bonus or other direct stipend) or to an entity for the direct benefit of an employee (landlord, car lease, child care facility, etc.). All recipients will have to meet reporting requirements.