I want to build upon our higher education opportunities in order to help create a workforce that thrives in our new economy. Montgomery County is experiencing a jobs crisis, because it leads Maryland in job loss since July of last year. Since 2007, Montgomery County is the worst in the region in job creation – behind Fairfax County, Washington, DC, and Prince George’s County. We need change.
As the next Montgomery County Executive, I will do what I have done before: make Montgomery County the jobs engine for Maryland. The first step in making this happen is to make sure that our residents have the skills and training they need to succeed in 21st Century jobs market. I will further advance our workforce development initiatives to make sure that we have a viable workforce for tomorrow and create an applied sciences graduate research center.
Montgomery County is changing, and we must embrace that change in order to be successful. The status quo is not working. Through my strong, hands-on effective leadership, I will help all of our residents find the jobs they want and be given the opportunity they need to succeed and fulfill the American Dream.
I believe that the key to this help is providing the educational opportunities to be successful in today’s economy.
VIABLE WORKFORCE FOR TOMORROW
By coordinating efforts with Montgomery College, The Universities at Shady Grove, The Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, and the Department of Economic Development, Montgomery County can become a national leader in providing our residents with the educational opportunities necessary to succeed in today’s economy. We need to get people back to work and provide them with affordable opportunities to learn the skills necessary for this economy. We must realize to the fullest potential the incredible assets we have in our County and utilize them.
While I believe it is important to focus on growing the innovation economy, and I have a plan to make Montgomery County the startup center for the region, that does not mean we should ignore the burgeoning sector of the workforce who find themselves out of work or in dead-end jobs. That is why I want to leverage the influence of Montgomery County government to help those residents who need it most.
Noticing a hollowing out of quality middle class jobs, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched “College to Careers” to ensure Chicagoans are prepared for careers in growing fields and are able to seize thousands of new job openings over the next decade.
I want to mirror that program by forging partnerships between Montgomery County’s high schools and colleges and top employers in the County in industries like hospitality, insurance, construction and health care, to ensure that the educational and vocational opportunities being provided for our students match up to what employers are looking for. Doing so will provide real-world experience for those who are looking for quality, meaningful work without having to go to a four-year college or university. Bringing our County’s top private employers into the conversation about curricula available can better ensure that Montgomery County residents and students get Montgomery County jobs.
HIGHER EDUCATION GRADUATE RESEARCH CENTER
At the same time, I want to take Montgomery County’s higher education opportunities to a higher level. We need an applied sciences graduate research center, and I will issue a challenge to top institutions from around the world to propose a new or expanded applied sciences campus in Montgomery County. We will offer County-owned land, a seed investment of County capital, and the full support of my administration in making this a reality.
It is time we dramatically expand our capacity in the applied sciences to maintain our global competitiveness and create jobs. Historically, NIH has been our research institute. This new applied sciences graduate research campus would not only enrich the County’s existing research capabilities, but also lead to innovative ideas that can be commercialized, catalyzing hundreds of spinoff companies and increasing the probability that the next high growth company will emerge in Montgomery County.
New York City started moving in this direction with their own applied sciences challenge, and President Obama announced in his State of the Union address last year his intention to support connecting “businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” I want to lead the charge to seize upon this opportunity for Montgomery County.
Montgomery County needs a leader who understands the potential our students have in positively affecting our County’s long-term economic sustainability. Unfortunately, the current approach is not working: Montgomery County leads the state in job loss since July, and we are last in job creation in the region since 2007. We trail Fairfax County, Washington, D.C., Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, and Howard County.
When I was County Executive, Montgomery County led Maryland in job creation, and under my leadership we can do it again. Now more than ever, we need a strong, hands-on effective leader who will ensure that all of our residents are given the opportunity to succeed.