BRAC Panel at the Maryland Association of Counties Conference
August 12, 2009
Good morning and thank you for inviting me to give a few opening remarks again this year. I’m glad that we are able to continue this ongoing conversation and I think it’s important to note that this conversation won’t end in September 2011, and neither will our work to ensure BRAC is a success.
I’d like to quickly thank all of our local partners for their help, for their input and for their shared efforts during this process. When we created the BRAC Subcabinet three years ago, MML and MACO stood up and insisted that we also create a Local Government Subcommittee to relay the concerns, advice and input of our county and municipal leaders.
Because of your input, we included BRAC Zones in our BRAC Community Enhancement Act. Because of your input, we’ve set certain priorities on infrastructure projects. Because of your input, we’ve kept our promise that BRAC Growth will be SmartGrowth. And because of your input, we’ve been able to remain on the path of progress even during difficult economic times.
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
These are, indeed, tough times; I don’t think I need to explain that to anyone is this room. Your counties are being forced to do more with less and your neighbors – our neighbors – are doing everything in their power to make ends meet, to pay their bills, to put whatever money they can away for their children’s future or for their own future.
Foreclosures continue to impact communities across the country. Energy costs are up and families lucky enough to still have a job are spending more on commuter costs than anything except housing. And today, more Americans are without a job than at any other time since the early 1980s. That’s why we must be focused on Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
Governor O’Malley and I are confident that Maryland will get through these difficult days more quickly than other states. We will get through these days because of the strength of our best-educated workforce, because of our strong lifescience and biotech industries, because of our proximity to Washington, D.C. and our relationship with the Federal government.
We’ll get through these days because of our diverse, broad-based economy that has historically outperformed the national economy, because of our strong wealth and income levels and our lower-than-average unemployment, because of our long history of prudent fiscal management, and because of our low debt burden; all of which were cited in our AAA Bond Retention Report.
We’ll get through these difficult days because of our best-in-the-nation public schools, because of our renowned community colleges and universities, and because even during difficult times, Governor O’Malley and I have made a commitment to protect the priorities that inspire long term prosperity.
And we know that it is not enough that we survive this recession. We must leave ourselves in a position to thrive for years to come. We must continue the partnerships that support the creation of jobs.
That’s what our stimulus is about. The Federal ARRA stimulus, which has helped to create or protect as many as 70,000 jobs in Maryland; BRAC, which by itself will create as many as another 60,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs; And everyday stimulus which we see because we are home to more than 45 federal agencies and because we are the Number One per capita recipient of Federal R&D procurement.
And I want to talk about that Federal-State relationship for a minute and what that, along with BRAC, means for Maryland.
Federal Facilities Advisory Board
The federal government employs a significant number of our neighbors and injects a significant amount of money into our economy; $12 billion in R&D procurement last year alone. That money and those jobs are going to NIH, to NASA, NSA, FDA, HHS and other facilities around the state. These research facilities and labs fuel the dynamic growth of our biotech, bioinformatics, aerospace and defense electronics, IT and other industry sectors, and they provide us with the opportunities to develop collaborative relationships and market opportunities in these emerging fields.
So, Governor O’Malley and I created the Federal Facilities Advisory Board earlier this year to develop a strategic effort to strengthen our partnership with the federal government and compete for additional federal procurement dollars; because we know that if we can “move the needle” just one or two percentage points, our businesses can create thousands of new jobs.
We’ve been at this for a while: We’ve enjoyed a strong working relationship with federal installations and research facilities for decades. But until now, we’ve never had a methodical and coordinated approach to access and leverage opportunities. And it couldn’t come at a better time.
Next Generation of Federal Jobs
BRAC is going to create 60,000 new jobs by 2015: IT jobs, communications jobs, intelligence jobs, contractor jobs; Jobs that pay well and that will stay here, and jobs that require technical skills and, in many cases, college and post-graduate degrees.
In fact, I’ve met with government contractors at different points this summer and in total, they have 1,500 openings that they are ready to fill. The only hurdle is that those jobs require security clearance and specific training. So, we’re taking steps to prepare the competitive workforce to fill not only the BRAC jobs that are here already and will be arriving over the next several months, but also the jobs in lifescience and biotech industries at NIH and FDA – the jobs that will very literally save lives and change the face of our future, and – if we make the right investments in our human capital – the jobs that could create the 21st Century’s Silicon Valley of Cyber Security.
Maryland is well positioned to be the national leader for the emerging cyber security industry. We house many of the federal facilities most at risk of a cyber attack, we have one of the nation’s most advanced, technical workforces, and we are one of very few states to have already begun significant work in the field.
Last year, IARPA – the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity – opened shop in Prince George’s County and earlier this year, moved into a dedicated facility on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. IARPA is the federal government’s initiative to encourage high-risk/high-payoff investments in research that can enhance our nation’s intelligence advantage. The program provides competitive awards and takes a cross-community approach with one goal in mind: Provide the United States with the best available intelligence programs to keep our nation secure.
With this program in Maryland and with BRAC expanding the intelligence and communications responsibilities at Aberdeen and at Ft. Meade, this is the ideal time for Maryland to tap into the tremendous opportunities in the cyber security industry.
In the coming years, the Federal government will ramp up to spend billions to protect our government systems and networks, including: a $75 million increase to support the implementation of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative that will enable DHS to develop and deploy cybersecurity technologies across the world; $37.2 million for new cybersecurity research; and an additional $15 million for cybersecurity of federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments – funding that will be used to conduct site assistance visits across the most critical infrastructure and resource sectors.
And, there are already reports that the Federal CyberCommand is most likely coming to Ft. Meade – a project that is starting at $30 billion. But to compete for these procurement and research dollars, to fill all of our BRAC jobs, to expand our lifescience and biotech industries along I-270 and Rockville Pike, we need to develop the skilled and trained workforce our private sector and federal partners demand.
Building the Workforce
We’re doing exactly that in Maryland. With your help, we’re making the necessary investments in our human capital to fulfill our BRAC responsibilities and compete for jobs in those other industries.
Despite tough financial times, Governor O’Malley and I have been able to work with the General Assembly and the Board of Regents to keep tuition flat for four straight years. Last year, we passed the BRAC Higher Education Fund to help colleges – any college – kick-start programs designed specifically to help us meet the BRAC challenges. And new this year we are going to establish an internship clearing house that connects students with contractors, providing them with real-world experience and, hopefully, putting them right to work after graduating.
We’ve also made significant investments in our community colleges: record funding for capital projects, the largest increase in operational funding. Still, we know there’s more to do. There is a need for a long term higher education provider in northeast Maryland, and there are very specific and technical programs that must be established to meet the workforce demands our larger federal role requires.
So, later this year, we’ll convene a higher education summit of higher ed officials, business leaders, local and county officials and leaders from some of our federal facilities. Stay tuned for more information on that after Labor Day.
While our investments in higher education and in our community colleges can help us meet many of the immediate demands of the BRAC and federal industries, these jobs will be here for the next several decades and require a strong, dynamic workforce pipeline.
So, we’re investing in our Number One ranked public schools: $5.5 billion this year alone, more than $1 billion since 2007 to build state-of-the-art classrooms for all of our students, and more in special programs designed to develop a strong pipeline of workers for future generations.
We understand that today’s second graders are tomorrow’s engineers. We know that the code that protects tomorrow’s intelligence will be written by computer programmers studying in computer labs in our high schools. And that’s why we’re making the investments and implementing the strategies to establish Maryland as a global leader in workforce development.
Last week, Governor O’Malley accepted the recommendations from the Governor’s STEM Task Force – recommendations that included tripling the number of teachers in STEM shortage areas and increasing the number of STEM graduates by 40 percent by 2015 – the year we expect all BRAC-related jobs will be here in Maryland.
And as Governor O’Malley put it, “if you learn it, you will earn it.” And he’s exactly right. If we provide our students with the right skills, they can compete for the jobs that will define tomorrow’s economy.
SCOPE/Security Clearance Education
But teaching our children the skills to do these jobs isn’t enough if they can’t get the job in the first place. So, MSDE developed SCOPE to infuse the academic conversation in every grade with curriculum that helps students make good choices so they can obtain a security clearance when they are ready to enter the workforce.
We understand the challenge we face, but more importantly, we understand the incredible opportunities we have. While the conversation we have had over the years has been almost principally about BRAC; almost principally about the jobs coming to Aberdeen, to Ft. Meade, to Bethesda, to Ft. Detrick and to Andrews Air Force Base; that conversation is naturally evolving because the efforts we are taking to be prepared for BRAC are larger in scope. They’re about more than just BRAC.
So I hope we can continue working together, as One Maryland, to reach our shared goals and to take full advantage of the opportunities before us. Thank you for all you have done so far and all you will do in the months and years ahead. And thank you again for including me in this important, conversation.
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