Overhead photo of construction workers on a framing structure with graphic of an outline of Maryland and "Maryland" label

Maryland’s government officials have been working to create a possible solution for the construction industry’s current labor challenges, and Governor Larry Hogan recently announced a program that could make the market’s future bright.

The Jobs that Build Employer Fund utilizes a whopping $15 million of federal funding to “help state contractors hire workers for government construction projects,” according to WYPR’s news director Joel McCord. 

McCord broke down the program’s goals, and noted that its focus is to help those without a college education find work. If a company qualifies, its employees could have a huge weight taken off their backs. Up to $10,000 per employee would cover transportation costs, work bonuses, housing insecurities, and even childcare.

Additionally, the state of Maryland eliminated its prior 4-year college degree requirement for most state jobs, and amped up its Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program, registering over 12,000 apprentices in the state. 

The money won’t go to just anyone: To qualify, contractors must already be working on a state project, or at least be contractually obligated to complete one. And they must live in Maryland, complete their work in Maryland, and be “up to date on unemployment insurance taxes and in good standing with the relevant state agencies,” according to McCord.

As part of Biden’s federal infrastructure bill, Maryland’s program aims to get the industry functioning after setbacks

The $1 trillion infrastructure plan passed last year seeks to open doors within the United States’ struggling construction industry. Maryland received a chunk of that funding, allowing it to conceive its “Jobs that Build” program.

The nation’s construction industry labor shortage continues to worsen, a problem that could prevent contractors from keeping and hiring skilled workers. And though the crisis has already taken hold, companies nationwide are trying to keep morale high for their employees. 

Levelset’s Isaac Barzso dissects the ways contractors can retain hard-working employees, stressing the importance of “competitive compensation and benefits.” It’s clear the Maryland Department of Labor’s $10,000 grants per worker may make this job easier for employers.

Though we’re unable to predict the exact results of programs such as the Maryland Department of Labor’s “Jobs that Build Employer Fund,” it’s no secret that states are beginning to take the necessary steps to recover from the labor shortage crisis. 

“We expect that this will help bring on thousands of construction workers and ensure that more capital projects are delivered on time and on budget,” Governor Larry Hogan stated.