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Maryland transit, labor agencies ink agreement calling for more skilled workers for transportation projects

Earlier this month, Maryland Transit Administrator Ralign Wells and Maryland Labor Secretary Leonard Howie officially agreed their respective departments will work together to prepare Marylanders for thousands of skilled construction trade jobs that are expected to be generated by the Red and Purple line projects, and other transportation projects in the state.

The agreement stems from the announcement in early March by Gov. Joseph O'Malley and other state leaders regarding proposed legislation that would dedicate $3.4 billion to transportation projects over the next five years, state officials said in a statement posted on the Maryland Transit Administration's (MTA) website.

MTA and Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) officials have identified five trades — heavy equipment operators, electricians, cement/brick masons, carpenters and ironworkers — that might be in short supply for various transportation projects.

The newly signed pact will help focus DLLR's job training efforts on those trades through partnerships with labor unions, local workforce development agencies, contractors and community-based organizations, state officials said.

The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile light-rail line extending from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George's County. The Baltimore Red Line is a proposed 14-mile light-rail line connecting the areas of Woodlawn, Edmondson Village, West Baltimore, Harbor East Fells Point, Canton and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, with direct connections to other public transportation modes.

Combined, the Red and Purple lines are projected to yield about 7,000 construction jobs, state officials said.

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