To attract and keep large businesses and make it easier to start and run a small business in Montgomery County, we need qualified workers.
I support the County’s efforts to coordinate workforce development programs. WorkSource Montgomery links local and regional economic development and workforce efforts, leading to economic competitiveness in the County. Services to local businesses help them grow and expand, and training for individuals fosters skill development and job readiness. It all improves the business climate and residents’ economic wellbeing.
Montgomery College offers a wealth of opportunities that empower students to achieve the skills they need to enter the workforce and enrich the life of our community.
In addition, we need to provide our teachers and our schools with the resources they need to ensure that our students graduate from high school ready to thrive in college or a career, including the “middle skill” jobs that require more than high school but less than college.
Raising the minimum wage is one of the best tools we have to lift incomes and grow our consumer-driven economy. But in the past 40 years, the federal minimum wage – stuck at $7.25 since 2009 – has lost 30 percent of its value.
In 2014, Seattle and San Francisco became the first major cities in the country to approve a $15 minimum wage, and Los Angeles and other cities in California followed suit in 2015. In 2016, California and New York became the first states to enact a $15 statewide minimum wage. The District of Columbia soon followed. Now Montgomery County has joined those and other jurisdictions.
I supported last year’s Council compromise, and I support efforts to enact a statewide $15 minimum wage in Maryland.
I was a working mother, and I’m acutely aware that affordable, high-quality child care is essential to enable parents to get and keep a job and to give children a strong start toward success in school and life. This is fundamental to the economic security of women and families and it’s central to the economic health of our County.
Eleven million children younger than age five are in some form of child care in the United States. There are 67,000 children under age five in Montgomery County.
The need for adequate and affordable child care is one of the most pressing issues facing working parents – a year of child care for a young child can cost more than in-state college tuition! When parents don't have access to affordable child care, it directly affects their ability to participate in the workforce, and that, in turn, affects employers. Some parents who would like to work simply can’t. Their desire to pursue career paths and higher education can be curtailed because child care is too expensive or not available. Especially for working women, child care difficulties can be an obstacle to working full time and the ability to earn higher wages.
Increased educational achievement results in greater earning power and increased productivity in adulthood, more involvement in the fabric of the community, and decreased reliance on government safety net programs. The quality and availability of early care also impact workplace productivity and absenteeism.
I pledge to make sure that the County examines best practices around the country and identifies what we can do at the local level to expand child care options and availability.
As a Member of the Board of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, I appreciate the strength of the creative economy.
The arts foster our sense of community, preserve the richness of our culture, and add beauty to our lives. They also add to economic vitality by creating jobs for local artists, actors, and administrators, increase property values, and provide patrons for local arts venues and businesses near them. In District 1 we can boast of Glen Echo Park, Imagination Stage, Round House Theatre, and Strathmore, among other high quality arts organizations.
And in 2015 alone, the nonprofit arts and culture sector pumped over $183 million into Montgomery County's local economy, supported 3,807 local jobs, and generated $65,800,000 in household income for local residents.