By Megan Poinski
Gov. Martin O’Malley spread his message of job creation through more innovation and less paperwork at a Friday morning symposium with hundreds of members of the state’s business community.
Both innovation and efficiency are key to the continued success of Maryland’s economy, O’Malley said. While Maryland did not suffer in the recession quite as much as other states, it is still recovering – and that recovery is slow. There is no progress without jobs, O’Malley said.
“The challenge we have is to get that job-generating opportunity engine that is Maryland operating again,” O’Malley said.
For O’Malley’s part, he had issued an executive order calling for a 60-day review of ways to streamline state regulations and spark job creation. So far, he’s received 352 suggestions. O’Malley will present a list on some of the suggestions he wants to act on next month, but shared a few in a press release on Friday. These include:
· Allowing notices of intent under general permits for construction activity to be filed online with the Maryland Department of the Environment.
· Eliminating the requirement for oyster harvesters to obtain power dredge permits from the Department of Natural Resources.
· Repealing requirements that nursing home developers obtain pre-approval by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Fresh from an economic mission to India, O’Malley said that being in a country so large and seeing how it progressed made him feel like all of Maryland’s problems are manageable.
He opened the forum with several statistics about the state’s economic and financial situation.
While Maryland’s economy is growing, the state has only regained 38% of the jobs lost in the recession. Meanwhile, Maryland is innovating in several fields, such earnings top rankings for states with the most biotech and cybersecurity companies, or with the best business climates for new ideas.
University of Maryland Baltimore County President Freeman Hrabowski spoke about using education and the state’s universities to change young people’s mindsets. Last month, Hrabowski was featured on “60 Minutes” for the way he has galvanized UMBC’s students to get ready for an innovation economy.
Without people educated enough for good jobs, Hrabowski said that companies are going to be less likely to locate in Maryland.
Better education equals more jobs
“The more educated the population, the more you’re going to be able to create jobs,” he said.
Hrabowski said that the United States will likely never have as many high achievers as India or China. Both of those countries have billions of people, while the United States only has about 300 million. About 10% of the population can be expected to be high achievers – meaning that India and China both have larger numbers of people in that top tier.
“We can never outdo them on the basis of numbers. It has to be on the basis of creativity,” Hrabowski said. “It has to be on the basis of innovation.”
Students at UMBC have several internships and research partnerships with top-level companies based in Maryland. That creative and practical mindset, he said, helps both the economy in the state and young people’s prospects for employment.
Both O’Malley and Hrabowski also congratulated two of the state’s youngest entrepreneurs, Gabrielle and Daniel Williams of Upper Marlboro. Gabrielle, 11, runs Jewelz of Jordan, which specializes in mother-daughter jewelry. Daniel, 13, reviews movies and books on his blog, The D-Dan Reviews. To kick off Friday’s symposium, the siblings presented O’Malley with a copy of Gabrielle’s book, “The Making of a Young Entrepreneur.”
“Our people are possessed by spirit of becoming young entrepreneurs,” O’Malley said.
Other speakers at Friday’s symposium include Maureen McAvey from the Urban Land Institute, who talked about the need to rebuild infrastructure and the jobs it would create, and Daniel White from the Whiting Turner Company, who talked about some of the more business-unfriendly laws and regulations in Maryland.