Governor Hogan announces more than $45 million in education funding to help students affected by COVID-19
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Governor Larry Hogan has announced over $45 million in education funding for K-12 technology improvements, community college workforce development programs, rural broadband initiatives, and other priorities in every jurisdiction in Maryland, especially those most affect by the COVID-19 pandemic.
$10 million will go to K-12 Technology Funding, which has been determined to be critical to the continued success of education processes during the state’s recovery from COVID-19. This was determined through a survey sent to all 24 local school systems by the Maryland State Department of Education to identify any barriers to implementing remote learning.
Community College Workforce Development Programs will receive $10 million. Through regular communications with the state’s institutions of higher education, it was determined that the state’s community colleges are the most effective delivery method for constituents to improve their employment opportunities and for the state to improve workforce development. Funds to community colleges will be utilized to immediately expand existing training and educational programs in locally relevant sectors and to develop new in-demand training programs for post COVID-19. Funds will also be utilized to market these programs to employers and prospective students, including recently unemployed Marylanders.
$10 million will go towards Competitive Innovation Grants, which will be awarded to educational institutions that present a unique or innovative approach to engage students, teachers, and school communities while working to address academic accessibility as a result of the pandemic. Projects can focus on implementing unique ideas at an individual school, feeder system of schools, or school system, and priority will be given to programs that address at-risk students.
The Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband will construct a wireless education network for students’ use in Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, and on the Eastern Shore. This network will initially be constructed in areas that currently lack broadband service, but could be expanded to cover other areas of the state where access may be limited for other reasons. $10 million of the funding will go towards this.
Maryland’s wireless education network for students will also be available in urban centers, where access to the internet can be scarce for underprivileged populations. The state plans to use a phased, targeted approach to ensure the populations who lack access will be connected first.
The Maryland State Department of Education will also provide over $650,000 in grants to the Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland School for the Deaf to assist in implementing remote learning for staff and students. Funding will be used to purchase devices including assistive technology and adaptive equipment for staff and students, implementing appropriate security tools, and providing professional development.