August 22, 2023

Van Hollen, Cardin Announce Key Committee Passage of Over $25 Million for Maryland Health Care, Education, and Workforce Projects

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Committee, and Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, (both D-Md.) announced the inclusion of over $25 million in key Senate Committee legislation providing direct federal funding for community-led projects throughout Maryland. These community projects, funded at the Senators’ request, will support expanding access to health care, education, and good jobs in underserved communities. 
The funds were included within the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies’ proposed funding legislation for fiscal year 2024 which was released as part of the annual Congressional Appropriations process and passed on a bipartisan basis by the full Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will proceed to consideration before the full Senate – funding is not finalized until the Appropriations bills are passed by the Senate, reconciled with the House of Representatives, and signed by the President.
“One of our top priorities is securing federal investments to support important initiatives in our communities. That’s why working together with Team Maryland we fought for these funds to provide essential health care, education, and job training services to Marylanders. This federal funding makes a real, positive, impact, and we’re committed to working to get these investments over the finish line,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“These community-led programs provide services that will drive opportunity, especially in our most chronically underserved communities. Our targeted investments will help these initiatives move forward, and includes funding for projects which will expand access to affordable health and dental care, create employment reentry opportunities for people who were formerly incarcerated, and bolster literacy and arts education in our schools. Team Maryland is committed to securing this federal funding so that our local, on-the-ground organizations can continue to meet Marylanders’ needs and priorities,” said Senator Cardin.
The Senators secured funding for the following projects in the Senate Appropriations FY2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding legislation:
Project Name: A Wider Circle’s Essential Support Program
Applicant: A Wider Circle
Project Location: Montgomery County
Amount Included: $500,000
Description: Funds will expand the Essential Support Program, which provides beds, furniture, and basic home goods to low-income households across Maryland. A Wider Circle will ramp up its team, inventory, and logistics to serve an additional 600-800 households this year.
Project Name: Art with a Heart Out of School Time Initiatives
Applicant: Art with a Heart
Project Location: Baltimore City; Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel Counties
Amount Included: $506,000
Description: Art with a Heart offers a variety of services to the Baltimore community, including year-round educational visual art programs to underserved children, youth, and adults. Funds will be used to serve more students in educational, mentorship, and leadership programs.
Project Name: Baer School Health Suite
Applicant: William S. Baer School Partnership Board
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $300,000
Description: The Baer School is a Baltimore City Public School that serves the city’s most critically disabled and medically vulnerable children. Funds will be used to remodel the health suite to serve students more effectively and provide care that will improve attendance.
Project Name: Bright Futures and Family-Sustaining Careers for Baltimore City Residents
Applicant: Civic Works, Inc.
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $788,000
Description: Civic Works provides job training to individuals with barriers to employment, helping them find sustaining jobs. Funds will be used to increase wraparound case management, career placement, job retention, and supportive services and expand program capacity in order to serve more Marylanders.
Project Name: CCI - Ora Glen Community Health Services Expansion Program
Applicant: CCI Health Services
Project Location: Prince George's County
Amount Included: $940,000
Description: Funds will be used to renovate and equip a dental practice, including pediatric dentistry, at CCI – Ora Glen, a community health center in Prince George’s County. Patients will have a one-stop-shop for affordable primary care, dental services, a pharmacy, and a walk-in clinic in a community setting.
Project Name: Choptank Community Health - Chestertown Health Center
Applicant: Choptank Community Health System, Inc
Project Location: Kent County
Amount Included: $892,000
Description: Funds will be used to renovate the Chestertown Health Center to include affordable, comprehensive dental services for adult and pediatric patients. CCHS will also partner with NYU Langone Health to bring general dentistry and pediatric dental residents to the region to build the local workforce.
Project Name: Community-Based Services for Older Adults to Age in Place with Dignity & Respect
Applicant: Partners In Care Maryland, Inc.
Project Location: Anne Arundel County
Amount Included: $1,000,000
Description: Partners In Care provides no-fee transportation, home maintenance, and support to help older adults safely age in place. Funds will be used to expand outreach, training, and programs to serve more individuals.
Project Name: Creating a Restoration Resource Workforce through Reentry Partnerships
Applicant: Maryland Reentry Resource Center Inc.
Project Location: Anne Arundel County
Amount Included: $200,000
Description: Funds will be used for a partnership with the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council to provide soft skills, green infrastructure, and landscape training to returning citizens in order to help these individuals secure jobs and create a ready workforce of restoration maintenance professionals.
Project Name: Creative Nomads “Where Art Starts” Youth And Family Program
Applicant: Creative Nomads
Project Location: Baltimore City and Baltimore County
Amount Included: $80,000
Description: The Where Art Starts program offers an outlet for youth and families to engage in creative educational programming together, while building relationships and community. Funds will expand the program and provide safe spaces for children and their families to connect through the arts.
Project Name: Cybersecurity Workforce Training Expansion Program
Applicant: Maryland Association of Community Colleges
Project Location: Statewide (All Counties)
Amount Included: $2,000,000
Description: Funds will upgrade information technology infrastructure, computer equipment, and software for cybersecurity labs at 16 community colleges to provide state-of-the-art learning environments and prepare students with the skills they need to take advantage of Maryland’s growing cybersecurity industry.
Project Name: East Baltimore Medical Center Renovations
Applicant: East Baltimore Medical Center (EBMC)
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $725,000
Description: EBMC is in a medically underserved area of East Baltimore and demand has long exceeded capacity. Funds will be used to renovate the third floor of the medical center with additional clinical space to expand care delivery and access for local residents.
Project Name: Garrett County Residential Crisis Services
Applicant: Garrett County Lighthouse, Inc.
Project Location: Garrett County
Amount Included: $85,000
Description: Safe Harbor RCS is Garrett County’s only mental-health focused residential crisis facility and has been closed due to structural water damage. Funds will be used to repair the damage and upgrade the structure so the facility can reopen and provide critical services to residents.
Project Name: Glasses4Scholars
Applicant: Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington
Project Location: Prince George's County
Amount Included: $200,000
Description: Funds will be used to expand free school-based vision health services for underserved children in Prince George’s County. At school, students will receive an eye exam from a licensed doctor, and any child in need of corrective lenses will select two no-cost pairs of prescription eyeglasses.
Project Name: Historic Preservation Workforce Development
Applicant: The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture, Inc.
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $420,000
Description: Funds will support apprenticeships for returning citizens and underserved communities to learn skills for in-demand jobs. The program uses the historic Peale Museum as a classroom to teach skills like masonry repair, woodworking, window restoration, and plaster work.
Project Name: Increasing Educational Opportunities and Employment Skills for Goucher Prison Education Partnership Students
Applicant: Goucher College
Project Location: Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County
Amount Included: $355,000
Description: The Goucher Prison Education Partnership helps incarcerated individuals work toward a college degree and gain skills to help them successfully reenter their communities and reduce recidivism. Funds will expand the program to serve additional students and decrease the time to graduation.
Project Name: Latino STEM Education Initiative: Engaging Kids and Families in STEM Pathways
Applicant: KID Museum
Project Location: Montgomery County
Amount Included: $704,000
Description: Funds will be used to develop and implement an innovative, hands-on learning curriculum to increase Latino engagement in STEM, supporting educational and economic opportunity for a large and growing segment of Maryland's population.
Project Name: Maritime Skills Workforce Development Program
Applicant: Living Classrooms Foundation
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $883,000
Description: Funds will be used to pilot a workforce training program for underserved youth and unemployed adults with barriers to employment. Participants will receive training on vessel operations and water safety and receive certifications, employment placement assistance, and follow-up services.
Project Name: Mary's Center Prince George's County Health Center
Applicant: Mary's Center for Maternal & Child Care, Inc.
Project Location: Prince George's County
Amount Included: $5,000,000
Description: Mary's Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center, provides healthcare, education and social services for low and moderate-income individuals. Funds will be used to relocate its Adelphi Center to Cheverly to continue medical, dental, behavioral health, addiction, radiology, and other services.
Project Name: OrchKids Inventory Expansion
Applicant: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $249,000
Description: OrchKids provides free after school music education for students in underserved neighborhoods in Baltimore City. Funds will be used to purchase instruments and supplies to expand the program and reach more students.
Project Name: Out of School Programming for Baltimore City Students
Applicant: The Agoge Project
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $75,000
Description: Agoge Project volunteers provide free extracurricular activities for Baltimore City middle and high school students in the Belair- Edison and surrounding community. Funds will be used to introduce a new robotics class and expand sewing instruction, boxing, Jiu Jitsu, and other programs.
Project Name: Park West Health System Capital Expansion Project
Applicant: Park West Health System
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $1,500,000
Description: Funds will support the creation of a mobile health unit, staffed by a driver/security officer, a nurse clinician, and rotating health educators to serve residents who cannot easily reach the primary clinics. Services include routine exams, physicals, health screenings, and rapid testing.
Project Name: Prince George's Community College, Pathways to Careers in Transportation
Applicant: Prince George's Community College
Project Location: Prince George's County
Amount Included: $874,000
Description: Funds will expand the college’s Commercial Drivers Licensure program, which includes internships, apprenticeships, and a third-party testing center to serve more students seeking this in-demand certification. The program will also train students on safety, vehicle maintenance, and fleet management.
Project Name: Reading is Fundamental Literacy Program
Applicant: Reading is Fundamental
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $500,000
Description: Funds will be used for a partnership with Baltimore City Public School District to provide books, a lending library at each participating school, and free digital library access to students in pre-K through middle school to improve student literacy.
Project Name: Residential Setting/Supportive Housing Initiative
Applicant: Baltimore County
Project Location: Baltimore County
Amount Included: $500,000
Description: Baltimore County currently has 20 mental health crisis beds. Funds will be used to increase the number of beds and partner with nonprofits serving the homeless and those with substance use and mental health disorders to ensure individuals have access to the care they need.
Project Name: Sinai Hospital Outpatient Cancer Center Modernization Project
Applicant: Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Project Location: Baltimore City and Baltimore County
Amount Included: $1,500,000
Description: Funds will be used to construct a new, consolidated, outpatient cancer center to serve as the flagship location for the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute. The new facility will allow for expanded access, more streamlined delivery of care and better patient outcomes.
Project Name: SpringForward Farms: An Employee-Owned Solution for Adults with Behavioral Health Needs
Applicant: SpringForward Ventures
Project Location: Baltimore County
Amount Included: $307,000
Description: SpringForward Ventures incubates new businesses that will convert to employee-ownership once sustainable. Funds will be used to train managers and growers in agricultural and business skills so they can become employee owners of a farm.
Project Name: Summer Youth Enrichment Program
Applicant: Prince George's County Executive
Project Location: Prince George's County
Amount Included: $1,500,000
Description: Funds will be used to provide county youth with both virtual opportunities and paid in-person work assignments so they gain employment skills as well as experience and exposure to a range of in-demand careers including information technology, trades, hospitality, and government service.
Project Name: University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Veterinary Medicine Program
Applicant: University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Project Location: Somerset County
Amount Included: $1,071,000
Description: Funds will be used to establish a Veterinary Science Program within a new School of Veterinary Medicine at UMES. The program will be the first of its kind in the Maryland, Delaware, and DC region and will train pet and agricultural veterinarians to fill in-demand jobs.
Project Name: Workforce Development Training Services for Individuals with Learning Disabilities
Applicant: Sunflower Bakery
Project Location: Montgomery County
Amount Included: $75,000
Description: Funds will allow Sunflower Bakery to expand workforce development training services in pastry arts, hospitality, and other food related industries for young adults with intellectual disabilities – primarily learning and cognitive disabilities - to gain valuable skills and obtain jobs.
Project Name: Wraparound Services for African and Latin American Communities
Applicant: CASA
Project Location: Prince George’s County
Amount Included: $1,000,000
Description: Funds will be used to pilot a case management system to provide more effective services to the community, including job training and health and human services. CASA will evaluate the pilot and develop best practices and a program manual to share with other service organizations.
Project Name: Zero Waste To Zero Hunger
Applicant: 4MYCITY INC
Project Location: Baltimore City and Baltimore County
Amount Included: $1,000,000
Description: Funds will expand the Food Rescue to Go! program that collects surplus food and distributes it to families facing hunger. Most of the rescuing, sorting, and bagging of food is done by paid trainees and deliveries are done by DoorDash drivers, creating jobs and preventing hunger in the community.
Additional highlights from the FY24 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill include:
Key Points & Highlights – Department of Labor
Workforce Development: The bill includes $2.9 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act formula grants, protecting essential investments made in recent years. It provides $290 million for Registered Apprenticeships—an increase of $5 million over fiscal year 2023—and it sustains funding for a range of other programs like the Youth Build, Reentry Employment Opportunities, and Job Corps. Maintaining these key investments in workforce development programs will help leverage investments made in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and CHIPS and Science Act to continue to grow the economy, provide workers the skills they need to secure good-paying jobs of the future, and help American businesses compete globally.
Unemployment Insurance: The bill includes roughly $4.1 billion for the administration of the state-run unemployment insurance and employment services system, an increase of $63 million. These funds support the timely delivery of unemployment insurance, prevent improper payments, and support reemployment of workers who lose their jobs.
Reentry Employment Opportunities: The bill includes $115 million for the Reentry Employment Opportunities program, which provides training and reintegration activities for current or formerly incarcerated youth and adults as they transition back into society. Participants receive occupational skills straining, industry-recognized credentials, and apprenticeship opportunities leading to employment in good, well-paying jobs and careers with opportunities for advancement.

Employee Ownership: The report accompanying the bill directs the Department of Labor to create and publicize materials to promote best practices for employee ownership of businesses, as authorized by the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022. The report further notes that the SECURE 2.0 law directs the Department of Labor to produce formal guidance for determining whether adequate consideration has been provided when a business owner sells to their workers, which is a necessary determination for enabling the transition to ownership through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
Worker Protection Agencies: The bill protects investments in the Department of Labor’s worker protection agencies and provides targeted increases of $4.5 million each for the Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Solicitor. The bill also protects enforcement resources for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Key Points & Highlights – Department of Health and Human Services
Child Care and Early Learning Programs: The bill provides a $1 billion increase for early learning programs over fiscal year 2023. It provides $8.7 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant—a $700 million increase over fiscal year 2023—which will help more families across the country find and afford the child care they need. It also provides $12.3 billion for Head Start, a $275 million increase over fiscal year 2023; $560 million for the Special Education Part C Grants for Infants and Families program, a $20 million increase; and $80 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, a $5 million increase. 
Older Adult Care: The bill provides funding for aging and disability services programs including $410 million for Home and Community Based Supportive Services and $8.5 million in funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program which provides supportive services for aging Holocaust survivors and their families and other older adult populations impacted by traumatic events.

Biomedical Research: The bill provides $47.8 billion—a $943 million increase in discretionary funding over fiscal year 2023—for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is headquartered in Maryland, including $292 million for NIH buildings and facilities. The bill provides targeted increases for critical programs, including a $100 million increase for mental health research, a $100 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research, a $60 million increase for cancer research, a $20 million increase for opioid research, a $12 million for a new palliative care research program, a $10 million increase for diabetes research, and a $10 million increase for the IMPROVE initiative for research on maternal mortality. The bill also includes $1.5 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).
Substance Use Prevention and Treatment: The bill builds upon key investments made in fiscal year 2023 to address the rising toll of opioid overdoses fueled by fentanyl and improve access to substance use disorder treatment and prevention. The bill provides over $5 billion for opioid treatment and prevention, a more than $125 million increase over fiscal year 2023. This includes an additional: $40 million for the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant; $20 million for the State Opioid Response grants; $10 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program; and $20 million for NIH opioid research programs. The bill also encourages the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to prioritize additional research and development of cocaine overdose reversal medication.
Mental Health: The bill provides $35 million more for the Mental Health Block Grant over fiscal year 2023 and includes $172 million for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program, a $19 million increase over fiscal year 2023, to expand community-based clinical training and for repayment of education loans for individuals working in either a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area or where the overdose death rate exceeds the national average. Additionally, the bill provides $400 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, a $15 million increase over fiscal year 2023, and an $18 million increase over fiscal year 2023 for the 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline, building on the nearly $400 million increase in fiscal year 2023. The bill also includes over $100 million in investments within the Department of Education to address the shortage of school-based mental health professionals in our nation’s K-12 schools.

Oral Health: The bill urges the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop innovative approaches to improve pediatric oral health care by coordinating with other programs that serve Medicaid and CHIP populations and to expand programs to integrate care and increase oral health education for parents and families.

The bill also urges the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to fund additional research demonstrating the link between dental care and the success of other covered medical services, including conducting trials to determine which oral care interventions are most effective for improving medical outcomes.

Minority Health: The bill makes key investments in reducing health disparities, including $524.395 for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and $74.835 for the Office of Minority Health (OMH).

The bill also reaffirms the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ (NIDDK’s) Health Disparities and Health Equity Working Group’s research on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases to address disparities in kidney care.

Violence Prevention: The bill includes report language encouraging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop innovative approaches to reduce re-injury and re-incarceration from violent trauma, including facilitating the creation and expansion of hospital-based violence intervention and prevention programs through partnerships with trauma centers and community-based violence prevention programs. 

Protects Essential Health Care Programs: The bill protects essential funding to address public health threats, improve health care access and affordability, and strengthen the health care workforce. This includes: $1.86 billion for Community Health Centers, including $55 million for school-based health centers; $1.4 billion for Health Professions Workforce Development; $1.2 billion for the core Maternal and Child Health programs; $341 million for the Improving Maternal Health Initiative to combat the unacceptable levels of maternal mortality; and $4.1 billion for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s administrative needs.

The bill also includes $350 million for Public Health Infrastructure and Capacity, maintaining the 75% increase secured in fiscal year 2023 to bolster public health infrastructure and rebuild the workforce at the state and local level to be ready to respond to emerging public health threats.

The bill includes $616 million for the Ending HIV Epidemic Initiative, a $3 million increase, which provides high-need jurisdictions with prevention and treatment services for people at high risk for HIV transmission. This includes $223 million within the CDC Domestic HIV/AIDS Prevention and Research programs to develop and deploy innovative data management solutions, increase access to PrEP, and better detect and respond to HIV clusters. The bill also protects funding for reproductive health programs such as Title X and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. 
Pandemic Preparedness and Biodefense: The bill includes $3.67 billion for the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), including a $20 million increase for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and $75 million to establish a new program in manufacturing and production to ensure that critical resources including medical countermeasures and ancillary supplies are manufactured in the United States. It protects funding for critical programs, including the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), Project Bioshield, and the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

The bill also urges ASPR to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop capabilities to continually assess the global supply chain for essential medicines, particularly for shortages of sterile injectable drugs, which the FDA has identified to be the drugs most commonly in short supply.

Energy Assistance: The bill includes $4.075 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a $75 million increase over fiscal year 2023. LIHEAP provides assistance to low-income households to help heat and cool their homes. 
Key Points & Highlights – Department of Education
Elementary and Secondary Education: The bill provides a $175 million increase for Title I-A grants and a $175 million increase for the primary IDEA Special Education State grant program. These boosts sustain and build on the more than $3.1 billion increase provided over the last two fiscal years for these programs, which are the cornerstone federal investments in our nation’s public elementary and secondary school system. Senators Van Hollen and Cardin continue to champion full funding for these programs through the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act and the IDEA Full Funding Act.
The bill also provides $1.4 billion, a $20 million increase over fiscal year 2023, for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants; $1.6 billion, $897 million, an increase of $7 million over fiscal year 2023, for English Language Acquisition; and $150 million for the Full-Service Community School Program, level with the fiscal year 2023 enacted. The bill also includes a combined increase of $35 million to address educator shortages, including an increase of $19.5 million for IDEA Personnel Preparation. 
Higher Education: The bill includes a $250 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award, for a total maximum award of $7,645 for the 2024-25 school year. This brings the combined increase in the maximum Pell award over the last three fiscal years to $1,150. Each year, Pell Grants help over 6 million students at all stages of life pursue post-secondary education and further their careers. 
The bill includes important investments that support Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions, including $402.6 million for the Strengthening HBCUs program and $20.3 million for the Strengthening Master’s Degrees at HBCUs program; $102.5 million for the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions program; $22.7 million for the Strengthening Predominantly Black Institutions program; and $231.6 million for the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. 

The bill’s important investments in the administration of student aid programs will support the implementation of more affordable repayment plans and fixes to longstanding issues in student loan forgiveness programs, as well as support borrowers as they enter repayment this fall. The bill includes $85 million, an increase of $15 million over fiscal year 2023, for the Teacher Quality Partnership program, and $15 million for the Hawkins Centers of Excellence to address educator shortages, particularly in the highest-need school districts. The bill maintains investments in a range of other programs including TRIO, GEAR UP, and Postsecondary Student Success Grants to help students prepare for a post-secondary education and succeed once they are there. 
Key Points & Highlights – Related Agencies
Social Security Administration (SSA): The bill includes $14.4 billion for SSA’s administrative expenses, an increase of $292 million over fiscal year 2023. This funding will help SSA, which is headquartered in Maryland, keep up with rising costs to address service delivery challenges. But tight spending caps significantly limit the ability to provide SSA the funding it needs to provide the service that Americans who have paid into Social Security deserve. Addressing backlogs in key workloads and wait times will require sustained increases to allow SSA to increase staffing and make needed IT improvements. 
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS): The bill protects all programmatic funding for CNCS, including funding for AmeriCorps, and it includes a new provision to increase flexibility for how the agency determines terms of service positions. 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting: The bill protects funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This includes a critical investment of $60 million for digital interconnection and $535 million as a two-year advance appropriation, of which roughly 70% is provided directly to local public TV and radio stations.   
Institute of Museum and Library Services: The bill provides $290 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports grants to local museums and libraries.