WASHINGTON – Gov. Martin O’Malley has tapped a new state advisory board to help Maryland residents find jobs with the nation’s largest employer — the federal government.
The 16-member Federal Facilities Advisory Board, which O’Malley announced Monday, will work with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to examine how federal facilities in the state can boost Maryland employment numbers.
Maryland employment is higher than the national average partly due to government job opportunities in the Washington-metropolitan area; 5 percent of the state’s work force is employed by the federal government already, according to DBED.
Chairman Kevin F. Kelly of McLean, Va., said that the advisory board “is a first-rate board of people from the private and public sectors, and businesses that represent virtually every part of the state.”
The board’s goal “is to go out and listen to people and find out from them what they need,” added Kelly, the vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates Inc.
One of the board’s first priorities is to implement the recommendations of a cyber security report, which O’Malley also introduced on Monday, to make Maryland the epicenter of the cyber security industry.
Oculis Labs, a Maryland company based in Hunt Valley, was profiled in the report. Oculis developed a product for federal offices called Chameleon, which protects sensitive information displayed on a computer screen by scrambling the view of the documents for undesignated viewers.
Oculis President Bill Anderson of Owings Mills, said he recommended the state create such an advisory board because smaller companies often have a harder time reaching government agencies with their products.
“That’s something an advisory board could really, really help us out with,” Anderson said, “to create opportunities for business and potential government users to get together and communicate back and forth.”
Board member Matt Mountain of Baltimore said the board’s goal is to gather information about the facilities and then decide “how could we work better together and how could the states enable that.” Mountain directs the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, overseeing research done with the Hubble Space Telescope.
There are 44 cabinet-level agency facilities in Maryland, such as the Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, with 1,700 employees, and the Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service office, with 5,500 employees, both in Prince George’s County. Thirteen independent agencies and commissions also have Maryland facilities, including the Social Security Administration and the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center.
Together, all the nonmilitary federal facilities employ more than 100,000 workers and contributed $16 billion to Maryland’s economy, or about 17 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the governor’s office.