BALTIMORE, MD (May 7, 2018)– Eight Maryland companies have been awarded a total of nearly $230,000 in workforce training grants to help increase production and boost efficiency from the Maryland Department of Commerce. Through funding provided by the Department’sPartnership for Workforce Quality (PWQ) program, the companies will collectively be able to send 240 employees to training sessions to learn new skillsets and train on advanced equipment.
The PWQ program was established in 1989 to invest in workforce training, particularly in the manufacturing and technology fields. After not receiving funding for a number of years, the program was recapitalized with $1 million in Maryland Commerce’s FY2018 budget and was part of Governor Larry Hogan’s 2017 Maryland Jobs Initiative. Companies with qualified training projects will be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost.

“PWQ is a unique program in that it benefits the business by increasing productivity and improving customer service, while also training employees on new skill sets that help them advance their careers,” said Governor Hogan. “By recapitalizing this program with $1 million this year, we have been able to help more than two dozen small to mid-sized businesses fund workforce training.”
The companies receiving training grants include BTE Technologies (Anne Arundel County); Strouse (Carroll County); Plasticoid Company Inc. (Cecil County); Conveyor Handling Company, Inc. (Howard County); Atlantech Online, Inc. (Montgomery County); Emmes Corporation (Montgomery County); Eight O’Clock Coffee (Prince George’s County); Platform Aerospace (St. Mary’s County); Bikle Manufacturing Company (Washington County); and Jamison Door Company (Washington County).
Atlantech Online, founded in 1995 in Maryland as one of the early companies into the internet service provider industry, is using the funds to train 11 of their support staff on the latest tools and technologies for delivering business-class phone and internet service.
“The PWQ grant has allowed us to better support our growing customer base by ensuring that our employees master the technical skills needed for a successful career at Atlantech,” said General Manager Steve Royston. “This program has been fantastic.”
Bikle Manufacturing, Inc.
, named a 2016 Maryland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides machine tool rebuilding and other custom fabrication services in Smithsburg. The company intends to use the funds to train eight apprentices in the field.
“It is vital to Bikle and our community to give young men and women opportunities to learn,” said Joanie Gerber, CEO of Bikle Manufacturing. “The Washington County Apprenticeship Program along with PWQ grants gives a small business like ours the support to employ young people while further advancing our productivity.”
The Rockville-based biotech firmEmmesintends to use its more than $40,000 in PWQ funds to support the advanced skills training of 15 employees. Emmes describes itself as a “clinical research collaborator” working side-by-side with leading researchers to tackle challenges that have an impact on public health throughout the world since 1977. Vice President Jennifer Hester says the PWQ funds help the company maintain a competitive edge through technical training.
“Emmes is excited by the business opportunities provided by Maryland’s Partnership for Workforce Quality program,” Hester said. “The PWQ grant furthers Emmes’ ability to maintain the technical expertise amongst our staff needed to provide the level of professional support expected by our research partners in this competitive environment.”
“The PWQ program has proven to be an asset to companies of all sizes in both the urban and rural areas of our state,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “These training sessions help our local businesses meet market demands and continue to perform competitively right here in Maryland.”

To learn more about the Partnership for Workforce Quality, visitcommerce.maryland.gov/pwq.