Con­gres­sional can­di­date Colvin visits Den­ton business

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

DEN­TON — Jesse Colvin, U.S. Congress Demo­cratic can­di­date for Maryland’s First Dis­trict, toured Tan­gle­wood Con­ser­va­to­ries in Den­ton Thurs­day, Aug. 9, to meet with em­ploy­ees and learn more about lo­cal ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Colvin, a fourth gen­er­a­tion Mary­lan­der and for­mer U.S. Army Ranger in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer, earned the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion with a vic­tory in June’s pri­mary elec­tion. He will face in­cum­bent U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, R-Md.-1st, in Novem­ber’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Tan­gle­wood Conser va­to­ries, a business cre­at­ing cus­tom glass con­ser­va­to­ries and an­tique green­houses for cus­tomers all over the world, used its Un­tan­gled Minds or­ga­ni­za­tion to de­velop an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram part­ner­ship with Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools and sev­eral lo­cal busi­nesses to help stu­dents ex­cel in an ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing set­ting.

Af­ter 15 years of try­ing, the Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Pro­duc­tion Pro­fes­sion­als pro­gram be­gan in Jan­uary at the Caro­line County Ca­reer and Technology Cen­ter in Ridgely.

The AMP pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents for lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­reers. Stu­dents grad­u­at­ing from the pro­gram will be pre­pared to take the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Skills Stan­dards Coun­cil Cer­ti­fied Pro­duc­tion Tech­ni­cian cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. The stu­dents could then go di­rectly into the lo­cal work­force right out of high school.

While in the AMP pro­gram, all stu­dents be­come fork­lift cer­ti­fied, a skill needed in man­u­fac­tur­ing set­tings. The lo­cal part­ners also come into the class­room to work with stu­dents on var­i­ous projects. The stu­dents then get to go out­side the class­room and work with lo­cal part­ners in their set­tings.

“If you want ground truth, you got to go to the ground and learn it,” Colvin said. “AMP is a fan­tas­tic pro­gram. They need the big­gest cham­pion they can get. I hope to be that part­ner.”

Tan­gle­wood Con­ser­va­to­ries Pres­i­dent Alan Stein said he moved the business to Caro­line County 20 years be­cause he loves the area and lifestyle, but even­tu­ally ran into la­bor prob­lems.

“If you are a grow­ing business, where do you get la­bor from?” Stein asked Colvin. “In or­der for busi­nesses to come here, there has to be a work­force. We don’t have the young peo­ple with the skills to per­form in man­u­fac­tur­ing even though we have plenty of those lo­cal jobs avail­able.

“That has been a big prob­lem here for a long time. With­out the work­force, you don’t have the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. With­out the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, you don’t have the lifestyle that is go­ing to at­tract peo­ple.”

Stein said Tan­gle­wood spent about 15 years try­ing to con­vince CCPS about the merit be­hind the AMP pro­gram. He said in the last three years, the business de­vel­oped strong re­la­tion­ships with newer mem­bers of the school sys­tem who saw the value in the pro­gram.

“The newer lead­er­ship had a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and sup­ported our pro­gram,” he said.

Tan­gle­wood’s strug­gle to gain ap­proval was not lost on Colvin.

“Re­la­tion­ships are prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant thing,” he said. “The rea­son AMP hap­pened is be­cause re­la­tion­ships were formed three years ago. It might not be in the job de­scrip­tion, but it comes with the abil­ity to wrap your arms around folks and bring them to the ta­ble.

“A Con­gress­man can build re­la­tion­ships by cham­pi­oning causes,” he said. “We have to give young peo­ple a rea­son to stay, which starts with jobs, and im­prov­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. We talked a lot about jobs in there but opi­oids comes up, health­care comes up, qual­ity of life comes it. It is all con­nected, and it all comes down to re­la­tion­ships. I hear that across the dis­trict, whether at an ad­vance man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity or a veter­ans fa­cil­ity.” Fol­low Caro­line/Dorchester Edi­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_S­tarDem.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

U.S. Congress First Dis­trict Demo­cratic can­di­date Jesse Colvin, cen­ter, meets with Tan­gle­wood Con­ser­va­to­ries Pres­i­dent Alan Stein, left, and Tan­gle­wood CNC Op­er­a­tor An­drew Kin­sey dur­ing a tour of the Den­ton business Thurs­day, Aug. 9.

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