Congressional candidate Colvin visits Denton business
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.
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.