CAMBRIDGE — Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz talked about the state of business in the area when she was the guest speaker at the Thursday, Oct. 14, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce business lunch at the Hyatt in Cambridge.
“The past year and a half has seen many challenges and a lot of uncertainty,” Schulz said, “but Maryland has faced these challenges much better than most states.
Schulz talked about local business success and growth, including Patriot Steel’s anticipated involvement in emerging offshore wind projects and Mandala Pie’s recent one-year anniversary.
She said the COVID pandemic forced her department away from the traditional role of business recruiting and development to a new role. “In one day, our mission pivoted on a dime, and we became the agency to just help businesses survive — and we did it,” she said.
Schulz credited her staff and the business owners across the state. “There were a lot of sacrifices that each and every one of you made,” she said.
“Your needs continue to pivot, so our resources need continue to pivot,” she added, citing an upcoming telework grant program
Schulz also acknowledged the widespread labor shortage. “We need to do what we can do to attract those workers,” she said.
She pointed to Governor Larry Hogan’s attempts to end ongoing federal unemployment benefits, as well as potential upcoming efforts to assist women in the workforce.
In an interview prior to the lunch, Schulz said the rising cost of consumer goods was a pressing concern for Marylanders, specifically citing heating costs for the upcoming winter months.
She said the supply chain disruption “really highlights the importance of in-state and American types of supplies and manufacturing.”
“We want to make sure we provide an ecosystem for manufacturers to be able to create those supplies in the United States, and more importantly, in Maryland,” Schulz said.
Mike Detmer is a staff writer for the Dorchester Star and Star Democrat based in Maryland. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.