County Executive James T. Smith Jr.
400 Washington Avenue
Old Courthouse Mezzanine
Towson, Maryland 21204
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Dear Friends of Baltimore County,
Throughout my thirty years of public life, I have seen time and time again how County government can partner with people to strengthen our neighborhoods and make life better. The drive and dedication that I have witnessed in Baltimore County employees throughout those three decades continues to be a significant source of inspiration to me to this day.
Once again, Baltimore County agencies have earned national recognition for their excellence. Since 1935, the National Association of Counties has worked to ensure that our nation’s counties, which now number 3,066, have a voice in the nation’s capital. NACo’s Achievement Award Program recognizes the best initiatives that improve the ability of county governments to meet their responsibilities to the citizens they serve.
These awards identify programs which both strengthen and enrich our communities. These programs are not just required to be innovative—they must be proven to be effective as well. That is why I am so proud that a total of eight programs from five different Baltimore County agencies were recognized by the National Association of Counties with 2007 Achievement Awards. These winning programs each make a significant difference in the quality of life in our communities.
The Baltimore County Police Department was honored for its Business Police Academy. This program raises awareness about commercial and retail-related crimes and crime prevention strategies through weekly seminars for members of our business community.
Office of Workforce Development
The Office of Workforce Development was recognized for its Summer Youth Employment Program. This program enhances job skills, provides career exposure, and develops a sense of purpose and direction for many youth with disabilities and for at-risk students in Baltimore County public high schools by giving them first-hand experiences with the workplace in both the private and public sectors.
The Office of Workforce Development also won recognition for its efforts to address the shortage of qualified health care professionals in Baltimore County and the entire state of Maryland. Through a three-week, 30 hour course, the Office of Workforce Development assisted the graduates of CCBC’s nursing program in increasing their pass rates on a nationally accredited exam for nurses.
Office of Planning
The Baltimore County Office of Planning earned honors for its Eastern Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Path Initiative. This collaborative effort between county and state agencies will provide residents of our expanding eastern County communities with a pedestrian and biker friendly link to major commercial, employment, and recreational destinations.
Department of Recreation and Parks
The Department of Recreation and Parks was recognized for its Horticultural Therapy and Vocational Training Program, which uses the TALMAR Gardens and Horticultural Center in Cromwell Valley Park as a setting for the kind of therapy, recreation, community work experiences, and vocational training that helps individuals with disabilities overcome the challenges they face in their everyday lives.
Department of Aging
Never to be left out when NACo is passing out honors and recognition is the Baltimore County Department of Aging. Their first award-winning program was the Department’s Emergency Preparedness Initiative. This program promotes measures needed to ensure the safety of our senior citizens in the event of a disaster or regional emergency. The Department of Aging was also recognized for its effective use of partnerships in the development of our Senior Fitness Centers. These fitness centers allow mature citizens to remain healthy and active by keeping them fit and in shape. Our fitness centers receive vital support from the program’s partners, Towson University, which staffs all of the fitness centers, and the Erickson Foundation, which provides in-kind services through the design of these fitness studios and the generous donation of equipment.
In addition to the County’s seven NACo Achievement Awards, the Department of Aging received a Best of Category in Civic Education and Public Information for their Health and Happiness—Sex and the Older Adult program. This innovative program addresses the needs of the increasing number of seniors reentering the dating pool by providing opportunities to make new acquaintances through speed dating sessions and presentations at Senior Centers. In addition, the program addresses the concern of rising HIV and AIDS infections among seniors through a televised Public Service Announcement, as well as through information sessions at Senior Centers.
These eight NACo award-winning programs are all outstanding examples of what good county government is all about. Their national recognition is well deserved, and a fitting tribute to the committed employees of Baltimore County government and the outstanding work they do in our communities everyday.
James T. Smith, Jr.
Baltimore County Executive
Revised July 31, 2007