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Maryland Department of Labor Announces Final Phases of Efforts to Help Port of Baltimore Workers and Businesses and Financial Impact of Programs

BALTIMORE, MD (June 26, 2024) – With the full reopening of the Port of Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Labor announces the final phases of its efforts to assist Port workers and businesses and a tally of the financial impact of its successful programs. Maryland Department of Labor’s Worker Support Program and Worker Retention Program were created by Governor Moore in the days following the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse through an executive order and authorized by the Maryland General Assembly through the PORT Act.

“We’ve heard from countless port workers, business owners, and independent contractors whose lives were changed on March 26, and how our programs not only helped them financially but gave them hope that they will rebound stronger than before,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu. “This moment in Maryland’s history has been a testament to our state’s resilience and the Moore-Miller Administration’s commitment to improving the lives of working families.”

Worker Support Program

This Friday, June 28, will be the last day for individuals to submit new applications to the Worker Support Program. The program provides $430 per week in compensation for regular Port workers whose work hours and income have been reduced due to the bridge collapse and the disruption in Port operations.

Eligible workers can receive up to 13 weeks of compensation. Workers can file for relief from the day of the bridge collapse, March 26, and its final week of financial assistance will be June 18 through June 24.

“The Worker Support program has helped all of us support our families, stay connected to our jobs, and be a part of rebuilding the Port,” said Don Littleton, who works as a foreman in a refrigerated container unit at the Port. “With the help of the leadership of state and local government, and national government - we’re making it through all of this. We want to bring commerce and rebuild this region.”

Nearly 3,200 Port workers have received Worker Support payments to help them pay bills and meet basic expenses. The program has approved more than $13.7 million in payments to workers, which not only helps them and their families but impacts the businesses these working families patronize and support.

“My whole family, generationally, works at the Port. When the bridge collapsed, we were all impacted,” said Lakia Randolph, a longshoreman whose father also worked at the Port. “The funds helped all of us, and we’re all grateful for the program as the Port reopens.”

Worker Retention Program

Maryland Department of Labor’s Worker Retention Program, which offered up to $200,000 in grant funding to Port businesses to keep workers on payroll and prevent layoffs in light of the business disruptions caused by the bridge collapse, helped keep more than 3,100 Port workers on the job and earning income. The program closed its application process in mid-May and handed out its final grants earlier this month.

“The funding from the Maryland Department of Labor allowed me to retain my nine workers, many of whom have families and loved ones that depend on them,” said Dawn Speakman, owner of Drayage Solutions, LLC. Her company has worked exclusively at the Port of Baltimore for more than six years. “Thankfully, our customers are going to come back, and the work is increasing now that the Port has reopened. Without a doubt, this Program gave me and other Port business owners the funds to keep our employees paid.”

More than 280 Maryland-based businesses have received more than $17.7 million in grants to mitigate the impact of reduced operations at the Port of Baltimore. This funding was available to businesses with up to 500 employees, labor unions, trade associations, and other eligible organizations. 

William Cox, chief executive officer of A Triple CCC Logistics, was on the verge of a business breakthrough with plans to acquire a third truck for hauling goods from the Port when the bridge collapsed. He wondered if his small trucking company would survive. Cox applied for and received a Worker Retention grant. “The immediate access to local funding allowed me to pivot and have flexibility, said Cox. “Through all of this, we were able to sustain our business and provide funds to keep the business afloat.”

Dislocated Worker Grant Program

Maryland Department of Labor will focus on partnerships with local workforce agencies through the rebuilding of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and continued recovery of the Port. On April 5, the Biden Administration announced the initial award of $3.5 million in emergency dislocated worker grant funding to the state of Maryland to support cleanup and recovery activities due to the bridge collapse. These federal dollars will support training in the rebuilding efforts.  

For more information on these and other programs, Port workers and businesses can visit the Maryland Department of Labor website at

The Department of Labor strives to create an equitable and inclusive Maryland where all residents have the opportunities and resources to attain financial stability, reach their career potential, and contribute to their communities; where businesses have access to capital and the skilled workforce they need to succeed; where workplaces are safe and well-regulated; and where the economy is resilient and growing. For updates and information, follow Labor on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and visit our website.

Jamie Mangrum