IAM Members Testify at Maryland General Assembly to Expand Military Veteran Scholarships

Feb 28, 2024 | Politics & Legislative News

Members from IAM Local 4 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and from IAM Local 2424 at Aberdeen Proving Ground recently testified before the House Appropriations Committee of the Maryland General Assembly. A bill to increase the number of scholarships available to dependents of active duty military service members killed in the line of duty and service connected disabled veterans is moving through the Maryland House this session.

Watch the IAM’s testimony to the Maryland General Assembly here.

State Del. Brian Crosby (D-District 29B), who represents Naval Air Station Patuxent River and is a military veteran himself, sponsored the Edward T. and Mary A. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program (H.B. 529). The bill would remove the cap of 15 scholarships that can be awarded to veterans by the Maryland Higher Education Commision.  

“It’s an easy return on investment,” said IAM Local 4 Shop Steward Joseph “Matt” Langford. According to his research, “10% of all EMTs are veterans, 19% of all firefighters are veterans, and 25% of all police officers [are veterans].”

Former Local 2424 President Bill Harkum, now an IAM Communications Representative, shared that many workers on Maryland’s military installations and various Department of Defense contractors are also reservist and National Guard members who already support Maryland state needs. He stressed that helping disabled veterans is the right thing to do. 

“Those of us that have served in the military, we have an open ended commitment to this state and to this nation, and we hope you consider that worthy of giving us the benefits of this bill,” said Harkum.

IAM Veterans Services Program Coordinator Rich Evans testified remotely.

“Growing education opportunities aligns with our union’s platform to promote efforts to assist U.S. Armed Forces Veterans,” said Evans. “Our union’s roots run deep in Maryland and we support legislation that can help workers and families prosper, and support the state’s continued growth and success.”

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