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Department Honors Maryland’s First Class of Climate Change Professionals

State Developing Leaders to Address Climate Challenges

Photo of Maryland Climate Leadership Academy graduates receiving  governor's citations at the Board of Public Works meeting on Jan 29, 2020

Photo by Joe Andrucyk

The Hogan administration today recognized 40 professionals as Maryland’s first class of Climate Change Professionals, an international credential administered by the Association of Climate Change Officers, during the meeting of the Board of Public Works.

These professionals earned their certifications by participating in six days of training provided through the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy, the nation’s first state-sponsored climate change training institution. The academy was established to specifically offer training and continuing education for state and local government officials on the matter of climate change. 

Since November 2018, the Academy has trained more than 450 professionals through six cohorts conducted at community college and community centers across Maryland. More than 40 professionals, mostly consisting of state agency and local government personnel, additionally took the exams and elective requirements required to become a Certified Climate Change Professional.

The graduates were presented certificates and honored by Gov. Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. 

The state developed the program in partnership with the Association of Climate Change Officers; the Maryland Department of Natural Resources administers the academy on behalf of the state.

“Our goal is to equip leaders and Maryland’s workforce with the skills and knowledge needed to meet the challenges of climate change, flooding and severe weather,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Riccio said. “Thank you Governor, Madam Treasurer and Mr. Comptroller for recognizing the commitment and leadership of Maryland’s first Class of Climate Change Professionals.”

Sec. Riccio also thanked Gov. Hogan for his support of the department’s resilience efforts. The governor’s proposed budget includes funding for various programs related to climate change, such as $4.16 million in the Coastal Resiliency Program; record funding of $57.2 million for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, which funds resiliency projects, and $2 million in capital and special funds toward the Ocean City Beach Replenishment and Hurricane Protection Program. The budget also includes additional resources for technical assistance related to nuisance flooding.  

Sec. Riccio additionally thanked Treasurer Kopp for serving as a member of the Academy’s advisory council.

Association of Climate Change Officers’ Executive Director Daniel Kreeger also attended the meeting.

“It is crucially important that policymakers invest in training their workforce to drive climate change initiatives in critical infrastructure, public services, and agency operations,” Kreeger said. “Maryland is leading this charge and is also recognizing the professionals who are role models for these competencies. Other states will inevitably follow Maryland’s lead.”