ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced on Monday that Howard County has received a record 43 Achievement Awards in 2022 from the National Association of Counties (NACo), the leading organization representing county-level government operations.
NACo Achievement Awards are the premier national honor to recognize innovative and transformative programs that provide new services for county residents, improve existing programs, upgrade working conditions, and enhance citizen participation and public policymaking.

Our dedicated Howard County employees and partners have demonstrated their commitment to innovation to serve our community. Every program and initiative that received recognition reflects the solutions that Howard County government staff have brought to the toughest challenges. The fact that much of this work was done amid a pandemic, under adverse conditions, with a focus on improving the quality of life of all residents and visitors, makes it even more meaningful.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Howard County received more NACo awards than any other county in Maryland – a testament to the innovative spirit of the county workforce. The winning entries include:

Howard County Health Department:

  • "Why I Got Vaxxed" Campaign: Outreach campaign to reach young residents and Black community members to promote vaccinations among lower-participating groups. 
  • Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): Empowering law enforcement to enlist outreach-based case management services.

Recreation and Parks: 

  • 55+ Bocce Ball League: Creation of new league on state-of-the-art fields to to give our active-aging community an opportunity for healthy, outdoor competitive play.
  • Outdoor Preschool Programs: Unique program to safely serve pre-school students during pandemic.
  • Outdoor Signing Day: Innovative program engaging our deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
  • Park Ranger Training: Revitalized program for newly hired staff addressing de-escalation training, self-defense, community service and more.
  • Reindeer Games: Holiday themed program serving community with focus on accessibility and affordability.

Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services:

  • Carcinogen Reduction Program: Comprehensive effort to reduced exposure to carcinogens during and after duties to create healthier work environment.

Department of Technology and Communication Services:

  • Collaboration to Strengthen Infrastructure Needed to Support Hybrid Learning Model: Doubling broadband capabilities at schools to promote online and remote learning amid the pandemic.
  • IT Innovation at New Courthouse: Improving communications at new facility. 
  • IT in Vaccine Phone Bank: Innovative use of resources to establish resource center for vaccine information.
  • Map-Based Application Holiday Lights: User-friendly new resource to provide a roadmap for holiday cheer in our community.
  • Transform Howard Broadband Initiative: Expansion of digital inclusion and closing the digital divide to reach underserved households.
  • Transform Howard Innovation Grants: Allows non-profit service providers to implement create ideas to serve the community. 

Department of Inspections, License, and Permits:

  • Automated Online Fire Protection Permitting: Embracing technology to better serve community in permitting process.

Office of Community Sustainability: 

  • EV Infrastructure and Greening the Fleet: Moving to all-electric county fleet to reduce greenhouse gasses.
  • Innovative Solar Power Expansion: Largest power purchase agreement in state of Maryland.
  • LED Street Light Conversion Program: Conversion to energy efficient bulbs.
  • Plastic Reduction and Environmental Protection: Program to reduce prevalence of plastics
  • Removing Barriers to Solar Energy: Assisting conversions to renewable energy source
  • Roving Radish Marketplace: Increasing access to locally sourced healthy foods at reasonable prices. 
  • Howard County and Non-Profit Environmental Equity Partnership: Addressing climate change through partnerships.

Department of Corrections:

  • Pretrial Supervision Program: Created labor cost and resources savings through effective non-incarceration supervision, and reduced court appearance violations.

Department of Public Works:

  • PM Tool: Development of comprehensive digital project management platform for public works projects.
  • Retro-Commissioning: Reduction of energy use through renovation of mechanical systems of existing buildings. 
  • Glenwood Library Renovation: Innovative renovation of heavily used facility, at reduced cost.

Department of Planning & Zoning:

  • National Road Mile Marker 14 Park Enhancement Project: A Wayside Place for Cyclists, Visitors and Howard County Residents
  • Historic Cemetery Restoration Grants: Grant program for preservation of historic cemeteries on private property

Department of Social Services:

  • Partnering with CASA for Post-Emancipation Housing Support: Resources for young adults aging out of foster care system

Office of Human Resources:

  • Howard County Government Joint Apprenticeship Program: Addressing recruitment challenges, improving workforce diversity, and enhancing career development opportunities in trades.
  • Howard County Government Mental Health Program: Increased mental health supports for County staff.

Office of Human Rights and Equity:

  • Howard County MLK Holiday Commission Pop Up Pantry: Addressing food insecurity in collaboration with the Maryland Food Bank.
  • Reading Human Rights: Monthly book discussion program to address diverse issues and promote inclusion.

Office of Emergency Management:

  • Howard County Family Assistance Center Plan and Platform: Addressing the needs of our community if mass casualty incidents occur.
  • Howard County On-Call Emergency Manager and Emergency Operations Center Manager Training Program: Creating strong succession planning among emergency staff 

Howard County Police Department:

  • HCPD Permitting System: Creation of a new special events permitting system which provides a public-facing online permit portal, multiple fee-payment options and reduces the complexity of the permit process.

Office of Transportation:

  • Howard County Active Transportation Open House: Improving participation and raising awareness through online programs and increased access 
  • HCG/HCPSS Free Student Bus Pass Program: Serving the community and reducing environmental impact during the pandemic.

Department of Community Resources and Services:

  • Grab & Go Meals: COVID Response & Future Opportunities to Modernize Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs
  • Healthy Food Access Program: Serving community needs and promoting health and wellness.
  • Howard County Virtual 50+ Center: Innovative program to serve community during pandemic.

County Administration:

  • Process/Engagement/Transparency Processes for American Rescue Plan Funding: Ensuring community awareness and access to information regarding rescue programs.

Department of Housing and Community Development:

  • Investing in Homeownership: Programs to assist in homebuying and growing wealth.

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