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Gov. Moore announces support program for port workers impacted by Key Bridge collapse

Gov. Moore announces support program for port workers impacted by Key Bridge collapse
Gov. Moore announces support program for port workers impacted by Key Bridge collapse 02:17

BALTIMORE -- Governor Wes Moore announced the start of the Port of Baltimore Worker Support Program Friday, which will provide temporary cash assistance to eligible workers who have lost income and work hours due to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. 

The Workers Support Program will provide $430 every week to Port workers who worked at the Port of Baltimore at least 25 times or made at least $5000 dollars between January 1 to March 26, 2024.  Employees of Port businesses, independent contractors, solo owner-operators, and the self-employed who work at the Port's public and private terminals are all eligible for the Worker Support Program, the governor's office said.

Federal resources like disaster loans have been available to businesses impacted by the Key Bridge collapse. But not all business owners have been able to receive the help they need. 

This program is different because it's not a loan, it's a monthly allotment of cash, and it's open to independent contractors and other workers who have been losing income since the collapse. 

"Our mission is to help as many people as we can during this difficult time – including Port workers who have already applied for unemployment insurance benefits; including Port workers who are receiving unemployment insurance; and including independent contractors and self-employed workers who work at the Port and are losing income because of the collapse," Governor Moore said. 

Frederick Mensah owns a trucking company that picks up containers from the port of Baltimore, but that came to a halt when the Key Bridge collapsed more than three weeks ago.  

"I haven't made a check since the bridge came down," Mensah said. "Nobody saw this thing coming and we've all got bills to pay."

As an independent contractor, Frederick says he has not been able to qualify for unemployment and other government assistance.  

"They have some unemployment for the workers, the longshore people, but we, the independent truckers, we are not getting any help,"  Mensah said. 

The new port of Baltimore worker support program could change that for port workers including independent contractors like Frederick who are losing income because of the collapse.

For Frederick, this could be the first check he's seen in weeks, and it can't come soon enough.   

58 businesses received approval for grants, totaling $4.54 million on Friday morning, protecting the jobs of 824 Marylanders. 

The $15 million program, established through executive order and authorized by the Maryland Protecting Opportunities and Regional Trade (PORT) Act, will be administered by the Maryland Department of Labor. 

For those with questions about eligibility, The Maryland Department of Labor will open a temporary service center to provide in-person support and to fill out application forms starting Monday, April 22 at noon. The service center is at 2501 Broening Highway in Baltimore City. On Tuesday, April 23, the center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays until further notice. 

Last week, the Maryland Department of Labor announced the launch of the Workers Retention Program to help Port of Baltimore businesses keep their employees as the Port recovers from Key Bridge collapse.

Three additional programs established by the governor's executive order and authorized by the PORT Act will launch on Monday, April 22, through the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

"Port of Baltimore workers are critical to our state and our economy. It's urgent we get them the financial help they need now to support their families as they remain ready and available to get back to work when the Port fully reopens," Portia Wu, Maryland Secretary of Labor, said. 

Information on the Port of Baltimore Worker Support Program, including the application, can be found at

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