ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland House of Delegates on Tuesday passed Gov. Martin O'Malley's $2.5 million jobs training bill.

The so-called "Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN)" program would distribute grants to community colleges, workforce centers, employers and certain industries to be used to provide training in high-demand jobs. A state website would be created to connect job seekers and training programs.

The House passed the measure 115-23, while the Senate approved it unanimously last month. Differences between the two versions of the bill are expected to be ironed out this week before it heads to O'Malley's desk.

"Though Maryland has built up one of the most highly skilled workforces in the nation, too many of our workers lack the skills they need to compete for the jobs in highest demand," O'Malley said in praising the bill's passage.

"The EARN initiative will help us bridge that skills gap by creating employer-driven partnerships with businesses so together, we can grow our state's economy and ensure that every Marylander has the opportunity to learn and earn."