Benchmarks of Success Issue 14, October 2019

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 14, October 2019

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019


Quality, Understanding, Excellence, Success, and Training (QUEST) - Internship Program for Persons with Disabilities

Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) partners with the Maryland Department of Budget and Management to offer the QUEST program, which                        Charlotte                    provides mentoring opportunities within State agencies for people with disabilities. QUEST internships are voluntary, full-time or part-time, unpaid opportunities that last three or more months.

For these three former DORS consumers, QUEST led to full-time employment in State jobs!

Charlotte Grupp was referred to DORS in 2016 by her physician after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

She applied for a QUEST internship and started at Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) Personnel Services Division in January 2019. According to Charlotte, things went very well from the start:  “They loved me so much and they wanted to hire me, so I started a full-time contractual position in March.”

Charlotte now works as a Unit Assistant and says she loves her job, and her supervisors in the Unit have nothing but praise for her. DBM Office of Personnel Services and Benefits Director Jennifer Hine shared, “Charlotte came in and she was able to shine, so when we got the contractual position, it was a no-brainer.” DBM Contract Management Unit Supervisor Sherreon Washington agrees, “She works well independently and with a team…and her business ethics are excellent.”

Charlotte says she loves her job and has this advice for DORS consumers: “You have to apply yourself and you have to take advantage of these programs…you have to put yourself out there! I have come a long way since my brain injury and all thanks to DORS, QUEST, and my amazing [DBM] team.”


Jennifer Gasiorowski started working with DORS in 2004. “I think it was my senior year, it might have been my vice principal who recommended DORS…I started in the Towson office,” shared Jennifer.

After graduating from college, Jennifer started working with DORS Workforce Training Center (WTC) and applied for QUEST, getting a position at DORS headquarters in 2004, working on the DORS website and intranet. “The internship was supposed to be for several weeks, but they liked me so much, so I was hired [contractual] in 2004, but eventually it became a PIN [permanent position].”

Today, Jennifer works in DORS’ Management Information Systems department as a Data Processing Programmer Analyst II. She works on the DORS consumer data base and on in-house applications. She is enthusiastic about her work and plans to stay working at DORS. “Yes, I’m enjoying it too much [to go anywhere else]!”

Her Management Information Services supervisors, Manager Natalie Dizik, and Director Randy Diehl, wrote the following: “Jennifer Gasiorowski started working for DORS in 2004 under the QUEST internship program. Jennifer excelled at the opportunity so much so that she was hired as a full time Programmer Analyst. Jennifer’s skill set includes database design, web development and data analytics. Enthusiastic with each project, she is a great achiever in the computer programming field. She continuously succeeds in building applications and making them user friendly. She is always courteous to customers and colleagues and strives to support the Agency in any way she can. Jennifer is a much appreciated team player!”


Keion Hardy was referred to DORS in 2017 and enrolled in DORS’ WTC Office Technology Administrative Professional training program. He graduated in 2018 and learned about QUEST from WTC Employment Services and interviewed at a few state agencies: “I got a call back [from the Maryland Department of Labor] almost immediately, so I started on July 11, 2018!”

Initially, Keion’s internship was supposed to last for about eight weeks, “but I liked it so much, I asked to extend it!” He then volunteered at DBM for several months and obtained a contractual position in Labor’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning as a Customer Service Clerk II in April of 2019. His job duties include data entry, case checking, filing, applications for tax credits, and verifying programs.

Keion is enjoying his job as a full-time employee and has advice for people with disabilities who are considering applying for DORS services: “I tell them [apply], but be patient, everything is a process, but it’s worth it.”


Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan


2019 Newsletter Issue Dates

10/16, 11/20, 12/1


Benchmarks of Success New Collateral

Download and share the new Benchmarks of Success poster, rack card, and two-sided flyer!

PosterRack Cardcollateral side one

With the help of Western Maryland Consortium, Andy embarks upon his career


Serving the general public in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties, the Western Maryland Consortium (WMC) is a regional workforce development agency. WMC strives to help workers improve their skills and find employment, leading to self-sufficiency, as quickly as possible. Skilled training is provided to those with a demonstrated need and is aligned with the skill shortages that have been reported by local employers.

Andy came to WMC as a dislocated worker from the Information Technology field, as he knew it was time to make a change and had his sights set on a specialized trade. Andy was ready for a career, not just another job. Andy took full advantage of all services offered to him, spending countless time job searching, writing, and revising his résumé. He worked with his career counselor to find a niche that would best utilize his untapped potential. In September, Andy took the first step towards success when he enrolled in the plumbing program at Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. - Barr Construction Institute in Hagerstown, MD. Thanks to the opportunities provided to him by a grant and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, Andy was able to land a job working full time as a Registered Apprentice in plumbing. Andy also utilized supportive services to help assist him with purchasing tools and boots he needed for his career change. With the help of these services, Andy looks forward to continuous success as he moves onward in his journey.

Workforce Partners

Maryland Department of Labor                                                                  Maryland Department of Human Services

Maryland State Department of Education                                                Governor's Workforce Development Board

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development                            Maryland Workforce Association

Did You Know...?


Maryland's Latest Workforce Development Updates 

  • Maryland Departments of Labor and Commerce sign Memorandum of Understanding with Northern Ireland Economic Agency - The Maryland Department of Labor and Maryland Department of Commerce recently joined with Northern Ireland's Department for the Economy in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster economic collaboration between Maryland and Northern Ireland. Maryland will exchange ideas with Northern Ireland on growing its cyber workforce through industry-led workforce development programs, such as registered and youth apprenticeships. Read more...
  • National Apprenticeship Week: November 11-17, 2019 - This nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor brings together leaders in business, labor, educational institutions, and Americans interested in apprenticeships to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Read more... Check the Maryland Department of Labor website and Facebook page for updates on how to get involved.
  • The Baltimore County Workforce Development Board is pleased to report that the American Job Center (AJC) Steering Committee and Career TEAM hosted its second WIOA Convening on 10/4/19 at Oregon Ridge Park.  The AJC Steering Committee and Career TEAM is comprised of leaders from the various partnering agencies including  Maryland Department of Labor, Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland State Department of Education Division Of Rehabilitation Services, Baltimore County Department of Social Services, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, Community Action Network, and the One-Stop-Operator, KRA. Read more...  
  • Integrating financial education into workforce development programs - Maryland Department of Labor staff, in a joint project with the Department of Disabilities, recently participated in training on how to integrate financial education into the workforce development programs. This training was conducted by the CASH Campaign of Maryland (CASH), who promotes economic advancement for low-to-moderate income individuals and families in Baltimore and across Maryland. CASH has extensive experience in financial education, counseling, and coaching. Read more...
  • Glossary of Terms - Confused by Benchmarks of Success lingo? Check out the helpful Glossary of Terms!


Benchmarks of Success Newsletters


Benchmarks of Success Committee Updates

  • Five Benchmarks of Success committees are hard at work... 

    • Executive Steering - provides strategic leadership for the rollout and implementation of the Benchmarks initiative - meets quarterly
    • WIOA Alignment - oversees and coordinates the activities of the Benchmarks committees - meets monthly
    • Data and Dashboard - creates a sustainable system supporting local areas in utilizing the Benchmarks to continuously improve the quality of their service delivery - began reviewing and combining the Performance Year (PY) 2018 data for partners; plans to pull data from previous years for comparison to understand trends for setting an accurate and realistic baseline
    • Communications - promotes the Benchmarks statewide and educates local workforce areas on the value, implementation, and outcomes of the initiative - finalized the Benchmarks of Success collateral - poster, rack card, and flyer
    • Policy - identifies opportunities which support the Benchmarks implementation via policy changes - reviewed topics covered this year and identified recommendations to include in the end of the year Policy Recommendations Report

    ...providing strategic planning and organizational infrastructure to ensure successful implementation of the Benchmarks leadership tool.


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Benchmarks of Success Video Series

July 2018

Introductory Video

Featured Guests: Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Kelly M. Schulz; Maryland State Department of Education Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.; Department of Human Services Secretary Lourdes R. Padilla; and Governor's Workforce Development Board Executive Director Michael R. DiGiacomo.

August 2018

Targeted Audience: Management/Frontline Staff/Partners - Parts One, Two and Three

Featured Guest: Secretary Lourdes R. Padilla, Maryland Department of Human Services

September 2018

Targeted Audience: CEOs/Boards/Privates/Non-Profits - Parts One and Two

Featured Guest: Board Chair Louis M. Dubin, Governor's Workforce Development Board

October 2018

Targeted Audience: Jobseekers/General Public

Featured Guest: State Superintendent Karen B. Salmon, Maryland State Department of Education

November 2018

Targeted Audience: Employers

Featured Guest: Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

December 2018

Targeted Audience: Elected Officials - Federal, State and Local - Parts One, Two and Three

Featured Guest: Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation