Benchmarks of Success Issue 16, January 2020

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 16, January 2020

Spotlight on Financial Education: Ensuring Maryland's Workforce System Maximizes Customers' Access to Skills and Credentialing

CASH staff teaching

The state's workforce system partners remain committed to implementing the Benchmarks of Success framework, which is focused on a shared vision of excellence and five strategic goals.

Maryland's Vision: Increase the earning capacity of Marylanders by maximizing access to employment, skills and credentialing, life management skills, and supportive services.

Financial education is one key way that the workforce system can equip customers with the life management skills they may need to thrive. Recognizing the value of integrating financial education into workforce development programs, the Department of Disabilities partnered with the workforce system on a staff training effort. This training was conducted by the CASH Campaign of Maryland (CASH), an organization that 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. 

Integrating financial capability concepts, such as financial education, through workforce programs has been shown to lead to better client outcomes.  According to national thought leader Prosperity Now:

“Innovative social service providers in both the nonprofit and government sectors have embraced the idea of coordinating access to multiple types of services, including financial capability services, as a way to improve outcomes and enhance the financial well-being of their clients. Evidence from these service providers shows that embedding such financial capability strategies – helping families access financial information; connecting families to safe, affordable financial products and services; building savings and wealth and teaching them to protect themselves in the financial marketplace – boosts programmatic outcomes.” (

Financial Education Training for Practitioners:

CASH conducted staff training across Maryland's five WIOA Regions, receiving a resounding interest from the WIOA staff of the various partners, including American Job Centers (AJCs), Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), and Departments of Social Services.

Through this project, CASH focused on improving clients’ financial stability and well-being and used measures connected to national networks with research-based practices. Because individuals value different things, traditional measures such as income or net worth, while important, do not fully capture financial well-being.CASH follows the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s definition [1] of financial well-being:

  • Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances;
  • Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock;
  • Are on track to meet financial goals; and
  • Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life.

Workforce system staff attended a comprehensive training to ground their knowledge in core financial topics and learn specific activities/tools to use with clients. Topics covered included: financial well-being, psychology of financial decision making, financial institutions, alternative financial services/products, budgeting, credit, and debt. To provide more depth and longevity to this work, management identified staff who could be trained on curriculum to deliver financial education classes moving forward. CASH then provided train-the-trainer sessions for these staff, so they were comfortable delivering the content. 

Financial Education Train the Trainer:

CASH provided a two day train-the-trainer session in each of Maryland's WIOA Regions. Content included: 

  • Earn It, Plan It, Keep It: The psychology of improving financial decision making, how to set and reach financial goals and budgeting
  • Daily Money Management: Financial institutions and alternative financial services 
  • Credit Smarts: Overview of credit, how to read credit reports, credit scores and ways to build or rebuild a positive credit history
  • Conquering Debt: Covers the rules and regulations for debt collectors and the steps for paying off debt

Training Results

CASH was contracted to train 75 workforce system staff, but as a result of the demand, CASH conducted 14 trainings for 415 staff. Surveys of the participants have been overwhelmingly positive with 96% percent of staff saying the trainings were very good or excellent, 91% percent saying they feel more confident discussing finances with clients, and 98% percent saying the trainings helped increase their knowledge and skills to be able to provide financial education.




Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan


Upcoming Newsletters

2/27, 3/26, 4/23, 5/28, 6/25, 7/30, 9/24, 10/22, 12/3



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

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Focus On: Veteran Services Program Outreach

vet program

The American Job Center in Washington County has started a new outreach program. James Oberhaus (Job Service Specialist / Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist) is visiting nine locations in the county (libraries and one community center in an area that doesn’t have a library) taking our services to where customers are. He spends four hours each month in these locations to bring the job center services to them.  While at these locations, he assists individuals with registering in the Maryland Workforce Exchange, helping them search for jobs and providing support to them as they apply for jobs on line. He also provides information to the patrons of these locations on all of the services that Maryland Department of Labor offers to those who are seeking employment. During the months of November and December 2019, he was able to assist 22 individuals in their employment searches.

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 


Benchmarks of Success Newsletters


Benchmarks of Success Committee Updates

  • December was a quiet month for the Benchmarks of Success Committees. The Communications Committee met in early December to engage in planning activities for 2020. Neither the Data and Dashboard Committee nor the Policy Committee held formal meetings in December; however, both groups continued to get work done behind the scenes. The Data and Dashboard Committee engaged in the ongoing work of crunching numbers, with a focus on developing new targets for Benchmark metrics. The Policy Committee worked on finalizing the 2019 Policy Recommendations Report in preparation for presentation at the January meeting of the WIOA Alignment Group.


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