Benchmarks of Success Issue 21, November/December 2020

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 21, November/December 2020

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Maryland Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Governor Larry Hogan recently proclaimed November 8-14, 2020 as National Apprenticeship Week in Maryland, joining other states across the nation to celebrate apprenticeship as a proven workforce development strategy that allows workers to earn while they learn. The week-long observance also recognized the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program’s success in growing the state’s registered apprenticeship programs. In September of 2020, the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program reported that Maryland has set a new state record of more than 11,000 active Registered Apprentices. Nearly 400 apprenticeship programs are registered in Maryland, and more that 3,500 Maryland employers participate. During this year’s National Apprenticeship Week celebration, many Maryland businesses, communities, and educators took the opportunity to highlight their apprenticeship programs and apprentices and demonstrate the value apprenticeship programs offer businesses, careers seekers, and the community as a whole. Check out the schedule of events for the week here.



Apprenticeship During a Pandemic

Few would have predicted a year ago the outsized role Zoom, Google Meets, and virtual learning would assume in workforce system services, almost overnight. Agencies and programs across Maryland’s workforce system had to quickly adapt face-to-face services to technology mediated alternatives. Adult learners were suddenly completing coursework on computers and even on their phones. The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services deployed a range of technologies to maintain support for the consumers they serve. Career specialists in American Job Centers leveraged email, telephone, and videoconferencing options to assess customer needs. But what happened to the thousands of Registered Apprentices involved in on-the-job training?

According to reports from the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program, Registered Apprenticeships are thriving! As other states have lost apprentices during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland quickly adapted to the virtual environment and modernized elements of the program, not only avoiding losses, but resulting in record-breaking growth. In addition to surpassing a record 11,000 registered apprentices in Maryland, the state has added 20 new occupations and 17 new sponsors since the beginning of March!

Visit the Maryland Apprenticeship Locator to search for Registered Apprenticeship opportunities. You can use the Locator to search by County, apprenticeship type, occupation, industry, or sponsor.


MD Labor's Division of Unemployment Insurance Expands Services with New Mobile Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to temporarily or permanently close, dislocating hundreds of thousands of workers and creating an unprecedented need for reemployment services, financial assistance, rehabilitation services, and food and housing support. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included broad unemployment benefits to help those affected.

The DUI created a mobile app, MD Unemployment for Claimants, which launched on June 30. More than 169,000 claimants downloaded the app from June 30 to October 27, 2020.

Through the app, claimants have access to the DUI’s new modernized system, BEACON 2.0, and can perform several system functions conveniently through their mobile devices. Claimants can use the app to easily view their unemployment claims information, check eligibility status and payment history, provide tax withholding preferences, file weekly claim certifications, and receive notifications. Additionally, the app allows claimants to modify their communication preferences, update personal information, download digital copies of correspondences, and receive real-time account updates. MD Unemployment for Claimants is free and available to download from the iOS App Store  and the Google Play Store.

DUI also created a new mobile app, MD Unemployment for Employers, which employers can use to perform several DUI actions. With the mobile app, employers can make contribution payments, submit wage reports, file appeals, and more from a mobile device. MD Unemployment for Employers is free and available to download from the iOS App Store  and the Google Play Store.

The apps are available for registered claimants and employers. To receive updates and additional information about unemployment insurance programs in Maryland, visit


Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan


Upcoming 2021 Newsletters

Look for the schedule to be published in the January 2021 newsletter.



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Rising to the Top - Building a Better Working World

Julio's pic

Julio Caicedo was an apprentice with Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 24 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC). He started his apprenticeship in March 2015 and quickly showed he had the skills to be at the top of his class.

Though Julio was faced with many challenges, he continued to excel, and his skills and potential did not go unnoticed by his employers. He was nominated to represent the Local 24 at the Master Apprentice Competition last year and was successful in capturing the Marcelo Alvarez Memorial Cup. This was a proud moment he will never forget. Julio graduated from his apprenticeship in July 2019 after completing 10,000 hours of paid on the job training and over 600 hours of education.

Julio saw an opportunity to use his bilingual skills and passion for his work to become an apprentice instructor who could help other apprentices of Hispanic heritage succeed. He realized this ambition immediately upon graduation, when he was approved to be a volunteer instructor. In 2020, Julio became a full-time instructor for the JATC. Now, Julio instructs two nights a week while also still working full-time with one of Local 24's signatory contractors in the field as a foreman with management responsibilities. 

This amazing example shows just one of the many ways in which apprenticeships are “Building a Better Working World.”

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 

  • What are Registered Apprenticeships Made Of? 

    There are two ways to think about how Registered Apprenticeships are organized: structure and content.

    The Structure of Registered Apprenticeships

    Registered Apprenticeships can be structured in one of three ways:

    1. Time-based Registered Apprenticeships are the most traditional and most common type. In a time-based Registered Apprenticeship, an apprentice must complete at least 2,000 hours per year of the apprenticeship, the equivalent of working full-time. Apprentices must also complete at least 144 hours of related instruction per year to master the fundamental principles of the trade.
    2. Competency-based Registered Apprenticeship programs require that apprentices demonstrate proficiency in defined skill sets. Competency-based programs also require 144 hours of related instruction, but because this model is based on performance rather than a set time, it is possible for an apprentice to speed up or slow down the acceleration of the program as needed. The Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership sponsored one of the first competency-based Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the State and currently serves as the Sponsor for Registered Apprenticeship for the occupations of Industrial Maintenance Technician, CNC (computer numeric controlled) Machinist, Industrial Welding, and Additive Manufacturing Technician.
    3. Hybrid Registered Apprenticeship programs combine elements of the time-based and competency-based models. In the hybrid approach, the apprentice is required to complete a specified minimum number hours in both on-the-job-learning hours and related instruction to demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas.

    The Content of Registered Apprenticeships

    Content is another way to think about how Registered Apprenticeships are constructed. The Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council is a twelve-member body that meets every other month. One of the responsibilities of the Council is to approve Registered Apprenticeships. An employer or Sponsor seeking the Council’s approval for a Registered Apprenticeship program must demonstrate their proposed program includes all five of the required core components described below:

    1. Business Involvement – Businesses are the foundation of every Registered Apprenticeship program. They are involved in every step of a Registered Apprenticeship program’s design and execution.
    2. On-the-Job Training (OJT) – Every Registered Apprenticeship program includes structured OJT. Companies hire Registered Apprentices and provide them with hands-on training from an experienced mentor. The training is developed by mapping the skills and knowledge that the Registered Apprentice must learn over the course of the program to become fully proficient at the job.
    3. Related Instruction – Apprentices receive Related Instruction or classroom style training that complements the OJT. The instruction helps apprentices build and refine their technical and academic and occupational skills. A community college, technical school or college, an apprenticeship training school, non-profit, community-based organization (CBO), industry, labor organization, business association, or business may offer Related Instruction. The instruction can be provided at the school, online, or at the work site.
    4. Rewards for Skill Gains – Registered Apprentices receive increases in pay as their skills and knowledge increase. Progressive wage gains reward and motivate Registered Apprentices as they advance through training and become more productive and skilled at their job.
    5. National Occupational Credential – Every graduate of a Registered Apprenticeship program receives a nationally recognized credential, referred to as a certificate of completion. This portable credential signifies that the Registered Apprentice is fully qualified to successfully perform an occupation. Many Registered Apprenticeship programs, particularly in high-growth industries such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and transportation, also offer interim credentials as Registered Apprentice master skills included in their career pathway.

    If you are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of apprenticeship, check out the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program website

  • A Rose by Any Other Name - When the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) rolled out in 2014, the new law placed a heavy emphasis on partners working together. In fact, WIOA is responsible in no small part for the existence of this newsletter! However, as partners emerged from their silos to improve the integration of services across multiple programs, they bumped up against differences in terminology that sometimes caused confusion. For example, partners discovered that terms such as “exit” and “assessment” carried different meanings depending upon which program was using them.

    To clarify some basics, below is a handy table that identifies the words different partners use to describe the people their programs serve:


Maryland State Agency Responsible for Oversight


WIOA Title I – Adults, Dislocated Workers and Youth

Department of Labor (Labor), Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL)

Customers, Youth

WIOA Title II - Adult Education and Family Literacy

Labor, DWDAL

Learners, Students

WIOA Title III – Wagner-Peyser Employment Services

Labor, DWDAL


WIOA Title IV - Vocational Rehabilitation

Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services


Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

Department of Human Services


Unemployment Insurance

Labor, Division of Unemployment Insurance

Claimants, Employers and Agents

Community Action Agencies

Department of Housing and Community Development



  • Maryland Community Action Partnerships Meet Local Needs - Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development funds Community Action Partnerships (CAPs) throughout Maryland that offer community-based support to individuals struggling to secure food, housing, and other vital resources. The services CAPs offer are tailored to meet each community’s unique profile of need. To learn which services CAPs offer in specific communities, visit the Programs and Services webpage.   
  • 2020 Maryland Charity Campaign is in Full Swing - This year’s Maryland Charity Campaign kicked off on October 5, 2020 and will run through December 14, 2020. The Maryland Charity Campaign (MCC) is a workplace charitable giving program that offers State Employees and Retirees the opportunity to give to nearly 1,000 pre-vetted charities. The theme of this year’s campaign is: “One Family One Hope, #MDInThisTogether.” Donations will help support first responders, medical researchers, hungry children, veterans, and many other Maryland neighbors in need. To learn more or make a donation, visit the campaign website here.

  • Agencies Form Think Tank to Connect Individuals with Disabilities to Apprenticeship Opportunities - Individuals with disabilities make up a large percentage of Maryland’s untapped workforce. According to the 2020 Maryland State Workforce Plan, an estimated 676,072 individuals with disabilities live in the state. Just over half (50.6 %) of these individuals participate in the labor force, a rate that is well above the US average of 42.5 %. Despite this positive number, the fact remains that Marylanders with disabilities are three times as likely as someone in the state’s general population to be unemployed.  

    The Maryland Apprenticeship Think Tank was launched in January of 2018 as a network of professional organizations committed to expanding apprenticeship opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Through a diverse array of initiatives that include research, education, public engagement, and on-the-ground innovation and practice, the Think Tank shares information on emerging trends and opportunities, best practices in apprenticeship, and highlights how apprenticeship can break into new industry sectors and serve a more diverse population of individuals.

    Think Tank members include a variety of leaders from Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), the Maryland Department of Labor (Labor), the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Community College of Baltimore County, and community program providers such as the ARC who are collaborating to secure lasting change in the area of Youth, Pre-Apprenticeship, and Registered Apprenticeship at the State and local level.

    Through a partnership formed as a result of the Apprenticeship Think Tank, Labor and DORS kicked off the first registered apprentice for the CVS Pharmacy Technician Program in 2018. In 2019, DORS and Labor jointly led an open house the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) that allowed DORS consumers to learn about the many Registered Apprenticeship programs utilizing CCBC facilities for related instruction.

  • Building the Talent Pipeline - The Apprenticeship Maryland Program - Expanding registered and youth apprenticeships in Maryland has been a signature feature of Governor Hogan’s vision for workforce development – for adults and youth. The Apprenticeship Maryland Program (AMP), first introduced as a pilot in school systems in two Maryland counties, provides a unique opportunity to connect and engage employers, local school systems, and intermediaries in the process of developing and growing their own workforce. AMP is allowing employers to access an affordable pathway for growing a pipeline of workers through quality youth apprenticeships that combine paid on-the-job training and related instruction. Students are gaining solid workforce experience through youth apprenticeships that can serve as on-ramps to rewarding professional careers. 


    AMPs exponential growth is a testament to the program’s success. Early in AMPs implementation, Maryland Departments of Labor and Commerce and the Maryland State Department of Education sought to increase the program by two to four new participating school systems annually. The initiative’s actual success far-exceeded this modest goal: 14 local school systems have adopted the model, bringing total participation to 16 of Maryland’s 24 local school systems in three short years. Current participating school systems include those noted below.

    ·         Allegany County

    ·         Baltimore City

    ·         Baltimore County

    ·         Caroline County

    ·         Carroll County

    ·         Dorchester County

    ·         Frederick County

    ·         Howard County

    ·         Kent County

    ·         Montgomery County

    ·         Prince George’s County

    ·         Queen Anne’s County

    ·         St. Mary’s County

    ·         Talbot County

    ·         Washington County

    ·         Wicomico County

    If your program serves youth and you would like to learn more about AMP opportunities in your area, visit the website!

  • Pre-apprenticeship for Adult Learners - The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge - In September of 2020, The U.S. Department of Education invited Title II adult education providers to participate in the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge. The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge is a competition created to design pre-apprenticeships that would prepare adult education learners to be a part of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships. The competition will award a total of $750,000 to one grand prize winner and five runners up. The first submission deadline was November 25, 2020, and final decisions will be made summer of 2021. More details can be found on the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge website.
  • Accessibility Alert - Scanning a paper document to make a PDF means that part of your audience won't be able to read it.
    • People who are blind, have certain vision impairments, or have other print disabilities use assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software (sometimes referred to as "screen readers"), to read documents and websites.
    • Assistive technology depends on the underlying text in the document or website being available to the screen reader or other tech in order to be read.
    • Scanning a paper document literally takes a photograph of that piece of paper with a camera. There is no underlying text for the AT to read – it's just a static graphic image.
    • When assistive technology tries to read a scanned paper document, all it can tell the reader is "BLANK."
    • PDFs should always be made directly from the program that created the original document – Word, PowerPoint, InDesign, etc. – in order to retain the underlying text information your audience with disabilities needs to read your vital communications.


Benchmarks of Success Newsletters


Benchmarks of Success Committee Updates

Committee Chairs welcome questions from newsletter readers regarding the work in which their groups are involved! To be connected with a committee's leadership team, feel free to contact the Communications Committee at

All committees are currently meeting virtually.

  • The Executive Steering Committee is composed of the agency leaders of the partner agencies who meet periodically to provide the WIOA Alignment Group with high-level guidance. You can learn more about the Executive Steering Committee’s ongoing activities here.
  • The WIOA Alignment Group is composed of the department and division-level leaders of partner agencies who meet on a monthly basis to collaboratively address issues, plan joint efforts, make recommendations to the Executive Steering Committee, and manage and guide the activities of the Benchmarks of Success committees. The October meeting of the WIOA Alignment Group was cancelled; however, the group did meet on November 30, 2020 and plans to hold the final meeting of the year on December 28, 2020. You can learn more about the WIOA Alignment Group’s ongoing activities here.
  • The Data and Dashboard Committee is comprised of representatives from partner agencies who possess subject matter expertise in program-based performance requirements and data collection methodologies and tools. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis to develop a consistent, sustainable system all workforce partners can use to measure, analyze, display, and apply Benchmarks data to continuously improve the quality and effectiveness of services. The Committee’s most recent meeting was held on November 17, 2020. Additional meetings have not yet been scheduled. You can learn more about the Data and Dashboard Committee’s ongoing activities here.
  • The Communications Committee is comprised of representatives from partner agencies who possess subject matter expertise in programs and communications methods and tools. The Committee meets on a monthly basis to foster the integration of Maryland’s workforce system by broadly promoting the activities of the Benchmarks of Success committees and the services and resources of partner agencies and programs. The Committee produces this monthly newsletter as a forum for partners to share information on important developments that impact the system. The Committee's most recent meeting was held on November 12, 2020. The group's next scheduled meeting will be held on December 10, 2020. You can learn more about the Communications Committee’s ongoing activities here.
  • The Policy Committee is comprised of representatives from partner agencies who possess subject matter expertise in workforce system policy issues. The Committee meets on a monthly basis to research policy issues and produces an annual Policy Recommendations Report. The recommendations included in the Report help to guide system priorities and initiatives. The Committee’s most recent meeting was held on November 19, 2020. Additional meetings have not been scheduled.  You can learn more about the Policy Committee’s ongoing activities here.
  • The Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee works to advance a unified professional development program that helps all partner programs maximize access to and use of skills and credentialing and life management skills, eliminate barriers to employment through the use of supportive services, and strengthen and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce system. The Committee’s most recent meeting was held on October 20, 2020. The meeting scheduled for November was cancelled. A December meeting is planned but a date has not yet been set. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s ongoing activities here.


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