Benchmarks of Success Issue 28, August 2021

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 28, August 2021

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Workforce System Programs Transition to Hybrid Service Delivery

The sister agencies and partner programs that comprise Maryland’s workforce system collaborated to innovatively maintain services for thousands of displaced workers and businesses impacted by the pandemic during the last 18 months. American Job Centers, adult education programs, programs serving individuals with disabilities and those serving individuals facing financial, food, and housing insecurity quickly pivoted to varying combinations of virtual/hybrid/in-person service delivery aligned with evolving health guidance. Governor Hogan’s announcement to end the state of emergency effective July 1, 2021 prompted state agencies and local workforce system partners to initiate the process of transitioning to increased in-person service delivery, where appropriate.

While everyone is glad to resume more normal operations, it is unlikely the system will return to exactly how it functioned before the pandemic. In some cases, elements of remote services introduced during the extended shutdowns proved so effective that partners have decided to permanently integrate them as best practices. In other cases, organizational leaders are carrying forward remote work for certain roles based on the advantages and practical feasibility of telecommuting demonstrated during the pandemic. The ongoing nature of the health crisis is also contributing to variability in the service delivery of partner programs operating under the guidance of local governments. Because of these factors and others, the delivery of services across partner programs may look somewhat different and may in fact continue to change in the coming months.

The goal of this issue of the Benchmarks of Success newsletter is to offer frontline staff a quick reference resource with connections to where they can find the most current information on how workforce system partners are delivering services, so that they can help customers navigate to and access support as quickly as possible.


AJC Map 2


American Job Centers (AJCs)

Physical Locations Reopening to Provide Comprehensive In-Person Employment, Training, and Business Services

The state’s 32 American Job Centers (AJCs), which served thousands of job seekers and businesses virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now reopening physical locations to provide in-person services.

“At a time when so many Marylanders are seeking new jobs and reentering the workforce, our state’s American Job Centers are reopening their doors and our dedicated workforce professionals are eager to provide in-person services,” said Secretary Robinson. “Whether you are a job seeker or a business owner, I am confident that through the wide variety of state resources available at American Job Centers, we can help you succeed and achieve your career goals.”

Learn more…



The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Employment Assistance for Individuals        with Disabilities

DORS offers programs and services that help people with disabilities get ready for and go to work. DORS also helps Maryland businesses recruit and retain qualified, job-ready employees.

DORS provides these services through 24 Field Offices located throughout Maryland. Eligible consumers are assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor who provides or arranges for services that may include workplace readiness training, career counseling, assistive technology, vocational training and/or job placement assistance.

DORS also operates the Workforce & Technology Center (WTC), which offers career assessment services, career and skills training, job placement assistance, and assistive technology services.

All DORS offices are again offering in-person services, although many services continue to be offered virtually. This map displays the geographic locations of DORS offices and WTC.

All those who enter DORS’ facilities will be required to answer COVID health screening questions, in accordance with Maryland Department of General Services guidance.



Community Action Agencies

Helping Neighbors Thrive

Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development oversees the distribution of federal funds through the Community Service Block Grants Program to 17 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) serving communities across the state with a range of resources to assist with housing, food, access to healthcare, energy costs and more. Each CAA’s menu of services is aligned with the needs of the community it supports. Together, these CAAs have provided services to 221,453 low-income individuals during the height of the pandemic in fiscal year 2020. 

CAA service delivery options and safety protocols vary by area. Call or email the CAA serving your customer’s area to determine the status of services delivery. 



The Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) Program

The TCA program is Maryland’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. TCA provides cash assistance to families with dependent children when available resources do not fully address the family’s needs and while preparing program participants for independence through work.

To be eligible for TCA benefits, the applying family must cooperate with any child support obligations, participate in work activities, meet financial and technical eligibility requirements and comply with any applicable substance abuse provisions. Families may also file an application for assistance with childcare costs.

Marylanders can get information, apply for DHS programs and services, and check the status of applications online at their convenience at They can alternatively apply in person by visiting their Local Department of Social Services, or submit their application by mail to their local Department of Social Services.

Staff are in local offices located in each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City, ready to assist constituents.

Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan


Upcoming 2021 Newsletters

9/21, 10/26, 11/23



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

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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

  • From the desk of the Chief Learning Officer for Maryland's Workforce System -

    Aspire to be a Lifelong Learner! Learning is not just for children and young adults, or only for the adult who has transitioned into a new job. Gone is the learn, do, retire paradigm. In the past, this may have been sufficient, but the pandemic has taught us that you never know what’s right around the corner. Ongoing learning is essential to success in one’s career and life in general. Seek new opportunities to learn about employment roles that interface with yours, explore the vast opportunities available to learn through high quality (and free!) MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to expand your knowledge and skills. Learn, do, unlearn, learn, do, rest - repeat. This is the cycle of a lifelong learner!

    To support professional development for the frontline staff in the partner programs that make up Maryland’s Workforce System, the Benchmarks of Success Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee has created a Statewide Professional Development eLearning series that is available to workforce system staff via the HUB platform.

    Three modules have been rolled out to date, including:

    • Introduction to the HUB
    • Benchmarks of Success
    • The Governor’s Workforce Development Board

    The next module in the series, “Understanding Title I,” is tentatively scheduled for release on September 20, so stay tuned!

    In addition to the eLearning Series, we also rolled out a separate training in August titled "Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) Program and Triage." This training product was developed to provide JVSG staff and other staff who work with veterans with information on how to serve and refer veterans seeking services through American Job Centers.

    Feel free to reach out to me at if you need any help accessing this training.                                                                                       
  • Accessibility Tip of the Month - Using the Accessibility Checker 

    All Maryland workforce system staff should be sure that the digital and printed materials they publish are accessible to individuals with disabilities, but if accessibility issues are not a focus of your job, knowing where to start can feel a little overwhelming. This recurring newsletter section will introduce an accessibility tip each month. Watch the video focused on this month’s tip, print out the job aid, and try applying the suggested accessibility standard in your work!

    Using the Accessibility Checker

    The Office accessibility checker assists with finding accessibility errors in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Although the checker can test for many accessibility issues, it cannot find every possible error. In this module we will look at what the accessibility checker is, how to use it, and what it can and cannot do for you.

    Information in this article was excerpted from the Office of the Texas Governor’s Creating Accessible Microsoft Office Documents resource page.


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 WIOA Alignment Group meets on the last Monday of each month. The most recent meeting was held on July 26, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for August 30, 2021. 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 August 3, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for November 16, 2021. 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 typically meets on the second Thursday of each month. The group held its most recent meeting on August 12, 2021 and has scheduled the next meeting on September 9, 2021. 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 August 19, 2021. The Committee's next meeting is scheduled for September 16, 2021. 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 typically meets on the third Wednesday of each month. The group held its most recent meeting on July 21, 2021 and has the next meeting scheduled for September 16, 2021. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s ongoing activities here.


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