Benchmarks of Success Issue 29, September 2021

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 29, September 2021

MOU signing event

L to R: Lisa Green, Assistant Director, Baltimore Regional Office/National Capital Region Benefits Office; Antione Waller, Regional Office Executive Director, Baltimore Regional Office/National Capital Region Benefits Office; Tiffany Robinson, Secretary, MD Labor; Dave McGlone, Deputy Secretary, MD Labor; Thomas R. Riley, Director, Maryland Veterans' Employment and Training Service, U.S. Dept. of Labor; LeRoy Thomas, Veterans Program Manager, MD Labor; Erin Roth, Dep. Asst. Secretary, MD Labor; Stephanie M. Wiggins, Assistant Director, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, U.S. Dept. of Labor.

New Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Improves Service Integration for Disabled Veterans

On September 9, 2021, Maryland Department of Labor (Labor) Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson joined partners from the Baltimore and National Capital Regions for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and Labor’s Veteran Services program to sign an important new MOU to improve the integration and coordination of workforce system services for veterans. The MOU was collaboratively developed by the three agencies to create a foundation for greater unity and cooperation by clearly defining partner roles and responsibilities, encouraging interagency communication, and standardizing the referral process to Maryland’s network of American Job Centers (AJCs).

Under the MOU, Labor is dedicating an Internal Service Coordinator along with a Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) specialist from veteran staff to ensure veterans with disabilities who are referred to AJCs receive responsive, high-quality employment and training services and the assistance they need to address barriers to employment.

“We all owe a debt of gratitude we can never repay to the veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect this nation’s safety and liberty,” commented Secretary Robinson during the signing ceremony. “It is truly an honor for me and for Labor staff serving veterans in AJCs across Maryland to have the opportunity to help these deserving men and women achieve their career goals and build successful civilian lives.”




What is the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program?

The JVSG program provides federal funding, through a formula grant, to 54 State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) to hire dedicated staff to provide individualized career and training-related services to veterans and eligible persons with significant barriers to employment and to assist employers fill their workforce needs with job-seeking veterans.

Program Staff: The JVSG program supports the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialist position, Local Veterans’ Employment Representative (LVER) staff, and Consolidated Position staff. DVOP specialists provide individualized career services to veterans with significant barriers to employment, with the maximum emphasis directed toward serving veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged. Veterans with barriers include homeless veterans and vocational rehabilitation clients. Local Veterans' Employment Representatives conduct outreach to employers and business associations and engage in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for veterans and encourage the hiring of disabled veterans. Consolidated Position staff serve in a dual role as DVOP and LVER.

Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan


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10/26, 11/23



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The Veterans Career Club and One-on-One Assistance Helps Mr. Hayes find his Dream Job

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A very discouraged and desperate veteran, Mr. Hayes, attended a Veteran’s Career Club (VCC) and expressed his need for assistance in seeking stable employment; stable employment to him was obtaining a federal job. He was a very skilled Information Technology (IT) professional, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, but had been unable to secure work in his field. He indicated that he had tried everything, that he was exhausted, and he needed a job to support his family. Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist Shirley Garner invited him to attend a workshop, Navigating the Federal Hiring Process, and he did. She also told him that she would work with him one-on-one and teach him how to apply for federal jobs – a task for which he had so far been unsuccessful. 

When Shirley told Mr. Hayes he needed to update his résumé, he replied “…for the 100th time!” He stated that every time he had asked for help, he was told to update his résumé.  He indicated that he was tired of updating his résumé, especially since updating his résumé had not helped him get a job.  He expressed frustration with his situation by exhibiting a negative attitude, sometimes even seeming rude and unappreciative. However, Shirley did not take the comments personally because she could sense that Mr. Hayes really needed help. Therefore, she scheduled a virtual meeting with him to work on his résumé and to show him how to apply for jobs.  After several meetings, Shirley felt as if Mr. Hayes began to trust her and followed up with everything asked of him, which included tweaking his résumé every time he applied for a federal job, if needed. She provided training on how to apply, how to interview, how to negotiate salary, and how to follow-up on jobs – all jobs. While federal employment was his primary focus, they trained on employment strategies in general as well.

Shirley's guidance brought Mr. Hayes steady success, beginning with referrals, then interviews. He reached out to Shirley following an interview with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Friday, September 10, 2021, to ask whether he should send a "thank you" note to the interview panel. Shirley responded, “Absolutely.” She sent him samples of thank you letters and told him to be sure to send it to the hiring manager that day, which was the day after the interview. He did, and shortly after he sent the thank you letter, he received a phone call from the hiring manager, offering him the position.

After accepting the tentative offer with the TSA for a Transportation Security Specialist (Cyber Analyst) position, he called Shirley and thanked her for all of her help. Mr. Hayes is a very happy man, a complete change from the person Shirley met at the VCC asking for help – mission accomplished!

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's Department of Human Services (DHS) Connects Veterans with Services - 

    While DHS does not provide direct services to veterans, the agency does connect DHS customers who are veterans to other agencies that support this population. Veterans Services Specialist (VSS) Cameron Miles is available to assist with questions related to veteran benefits or services offered by other Departments/Agencies and can facilitate referrals. Mr. Miles can be reached by phone at 443-038-0318 or via email at

  • The International Association for Workforce Professionals (IAWP) Seeks Presentations for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference (DEI) -

    IAWP will host a virtual DEI conference on January 13-14, 2022. The goal of the conference is to help employers, HR, and workforce development professionals design and implement quality DEI practices. In preparation for the conference, IAWP is seeking workshop speakers and panelists for group presentations.  Learn more…

  • September is Workforce Development Month -

    The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution naming September 2021 Workforce Development Month to recognize the contributions of workforce professionals and highlight events and initiatives that support job seekers and employers. You can learn more about the origin of this national observance on the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals website.

  • Looking Forward:  October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month -

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment has announced the official theme for October's National Disability Employment Awareness Month: "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?" The theme promotes the benefits of a diverse workforce that includes workers with disabilities, who represent a highly skilled talent pool.

    "Employers who ensure that inclusive workplace policies and practices are woven into the fabric and culture of the organization create an environment that encourages all workers — including those of us with disabilities — to work to their full capacity and contribute fully to the organization's success," said Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy.

    Early announcement of the theme helps communities nationwide plan a series of announcements, events and meetings to begin in October, some of which will continue throughout the year. Such activities include proclamations, public awareness programs and job fairs that showcase the skills and talents of workers with disabilities.

  • Looking Forward: October is Maryland Manufacturing Month - 

    Maryland’s Manufacturing Month will kick-off with National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), held annually on the first Friday in October. Jobs in manufacturing offer exceptional pay, job security, and the satisfaction of producing products that are enhancing, enriching, or even saving lives. The Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland in partnership with Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development and Community College of Baltimore County will be holding a virtual MFG Day event on “Working in Manufacturing. ”

    Jobseekers, students, educators, and parents can hear first-hand from some of Baltimore County’s leading manufacturers on what it’s like to work in the manufacturing industry and at their specific companies. Company reps will share info on their product offerings, company culture, career and growth opportunities, team member benefits and more. Participating manufacturers include: Coty, Pompeian (Olive Oil), Saft Batteries, Textron, BWPapersystems, Filamatic, Strategic Factory and more.

    To register for this free event, visit Inside Manufacturing ( Attendees can choose to listen to one, two, or all of the presentations at the event.
  • 2021 Conference Coming Up in November for Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

    Mark your calendars for November 18 and 19, 2021 for this year’s DORS conference. The in-person event will return to the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson, the site of the 2019 conference. Public vocational rehabilitation service providers, community organizations and the Maryland workforce partners that create successful outcomes for Marylanders with disabilities are invited to participate in this professional development event. Learn more...

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

    It is always the right time to learn something new.

    "Knowledge gained by the time a person is 21 is largely obsolete by the time he is 40; and skills that made him productive in his twenties are becoming out-of-date during his thirties. So it is no longer functional to define education as a process of transmitting what is known; it must now be defined as a lifelong process of discovering what is not known." -Malcolm Knowles

    There was recently an update to the form used to provide the best possible service to our veterans and meet compliance requirements. The training module "JVSG and Triage" was distributed to staff affected by the change. If you or your staff believe you need this training, please contact me at

    Have you completed the first four modules yet that are in the Benchmarks of Success eLearning series?

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

    If not, there’s no time like the present! The next module in this series, “Understanding Title II,” is tentatively scheduled for release in November, so stay tuned!

    For more information on these learning opportunities, feel free to reach out to me at                                                                                     

  • Accessibility Tip of the Month - Accessible Word Forms 

    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!

    Accessible Word Forms

    This module covers all the parts of a form and how to make them accessible to those using a screen reader. It also gives you instructions on how to lock and unlock the form, so users can only fill out and delete information in the designated areas.

    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 August 30, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for September 27, 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 September 9, 2021 and has scheduled the next meeting on October 14, 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 September 16, 2021. The Committee's next meeting is scheduled for October 21, 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 September 16, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for October 20, 2021. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s ongoing activities here.


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