Benchmarks of Success Issue 30, October 2021

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 30, October 2021

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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment has announced the official theme for October's NDEAM: "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.

More information on employment services for individuals with disabilities in Maryland is available at the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services.


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Connecting Jobseekers with Employment in Manufacturing

October is Maryland Manufacturing Month

Jobs in manufacturing offer exceptional pay, job security, and the satisfaction of producing products that are enhancing, enriching, or even saving lives. The manufacturing industry also offers excellent employment opportunities that might be just right for the individuals whose job searches you are supporting. This month we are including some valuable resources you can share with customers to expose them to the world of manufacturing careers.

Baltimore County Celebrates National Manufacturing Day!

Would you like a way to share information with your customers on the excellent employment opportunities the manufacturing industry has to offer? Well, the recorded individual presentations from the recent “Working in Manufacturing” event co-hosted by the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI), Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development and Community College of Baltimore County is a good place to start. The event kicked off a celebration of National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), a celebration observed annually on the first Friday in October. More than 250 jobseekers, students, educators, parents, manufacturing representatives and industry stakeholders gathered for the virtual MFG Day event to 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 representatives shared information about their product offerings, company culture, career and growth opportunities, team member benefits and more. Participating manufacturers included: CotyPompeian (Olive Oil), Saft BatteriesTextronBWPapersystemsFilamaticStrategic Factory and more. The individual presentations were recorded and can be viewed on RMI’s website.

New Manufacturing & Public Transit Map Helps Jobseekers Identify Transportation Options

A lack of transportation can be a significant barrier to employment for some jobseekers. Maryland’s Department of Labor (Labor) in partnership with the RMI has created an interactive map that displays the location of manufacturing businesses statewide and their distance from mass transit options. If you missed the tutorial webinar explaining how to use the new map as well as other helpful data tools, don't worry. You can access a recording here.  

Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan



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

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Montel - Valedictorian, Associate Data Scientist, DORS Customer

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September 2021 - Montel began working with the DORS Suitland office in 2012 while he was a student at Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Maryland. His first counselor was DORS transitioning youth (TY) counselor, Danielle Lyons, who provided TY counseling and guidance, and job development services.

After completing a very successful high school career, where he was class valedictorian and featured in a Washington Post article, Montel went on to study computer science at Towson University. In college, Montel initially faced a number of challenges (outlined in another Post article​), but ultimately got on the Dean’s List and graduated in May of 2019. Read more…

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 Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) in November -

    Many events will be taking place throughout the state as part of Maryland’s participation in the seventh annual NAW, which will be held during the week of November 15-21, 2021. NAW is a nationwide celebration to showcase the opportunities Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) offer Americans to build workplace experience and develop skills that employers value.

    RAs offer industry-driven, high-quality career pathways in a wide range of occupations and industries, from traditional trades-related specializations to information technology to healthcare. Individuals in RA positions can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally recognized, portable credential.

    The best news for frontline workforce system staff serving entry-level jobseekers, particularly jobseekers with barriers to employment, is that the RA model can be an excellent pathway to well-paying careers for individuals who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

    Learn more about Maryland’s 2021 NAW activities here.

    Interested in learning more about Registered Apprenticeship? Visit the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program page.

  • DWDAL Partners to Help Marylanders Join the Economic Recovery - 

    All over the state of Maryland, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL) staff are partnering with multiple programs to help Maryland jobseekers prepare for, land and succeed in good jobs. Here’s a great example from Baltimore County.

    The Baltimore County Business team is a partnership between the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) and DWDAL’s Regional Business Services Consultants, Veterans Services and Registered Apprenticeship and Training program. Together, this power team is coordinating an ongoing series of Baltimore County Monthly Job Club & Recruitment Events! These events will occur during the third week of each month and will rotate between each of the three Baltimore County American Job Centers (AJCs), which are located in Hunt Valley, Randallstown, and Eastpoint.

    The first event will kick off at the Hunt Valley AJC during Maryland’s celebration of National Apprenticeship Week! Five Registered Apprenticeship Sponsors from various industries with current openings will attend the event, along with a résumé review team, and staffed information tables with resources and information on registered apprenticeship, veterans services and more!

    The purpose of these events is to provide a complete one stop shop experience to connect job seekers and local employers with available career opportunities, as well as to share information that the state and local workforce agencies provide to both job seekers and businesses in Baltimore County.

    There are already three dates on the calendar for these exciting events:

    • Monday, November 15, 2021 @ Hunt Valley AJC - Kick Off Event
    • Monday, December 20, 2021 @ Liberty Center AJC (Randallstown)
    • Tuesday, January 18, 2022 @ Eastpoint AJC

    Please share this information widely to get the word out about this great new initiative!

  • 2021 Conference Coming Up in November for DORS - 

    Have you registered yet for this year's Maryland Rehabilitation Conference 2021, scheduled for November 18 and 19, 2021 at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson? It promises to be an enriching experience that kicks off with Dr. Robert J. Froelich’s keynote address on the ethical practice of rehabilitation professional self-care. If you are a public vocational rehabilitation service provider, you represent a community organization and/or otherwise play a role in supporting successful outcomes for Marylanders with disabilities, you are invited to participate in this excellent professional development opportunity.

  • Mark your calendars for The International Association of Workforce Professionals' (IAWP) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference! IAWP will host a virtual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) conference on January 13-14, 2022. The goal of the conference is to help employers, Human Resource and workforce development professionals design and implement quality DEI practices. Please direct any questions about the event to
  • Policy Updates - This issue of the Benchmarks of Success Newsletter is introducing a new feature to update workforce system partners when new policies are released, to assist frontline staff in providing the best possible services to the customers we so often share.

    Recent DWDAL Policy Issuances:

     Note: All DWDAL Policy Issuances are available here.

  • The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Announces $135 Million in Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Funding Provided for Tenants and Landlords - 

    DHCD has announced that the ERAP has approved $135 million to assist 15,000 renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief includes $65.7 million in state program spending and $69.4 million in direct relief by local jurisdictions. Read the full news release here. The ERAP data dashboard is updated monthly to show statewide progress with distributing assistance, tenant demographics, and program outreach.  

    Tenants and landlords should visit or call 877-546-5595 to get connected to rental assistance programs. All jurisdictions in Maryland are currently accepting applications.
  • Youth Resources: The Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) Program - 

    Are you a frontline workforce system service provider looking for additional resources to serve youth with disabilities? DORS is a branch of the Maryland State Department of Education that provides vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to youth and adults with disabilities. DORS has a counselor assigned to every public high school in Maryland.

    DORS offers the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program to students with varying disabilities who are still enrolled in secondary school. The goal of the Pre-ETS program is to help students successfully transition to “what’s next” by providing them with exposure and experiences related to employment and/or post-secondary education. Pre-ETS may cover job exploration counseling, counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or post-secondary education programs, work-based learning experiences, workplace readiness training, and self-advocacy through activities, lessons, and workshops. Students may participate in all activities or just a few. All students at least 14 years of age and up to the students’ 22nd birthday who have a documented disability and are enrolled in secondary school or an approved post-secondary education are qualified to receive available Pre-ETS services.

    If you work with students with disabilities who are interested in either Pre-ETS or VR Employment Services program, you may submit an online referral on their behalf, as long as a parent or guardian provides consent. Completing the referral will connect students with a DORS counselor. Please share school documentation (such as an IEP, 504, and/or psychological assessment) for each student referred with your DORS liaison, as appropriate.
  • From the desk of the Chief Learning Officer for Maryland's Workforce System -

    Prioritizing strategic professional development is a wise investment in organizational effectiveness. Employers and supervisors should encourage employees to learn new skills that will help them grow academically, professionally, and socially. Check out this great article to read about 7 Reasons Why you Should Invest in the Professional Development of Employees to learn about just a few of the many benefits.

    We added a new module to the Benchmarks of Success eLearning series in September titled “Understanding Title I.” The module focuses on the programs and services delivered under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

    This latest addition to the eLearning series joins the previously released modules below:

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

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

  • Accessibility Tip of the Month - Converting to PDF 

    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!

    Converting Documents to PDF

    Accessible Word documents don’t always guarantee an accessible PDF. In this module, we discuss best practices for the conversion and your available options.

     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 October 25, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for November 29, 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 October 14, 2021 and has scheduled the next meeting on November 18, 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 October 21, 2021. The Committee's next meeting is scheduled for November 18, 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 October 20, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for November 17, 2021. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s ongoing activities here.


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