Benchmarks of Success Issue 31, November-December 2021

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 31, November-December 2021

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Inaugural Maryland Apprenticeship Awards Announced

The first-ever Maryland Apprenticeship Awards were announced during Maryland’s 7th annual observance of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), November 15 – 21, 2021. The award ceremony was one of over 20 special events held throughout the state during NAW, a nationwide celebration to highlight Registered Apprenticeship. RA is a proven and industry-driven training model that provides a critical talent pipeline that can help to address some of our nation’s pressing workforce challenges.

Ten winners were announced in five categories, as follows:

Apprentice: Ms. Karina Lebron - Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) Program; and Mr. Richard Shontere - Dynamic Automotive.

Business: AT&T Catapult - Registered Apprenticeship participating employer with the Howard Community College Registered Apprenticeship program.

Mentor/Journeyperson: Mr. Mason Holden - Washington D.C. Joint Plumbing Apprenticeship Committee (JATC) (Local 5); Mr. Joe Schiavi - National Elevator Industry Education Program (Local 10); and Mr. Charles Hayden - Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors.

Youth Apprenticeship: Patuxent Partnership’s Tech Jobs Rule Program.

Apprenticeship Program: Harford County Electrical Contractors Apprenticeship Program; Prince George’s County Public Schools Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) Program; and Howard County Government JATC Program.

Warm congratulations go to these deserving award winners!

Photos may be found here.


mylife picture

New Department of Human Services (DHS) Website Offers Resources for Foster Youth and Alumni

DHS launched the new mylife website in November to offer foster youth and alumni the resources and information they need to prepare for the future and successfully transition to adulthood. The mylife website incorporates strengths-based plans to prepare youth, aged 13-21, for adulthood, such as the Ready by 21 program and Maryland Youth Transition Plan. Visitors to the site will find wide ranging information related to aftercare services, COVID-19 relief resources, financial aid, job training, internships, employment, credit reports, healthcare, housing and more.

mylife embodies two pillars of our mission: assistance combined with paving the way toward self-sufficiency,” said DHS Secretary, Lourdes R. Padilla. “The participation and valuable contributions of Maryland’s foster youth in crafting mylife means they have given a leg up to their peers who are navigating the same terrain. I am filled with pride at their collective maturity and wisdom, and I hope they share that pride, so justly deserved.”

The opportunity for foster youth to make their own indelible mark on the website was a critical component of the site’s architecture. From content, design, color palettes, functionality, and mobile responsiveness, foster youth had a seat at the table, providing their input and recommendations at a number of in-person and virtual focus groups held throughout the various stages of the website design process.

“Teens represent the cutting edge of technology and connectivity, often signaling future changes in adult populations,” said Katherine Morris, Director of Communications at DHS. “With that in mind, we designed the mylife website as mobile responsive first, since we know that phones serve as a youth’s primary method for accessing the internet. All of the work was done in-house, and the ease of the website’s mobility — from the customization features to the user-friendly navigation — can be attributed to our team and their readiness to translate conceptual ideas into fully functional applications.”

mylife is one of many DHS resources developed to provide youth-in-care and alumni with tools and resources to support them throughout their journey.


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Meet John - Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program - Success Story

John - apprenticeship

There is a perception that family will be the primary influence in the outcome of how a young person turns out in life. With a father as a career law enforcement officer and a mother as a nurse, it would be natural to assume that John had all the pieces needed for a seamless transition into adulthood and a successful career. Life, however, had another path for John and that path was going to be much longer and lead down a much windier road than anyone could have known. 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

  • 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 - 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 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 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.

  • Registered Apprenticeship is Growing in Maryland - 

    Since 2016, the Maryland Department of Labor’s (Labor’s) Apprenticeship and Training Program has been awarded nearly 13 million from the United States Department of Labor to expand earn-while-you-learn Registered Apprenticeship opportunities across Maryland. The infusion of funding was used to expand program staffing from three to fifteen, including eight Apprenticeship Navigators geographically stationed in the state’s network of 32 American Job Centers. The role of Apprenticeship Navigators is to connect with jobseekers and employers across the state to attract a more diverse pool of candidates to Registered Apprenticeship and increase the use of Registered Apprenticeship in both traditional and non-traditional occupations.

    All of these efforts are yielding results. For the second year running, the total number of Apprentices registered in Maryland is over 11,000 - a state record. A total of 111 new Registered Apprenticeship programs have been approved in that timespan, and another 31 previously inactive programs were reactivated.

  • 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), introduced as a pilot in school systems in two Maryland Counties in 2016 and expanded to be a statewide program in 2018, 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 gain 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. When AMP moved from pilot status to being a permanent program in 2018, Labor, the Maryland Department of 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. As of November 2021, 20 of Maryland’s 24 public school systems have adopted the model.

     Current participating school systems include those noted below:

    • Allegany County
    • Anne Arundel
    • Baltimore City
    • Baltimore County
    • Calvert County
    • Caroline County
    • Carroll County
    • Charles
    • Dorchester County Frederick County
    • Harford County
    • Howard County
    • Kent County
    • Montgomery County
    • Prince George’s County
    • Queen Anne’s County
    • 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.
  • Maryland Department of Human Services Work Experience (WEX) Initiative Helps Build Careers - 

    DHS Work Experience Initiative (WEX) is a statewide program for Temporary Cash Assistance customers that inspires, nurtures and provides training in an office environment to better prepare WEX interns for future employment. Temporary Cash Assistance recipients receive work experience and job-readiness training through WEX, which provides each intern with training opportunities and access to employment resources. Linda Adams-Johnson is one of many interns who went on to full-time positions at DHS.

    Linda’s journey began in December 2007, when she became connected with the WEX program. She was placed within the Family Investment Administration (FIA), where her diligence and commitment carried her from intern to contractual to a merit employee within 14 years. When asked about her transformative experience, she notes with pride, “I grew a lot!”

    Linda puts her work background into sharper focus when she points out that she has been in the medical field close to 42 years in total (including presently, via the Office of Medical Eligibility Programs) and how her longest commitment, in fact, has been with FIA. She credits supportive supervisors and co-workers who recognized her unflagging thirst to learn and encouraged her every step of the way.

    “Learning all the departments, new programs, and codes was an eye-opener,” Linda recalls. “But working for the State has allowed me to pass on the benefits of my occupational education to people who might need clarification about DHS’s offerings or acronyms.” Linda is also quick to point out that the learning never stops. She continues to learn in her present position about fiscal reports and the financial structures that constitute her department and DHS as a whole.

    When asked about that initial steppingstone of WEX years ago, Linda is effusive about where her professional journey has taken her. “Life is full of surprises,” she muses. “What seemed like a setback was really an opportunity in disguise. Because of WEX, I have become a valued DHS employee. For the State to be able to have an internship program where individuals can grow, learn, and build their sense of self-worth -- I am grateful every day!” 

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

    Entering the new year is a great time to map out a professional development strategy. There is no universally “right” way to plan for career growth and career development. Finding the right professional development opportunities is all about taking the time to clarify your career goals and identify aligned professional development opportunities.

    Here are a few practical steps to consider:

    • Develop a timeline with career milestones. If appropriate, take your timeline to your boss or manager during your one-on-one meetings or annual reviews and ask them to help you manage your career to reach your milestones.
    • Take advantage of any and every training program and professional development opportunity that you think would be helpful to your career.
    • Find a mentor you look up to and whose career growth you would like to imitate. A mentor is a great way to learn about new opportunities and benefit from the voice of experience.
    • Consider a lateral move to broaden your experience. Having an understanding of and being able to perform multiple related jobs can be very helpful as you progress in your career.
    • Most importantly, have a career plan. A career plan should include your timeline and milestones mentioned above along with your career goals and how you plan to achieve them. People who are successful and satisfied in their careers almost always proactively planned their professional development.

    You can get started right away by completing the recently-released module in the Benchmarks of Success eLearning series, titled “Understanding Title II.” The module focuses on the programs and services delivered under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

    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
    • Understanding Title I of WIOA

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


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 typically meets on the last Monday of each month. The most recent meeting was held on November 29, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for January 13, 2022. 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 16, 2021. The committee is developing the 2022 meeting schedule, which will be announced at a later date. 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 November 18, 2021 and has scheduled the next meeting on January 13, 2022. 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 18, 2021. The Committee's next meeting is scheduled for February 10, 2022. 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 December 15, 2021 and has scheduled its next meeting for January 19, 2022. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s ongoing activities here.


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