Benchmarks of Success Issue 32, January 2022

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 32, January 2022

Retail job- older worker

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Assists Older Workers

Older workers are a valuable asset. They have a strong work ethic, are highly productive, possess extensive experience, and have low rates of absenteeism and turnover. Despite these clear advantages, any mature jobseeker will attest to the fact that being an older worker can be a serious barrier to employment and career advancement. A 2018 survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons found that:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 workers aged 45 and older have been subjected to negative comments about their age from supervisors or coworkers.
  • About 3 in 5 older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
  • 76 percent of older workers see age discrimination as a hurdle to finding a new job; many believe they were prematurely pushed out of longtime jobs, never to earn as much again.

SCSEP is a national workforce development program designed to assist adults 55 years and older who are unemployed, low-income, and who possess significant employment barriers. The purpose of the program is to enable older workers to achieve their optimal employment potential through training and experience while providing community services. SCSEP participants commit 20 hours per week to receive structured training onsite with SCSEP Partner Host employers, such as schools, physicians, health care agencies, hospitals, custodial and maintenance service businesses, senior service providers, administrative and management entities, retail merchants, and transportation, security and technology companies. Concurrent with training, participants work with employment specialists in the state’s network of American Job Centers to polish their résumés, refine their interviewing skills, and conduct an effective job search. Participants earn the current minimum wage during the training period, with the goal of transitioning to unsubsidized employment.

Visit Maryland’s SCSEP website to learn more!



Alphabet Soup - SCSEP Style

Acronyms. Every partner program in the workforce system has them, like that handy can of Alphabet soup in the cupboard. Understanding common SCSEP-related acronyms can be especially helpful for frontline staff serving customers who are currently participating in SCSEP or who are eligible for and interested in participating. Read this article, posted on the WorkforceGPS website, for a good introduction to frequently used acronyms in the SCSEP’s Alphabet soup of acronyms! Learn more…



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Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan



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SCSEP During the Pandemic

man on computer

When the pandemic shutdowns temporarily interrupted access to onsite work opportunities for SCSEP participants with Partner Host employers, SCSEP staff and partners engaged in some creative problem solving. A great example of this creativity was the partnership with Phoenix Computers, a non-profit organization that accepts donations of used computers and equipment then repairs, upgrades and resells products to eligible buyers at a nominal cost. With support from SCSEP Employment Specialists, participants were able to purchase computers through Phoenix that allowed them to continue training at home through eLearning platforms such as, SkillUp and Each company offers an extensive array of workplace topics from basic computer and internet skills to advanced office training modules.

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

  • Planet Money Report: Where Are All the Older Workers?

    The Great Resignation is a term coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University to describe the historic wave of mass resignations across the nation that are prompting short-staffed employers to raise salaries, offer signing bonuses and expand benefit packages to lure workers back. All of which begs the question: why, when there are so many unfilled vacancies, are there a million and a half older workers who are unemployed?

    Teresa Ghilarducci is a labor economist at the New School for Social Research who has some thoughts on the topic she shares with Planet Money show host Sally Herships. You can listen to the 9-minute interview or read the transcript here.

     Planet Money is a long-running radio feature and podcast series produced by National Public Radio that presents information on economic issues in layman’s language.

  • Governor Hogan Announces Opening of Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund - 

    Governor Larry Hogan announced the launch of the $248 million Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund, which will be administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to support mortgage relief, home repairs, housing counseling, and legal services.

    DHCD is awarding approximately $171 million to provide loans to homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments. Marylanders can determine their eligibility and apply by visiting For assistance in applying or with the application portal, call 833-676-0119, M-F 8AM-7PM, or Saturday 9AM-4PM.

    DHCD will be awarding $11 million to 29 housing counseling and legal services agencies that can help Marylanders access Homeowner Assistance Fund relief. Homeowners in need of housing counseling and legal services can call 1-877-462-7555 to be connected. 

    The Homeowner Assistance Fund WholeHome Grant will help Maryland homeowners financially impacted by COVID and needing emergency home repair. For more information, visit or call 877-568-6105.

    The Governor’s full press release can be read here.

    Visit for additional program details, including eligibility information, a document checklist, and answers to frequently asked questions.

  • Important Information Regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) - The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low-to-moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. Families that qualify can use the credit to reduce the taxes they owe – and maybe increase their refund. Let your customers know that taxpayer relief provided under the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 is allowing families with higher income in 2019 than in 2020 to use the 2019 amount to figure their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 2020. More information about the credit is available in Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
  • The Latest on State Plan Updates - Under WIOA, all states are required to submit comprehensive plans for their workforce system every four years, with an update at the two-year mark. Maryland's State Plan maps out the state’s strategic and operational blueprint for connecting employers with the talent their businesses need to thrive and reach jobseekers most in need with high quality career services. An update to Maryland's 2020 - 2024 WIOA State Plan was recently released for a public comment period that closed on January 7, 2022. The state's WIOA Alignment Group is currently reviewing the feedback received and will work with partner programs through the spring to finalize the updated document. Stay tuned for ongoing developments!
  • From the desk of the Chief Learning Officer for Maryland's Workforce System -

    As we enter the New Year, we often make resolutions to change a behavior, attitude, or outlook on a particular subject. I challenge you add a self-development resolution to your goals this year. Whether it's learning to bake a cake, learning to code, or learning something new about a professional partner, make a goal to learn something new this year. You may find a little extra joy for yourself or CREATE a little extra joy for another.

    We added a new module to the Benchmarks of Success eLearning series in November titled "Understanding Title II." This module focuses on the programs and services delivered under Title II 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
    • Understanding Title I

    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 January 13, 2021. The next meeting is scheduled for February 28, 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 quarterly meeting was held on November 16, 2021. The group's next meeting is scheduled for February 15, 2022. 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 Benchmarks of Success newsletter is the committee's main deliverable. The newsletter serves as a central forum targeting frontline service providers, where partners can share information on important developments that impact the system. The Committee held its most recent meeting on January 13, 2022. The group's next meeting is scheduled for February 10, 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 January 19, 2022 and has the next meeting scheduled for February 16, 2022. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s ongoing activities here.


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