Benchmarks of Success Issue 42, January 2023: The Programs that Make Maryland's Workforce System Strong

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 42,  January 2023



The Programs that Make Maryland's Workforce System Strong

With the advent of a new year and the transition to a new Governor and administration, the time felt right to revisit the fundamentals of Maryland’s workforce system.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) governs the implementation of a collection of partner programs that work together. The shared goal of these partners is to help job seekers access the employment, education, training, and support services they need to succeed in the labor market, and match employers with the skilled workers businesses need to compete in the global economy. We put together the table referenced below to highlight the partner programs, and to introduce the newest partner to join the network – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Check out the full list of Maryland's workforce system partners here.

DORS logo

Pandemic-borne  Service Modifications Adopted as Permanent Process Solutions

Extended pandemic-related shutdowns completely upended standard operating procedures for many workforce system partner programs. While organizations have slowly returned to pre-pandemic practices in the last year, many are permanently adopting select service modifications introduced during the pandemic that just turned out to be a better way to do business. The Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services’ (DORS) Eligibility Determination Unit is a great case-in-point.

During the long months of remote-only service, DORS’ Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors who conducted in-person Career Assessment evaluations were not able to perform their usual duties. Instead, DORS put these counselors to work under a new initiative, helping with the intake and eligibility decision-making process. The initiative generated so much positive feedback from DORS’ Office of Field Service (OFS) and Office for Blindness & Vision Services (OBVS) VR counselors, that DORS leadership decided to create the new Eligibility Determination Unit (EDU).

The VR counselors who staff the EDU are now DORS’ eligibility experts, responsible for accurately placing individuals into the correct service category. With this part of the process removed from the duties of OBVS and OFS field counselors, these professionals can focus their time on working with each consumer to provide appropriate services. The long-term goal of the EDU is increased efficiency, resulting in a higher number of DORS’ consumers getting on a path to enduring employment.

Kudos to the DORS team! Your commitment to continuous improvement and your agile response to challenges will help more DORS customers receive the services they need!

IAWP Board Members

Continuous Improvement begins with Professional Development   

IAWP Maryland Chapter Board Members: (Left to right)  Dr. Tamara Barron, Denise Carey, Tondi Correll, Alan Crawley, Nancy Fink, Kari Pompilii, and Ginamarie Best

The International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP) is a non-profit educational association exclusively dedicated to workforce professionals. Maryland has had an active IAWP Chapter for over 30 years. MD Department of Labor's Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL) staff have long been a driving force in the IAWP organization, within Maryland and beyond. For example, Nancy Fink, who worked for many years as the Director of DWDAL’s Professional Outplacement and Assistance Center, is currently serving as the International President of IAWP. This is especially impressive, considering Nancy retired from her DWDAL position two years ago!

Maryland’s IAWP Chapter recently held a Professional Development Academy at the Maryland Department of Transportation headquarters. Maryland IAWP Board members worked hard to prepare an in-person, full day learning experience that featured presentations on Registered Apprenticeship, Maryland’s Correctional Education services, and deaf etiquette in the workplace.

In addition to the presentations, the Maryland IAWP Chapter’s Board held a special recognition ceremony to thank DWDAL Assistant Secretary Rzepkowski and Office of Workforce Development Director Lloyd Day for the steadfast support both leaders have shown for the Chapter’s activities and DWDAL front-line workforce staff.

IAWP’s next Professional Development Conference is right around the corner! Scheduled for February 15 and 16, 2023, the conference will focus on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations.

Workforce professionals interested in learning more about Maryland’s IAWP Chapter or joining one of the Chapter’s service committees may contact Kari Pompilii (


Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan



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Success Story

Jeff success story

Jeff develops a passion for building a successful career.

When Jeff was suddenly laid off from his assistant manager position with a national footwear retail chain, he was understandably upset. Even so, he did what he was supposed to do, applying for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and focusing his energy on taking advantage of the reemployment services available through the nearby American Job Center. It was there that Jeff met Workforce Specialist Sandra Liuzzi, who helped him develop a competitive résumé and put together an effective reemployment plan. Jeff worked the plan. He networked and applied to a number of jobs. But as he approached the end of his UI benefits, he still hadn’t landed a new job.

Luckily, Sandra just happened to cross paths with a large company that seemed like it might be able to use Jeff’s great sales background and entrepreneurial spirit. On her suggestion, Jeff applied for a position – and happily, was hired!

It has been months since Jeff assumed his first role with the new company. In the interim, he has been promoted twice and recently became a certified trainer for his department. Throughout it all, Jeff has stayed in contact with Sandra, regularly checking in with her for support and advice. Her belief in his potential clearly energized his desire to invest in himself to grow in his career. He recently met with her to explore opportunities for additional incumbent training.  


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

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – The Basics -

    Maryland’s workforce system is welcoming a new partner in 2023 – SNAP! The support SNAP offers low income people helps them buy the food they need for good health. SNAP’s impact in Maryland is hard to overstate. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 823,500 Maryland residents, or 13% of the state population (1 in 7) received SNAP benefits in Fiscal Year 2021. More than 62% of Maryland SNAP participants are in families with children, and almost 38% are in families with members who are older adults or are disabled. More than 34% are in working families. SNAP participants in Maryland received $878.65 million in benefits in 2019, $1.27 billion in 2020, and $2.15 billion in 2021, including temporary pandemic relief.

    The SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) program helps SNAP participants gain skills and find work that moves them forward to self-sufficiency. Through SNAP E&T, participants gain access to training and support services to help them enter or move up in the workforce. These programs also help to reduce barriers to work by providing support services – such as transportation and childcare – as participants prepare for and obtain employment.

    Maryland’s Department of Human Services oversees the state’s implementation of SNAP. To learn more, visit the SNAP website.

  • EARN Maryland Annual Report Released - 

    The EARN Maryland (EARN) Annual Report for 2022 is now live! Maryland workforce system professionals can glean valuable information from this report regarding diverse training and employment programs currently running in every corner of the state.

    Maryland’s General Assembly established the EARN program in 2014 to create industry-led Strategic Industry Partnerships (SIPs) designed to advance the skills of Maryland’s workforce, grow the State’s economy, and increase sustainable employment for working families. As of October 2022, over 8,000 unemployed and underemployed individuals have obtained employment as a result of their participation in EARN. More than 11,000 incumbent workers have benefitted from training, leading to increased skillsets and improved business outcomes for Maryland employers, including cost savings, increased productivity, and decreased attrition.

    Check out this slideshow presentation to learn more about how the EARN program works.

  • Maryland Virtual Training Institute - Feb. 13-16, 2023 - 

    The Maryland Department of Labor, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, Office of Adult Education and Literacy Services is excited to announce the dates for the 7th Maryland Virtual Training Institute (VTI). VTI 7.0 will take place February 13 - 16, 2023.

    For four years, the bi-annual Maryland Virtual Training Institute has provided targeted, innovative, and thoughtful professional learning opportunities for both instructors and program leadership. Continuing in that tradition, VTI 7.0 will offer presentations for personal and professional development and networking with talented adult education professionals from around the state and across the nation. Together we can strengthen the instructional foundation in Maryland and improve student outcomes.

    Registration information will follow during the last week of January. Until then - mark your calendars!

    For questions, please reach out to Ahu Moser at or visit                                                                                                                                                                                  ______________________________  

Benchmarks of Success Newsletters

  • For all previous newsletter issues, click here.


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 30, 2023. The next meeting is scheduled for February 27, 2023. 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 held its most recent meeting on November 1, 2022. The group's next meeting is scheduled for February 14, 2023. 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 12, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for February 9, 2023. 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 jointly with the Data and Dashboard Committee on August 8, 2022. The next meeting of the Committee is to be determined. 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 20, 2022 and has the next meeting scheduled for February 15, 2023. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s activities here.


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