Benchmarks of Success Issue 44, March 2023: Celebrating National Women's History Month

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 44,  March 2023

The March edition of our newsletter is dedicated to honoring National Women’s History Month. This seems like an especially relevant celebration for the many women who contribute so much as frontline service providers in the state’s workforce system.

working women


A Closer Look at Women in Maryland's Workforce

Let’s kick things off by taking a closer look at a statistical profile of the women of Maryland's workforce:

  • Maryland women are fully engaged in state's workforce, making up half (49%) of all workers.
  • Slightly less than half (45.9%) of the women in Maryland’s workforce put in 35 hours or more per week at their jobs.
  • Being a working mother is common in Maryland: 47% of married working women have one or more dependent children.
  • 14% of working women with dependent children are raising their families as single parents, compared with just 5% of men.
  • Maryland’s gender pay gap is better than some other states, but it is still significant. Women have median earnings of $60,599, compared with $69,948 median earnings for men.
  • More Maryland women (275,271) have completed some college or have attained an associate’s degree than men (260,676). However, men (276,396) outpace women (269,069) when it comes to earning bachelor’s or advanced degrees.
  • The gender pay gap grows with educational attainment levels: average earnings for men with a Graduate degree are $106,133, compared with just $75,625 for women with the same educational credentials.
  • Men continue to dominate as business owners: 61% of businesses are owned by men, compared with just 22% owned by women.


  • S. Census Bureau; 2021: American Community Survey 5-year estimates
  • S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics; 2021
  • Maryland Women: A Status Report



Antoinette K.

March Staff Shout Out - Antoinette Kennedy, Instructional Specialist for South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC)   

The staff and students who work with Antionette Kennedy agree: she is a superstar leader who goes above and beyond to ensure that the adult learners she serves have the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to succeed.

SBLC Interim Executive Director Melissa Smith recognizes Antoinette’s contributions as a team champion, program ambassador, and student advocate. “She is a key leadership strategist at SBLC,” says Melissa. “She supports our adult education instructors by ensuring staff have access to high quality professional development opportunities that facilitate collaboration among educators and build capacity for students. She is an outstanding instructional leader with a special gift for promoting collaboration, trust, and commitment.” Colleagues appreciate Antoinette’s professionalism and tireless advocacy for adult learners, who she takes time out of her day to tutor and support.

On behalf of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Office of Adult Education and Literacy Services, thank you, Antoinette, for all that you do for your program’s staff and for adult learners in Maryland!


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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Success Story

Brook's House

Employment is an Important Element in the Recovery Process for Women at Brooke's House

Women in Western Maryland who are struggling with substance use disorder are grateful there is a place like Brooke's House where they can find support. Located in Hagerstown, Maryland, the facility provides a clean, safe, and stable living environment for women in early recovery. Brooke’s House implements a recovery process based on three essential pillars: promoting recovery, addressing mental health, and offering real-world work experience through participation in social enterprises operated by the organization. These employment opportunities allow Brooke's House residents to develop good work habits while pursuing recovery. As women progress through the program, they receive the tools and resources they need to transform their lives.

The Western Maryland Consortium (WMC) and Brooke’s House began working together a little over three years ago as part of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Support to Communities grant program. WMC used grant funds to support transitional work experiences, sponsor financial literacy classes, and offer a variety of trainings that helped women achieve self-sufficiency and long-term sobriety. Since the partnership began, WMC has enrolled 56 clients from Brooke’s House. Fifty-one have been successfully discharged with full-time employment.

The effective partnership between WMC, Brooke’s House, local employers, and the recovery community created a program that allowed women to break the cycle of addiction. The positive outcomes demonstrate that recovery is possible, and that including a focus on employment is an essential ingredient in success.


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

  • Report Tracks Conditions for Maryland Women -

    Did you know that 11 of Maryland’s 16 Community Colleges are headed by women? Or that 23% of single headed female households with children under 18 live in poverty, versus only 12% of single headed male households? Or that women with young children who earn mid-level salaries are spending more than 20% of their income on their children’s care?

    If you are interested in research data related to what it is like to be a woman living in Maryland, Maryland Women: A Status Report is an excellent starting point. The report was released by the Maryland Commission for Women issued in 2021. The report drew from a wide range of data sources to examine issues related to demographics and diversity, work and the economy, education, health, safety and justice, leadership, and political participation.

    The Maryland Commission for Women was first established by the Governor in 1965 and was set in state law in 1971. An office of the Department of Human Services, the Commission is a 25-member advisory board charged with:

    • Studying the status of Maryland women,
    • Directing attention to critical problems confronting women,
    • Recommending methods of overcoming discrimination,
    • Recognizing women’s accomplishments and contributions, and
    • Providing informed advice to the executive and legislative branches of government on the issues concerning women in Maryland.

    The Commission has produced a variety of reports and hosts multiple annual events recognizing women’s achievements. Visit the website to learn more.

  • A View of Mature Working Women in America - 

    Women over 45-years-old made up 43.8% of the workforce population in 2016, according to the most recent data by the Department of Labor. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be twice as many working women over 55 than women aged 16-24. Despite the growing prevalence of older women in the workforce, age discrimination is also on the rise. Sixty-four percent of women say they have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, compared to 59% of men, according to a study by AARP.

    Read more…

  • Help Your Customers Recover Stolen Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Benefits

    If you are working with customers who lost their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits when thieves stole their EBT card information, here is some important information to share with them: Maryland is the first state in the nation to offer a simple, seamless, and swift process to help families and adults recover a portion of funds they lost. Maryland is even going a step further and will use state funds to replace stolen Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) and Temporary Disability Assistance (TDAP) benefits. Learn more at

  • Upcoming Conference
    • Coalition of Adult Basic Education 2023 National Conference - Conference for adult education professionals - April 2-5 -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ______________________________  

Benchmarks of Success Newsletters

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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 March 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 February 14, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for May 9, 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 March 9, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for April 13, 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 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 February 15, 2023 and has the next meeting scheduled for April 19, 2023. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s activities here.


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