Benchmarks of Success Issue 47, June/July 2023: Spring/Summer Means Adult Education Graduations & Youth Employment Services

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 47,  June/July 2023

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2023 Youth Services Roundup!

It's summertime! Get your sunscreen and pool floaties - and definitely check out this chart, which provides up-to-date information on both the year-round Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth programs and summer youth employment programs that are active this year across Maryland!

Kristen Patterson

Meet the State Disability and Youth Services Coordinator Kristen Patterson

Kristen Patterson is the Disability and Youth Services Coordinator at the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL) within Maryland's Department of Labor (MD Labor). In her role, Ms. Patterson provides oversight, training, and technical assistance to the 13 Workforce Development Areas across the state that implement WIOA Youth Services. She also supports services to youth with Individual Educational Plans who are transitioning out of the public school system. Most of her professional career has been centered around workforce development and positive youth development. Kristen has worked alongside young people to obtain their high school diplomas via GED® tests, enroll in post-secondary education, and obtain employment. She truly believes that working alongside young people to improve their essential skills, technical skills, occupational skills, or basic skills is an opportunity to make a generational impact.

Ms. Patterson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and the University of Maryland University College with a Master’s in Business Administration.

Staff Updates

MD Department of Labor - Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL)

Erin Roth

Erin Roth, Assistant Secretary

Erin Roth has been promoted from her previous role as DWDAL’s Deputy Assistant Secretary to serve as the Division’s new Assistant Secretary. Throughout her 14-year tenure with MD Labor, Ms. Roth has supported business growth and jobseekers with barriers to employment by facilitating the implementation of numerous initiatives, including WIOA. In her new role, Ms. Roth will lead the Division, which oversees 460 employees and a budget of approximately $160 million of federal and state funds. Ms. Roth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Loyola University Maryland and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University.

Robert Ruffins

Robert Ruffins, Policy Director

Robert Ruffins joined Labor in May as DWDAL’s new Director of Policy. Mr. Ruffins brings extensive experience in building coalitions and developing policies to broaden educational and employment opportunities for systemically underserved communities in Maryland and around the country. Robert graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in History before pursuing his master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Ruschelle Reuben

Ruschelle Reuben, Correctional Education Director

Ruschelle Reuben recently joined DWDAL as the new Director for Correctional Education. Ms. Reuben’s diverse previous roles as an educator included classroom teaching, academic inclusion services, and faculty leadership. As Director, she will leverage her experience to oversee educational opportunities for over 5,000 inmates annually and provide incarcerated individuals with services that facilitate the successful transition into Maryland's workforce and communities. Ms. Reuben earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Brooklyn College.

Maryland State Department of Education - Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Marla Friedman

DORS welcomes Marla Friedman to CAP

DORS welcomes the new Maryland Client Assistance Program (CAP) Director, Marla Friedman.

Maryland CAP is a federally funded program that provides information, advice, and advocacy to people with disabilities who are applying for or receiving services provided by DORS and Centers for Independent Living.

Ms. Friedman comes to CAP after more than twenty years working at VSP, a workforce development arm of Sinai Hospital, where she held several positions over the years, ending as the Vocational Services Manager. She brings vast experience guiding individuals with disabilities through the vocational services process, and she brings an open-door philosophy to her role at CAP.


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 Stories -

Congratulations, Class of 2023!


Each year, adult education programs recognize the effort, determination, and success of learners across Maryland. Graduation ceremonies highlight individual accomplishments buttressed by the steady love and support of family and friends. From the hearts of students and guest speakers spring testimonials to the truth of persistence in the face of adversity where adult learner voices elevate the realization of dedication and focus.

Congratulations to all graduates!

The following programs celebrated adult education graduations this spring and early summer:

Baltimore City Community College; Carroll Community College; College of Southern Maryland; Community College of Baltimore County; Hagerstown Community College; Harford Community College; Howard County Library System; Prince George’s Community College; South Baltimore Learning Center; and Worcester County Public Schools.

Pictured top right: South Baltimore Learning Center, 2023 Commencement Ceremony, June 27, 2023

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Employee Spotlight

Congratulations to Reentry Navigator Alyssa Webster, who received the Susquehanna Workforce Innovation Partnership 5-Star Award for her outstanding employment services to returning citizens in Maryland’s Susquehanna region. In addition to developing a robust employment program from the ground up to serve individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, she works tirelessly to build and strengthen relationships with businesses and community organizations that engage with this population.

From left to right: Workforce Development Specialist Supervisor Mary Johnson, Reemployment Programs Director Denise Carey, Office of Workforce Development Director Lloyd Day, (Awardee) Reentry Navigator Alyssa Webster, Workforce Development Specialist Supervisor Gregory Adams

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New Americans Corner

Interested in learning a few phrases in another language? Want to have another tool to help your work with those whose native language is not English?

Language Line has recently released the Please Hold Training Guide and Audio to learn how to say "Please hold," and a few other sentences in another language. The training guide also comes with audio files to ensure you have the correct pronunciation. This guide is designed to help limited English proficient customers stay connected while they wait for an interpreter to be connected.

Check out the resource today!


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                                                                                                                           

  • Collaboration Strategies to Serve Jobseekers with Disabilities -

    Whether you are a service provider helping consumers access services through DORS or are a workforce specialist helping jobseekers with disabilities in one of Maryland’s American Job Centers, you know it can sometimes be a challenge to provide customers with the full range of available employment resources. WorkforceGPS has developed a great toolkit to help: Collaboration Opportunities: WIOA Youth and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. Check it out!

  • Maryland Workforce System Leaders Discuss Collaboration Strategies - 

    The Maryland Workforce System was center stage recently in the second issue of the Planning Matters newsletter, a quarterly publication produced by Region II of the United States Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. MD Labor Assistant Secretary Erin Roth and Kirk Murray, President and CEO of the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation and President of the Maryland Workforce Association, shared their views in an interview about how the processes have aligned to build collaborative partnerships among workforce system partners. Access their interview and other news from Region II here.


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 June 26, 2023. The next meeting is scheduled for July 31, 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 May 9, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for August 8, 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 July 13, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for August 10, 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 June 21, 2023 and has the next meeting scheduled for August 23, 2023. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s activities here.


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