Benchmarks of Success Issue 49, September 2023: Workforce Programs to Support Marylanders in Recovery & Other News

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 49,  September 2023

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Investments in Workforce Programs Support Marylanders in Recovery

September is National Recovery Month. Since 1989, Recovery Month has been dedicated to promoting and supporting new treatment and recovery practices, the strong and proud recovery community, and the service providers and communities who make recovery in all its forms possible. Recovery Month was introduced when America’s drug crisis looked very different than it does today. Both the problems and the solutions have evolved and changed over time. The nation’s reckoning with the scope and scale of the opioid crisis has helped to shape more holistic treatment strategies that integrate the critical stabilizing effect a good job can have on the success of the recovery process. To date, Maryland’s Department of Labor (MD Labor) has invested over $10M in initiatives aimed at addressing substance use disorder (SUD) and its wider impacts through workforce development. A full list can be found here. The initiatives that are currently active are listed below. Check them out!

  • Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery Through Workforce Development Grant Program (Active through May of 2024)This $4.5m grant from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) supports awards to Local Workforce Development Areas to provide workforce services to individuals personally affected by the opioid crisis.
  • Supporting Recovery Through Employment (Active through October 2023) – This $1m grant from Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Governor’s Set Aside Funds supports 11 grantees from across the state to continue or seed the implementation of training and employment for individuals directly impacted by SUD.
  • Recovery Friendly Workplace Pilot Program (Active through September 2024) -- $440,000 from the Maryland Department of Health Behavioral Health Administration to launch a Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) program in three impacted areas of the State. RFW’s encourage a safe environment in which individuals impacted by SUD can thrive and encourages employers, employees, and the broader community to collaborate to reduce stigma.

From The Jude House - A Supporting Recovery Through Employment Grantee 


Damien M. graduated from The Jude House in June 2023. While he was a patient, Damien enrolled in the Community Health Workers/Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) training program with another MD Labor grantee, Voices of Hope. Damien thrived in the CPRS trainings and in his role as a Community Health Worker after serving 30 years of incarceration.

Currently in Prince George's Country Reentry Court, Damien has commitments to meet with case managers, attend court hearings, complete random drug screens, and maintain GPS monitoring. With such a full schedule, Damien initially struggled to attend training, but staff from Maryland’s Adult Education program and Voices of Hope worked together to advocate on his behalf. Happily, he gained the flexibility he needed to successfully complete training.

Currently, Damien is employed at Tranquility Woods, an addiction treatment center, and is in the process of completing the Community Health Worker Practicum. Damien has met all of the requirements for CPRS certification and started the application process with Michelle Asmussen (RPS) on 8/8/23.

Pictured above: Michelle Asmussen, Special Programs Manager at The Jude House and Damien M.


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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Veterans Gather to Learn About Small Business Resources

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The second annual Veteran-Owned Small Business Conference was held on September 22 and 23 at the Maritime Conference Center  in Linthicum, Maryland. The event offered Maryland veterans valuable guidance on accessing support and resources to launch and sustain successful small businesses. Hosted by the Veterans Services team at MD Labor, the conference included speakers and panels representing such groups as the Governor's Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs, the Small Business AdministrationVeterans Business Outreach CentersSmall Business Development Centers, and Project Opportunity, among others. Three hundred participants registered for the two-day event.


Employee Spotlight

Congratulations to MD Labor's Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL) Fiscal Manager, Dorothee Schlotterbeck!

She recently won the prestigious "Raising the Bar in Operations and Support" Award at this year's Maryland Workforce Association's professional development conference Raising the Bar held on September 11-13.

"I am humbled and honored for receiving this award. My sincere thanks to my colleagues who nominated me, and the folks who selected me. A special THANK YOU to the DWDAL Fiscal Team, who make it all possible!"

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New Americans Corner

Did you know that September 30 is International Translation Day? According to Ethnologue, it’s estimated that there are 7,168 languages in use worldwide today. The global language services market was valued at USD 60.68 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 96.21 billion by the end of 2032. (Fact.MR)

There are approximately 640,000 translators worldwide. (Universal Translation) Check out this two-minute video about a day in the life of a translator or interpreter. 


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                                                                                                                           

  • Impact of Substance Use on the Workplace (Drawn from the United States Department of Labor’s Benefits of Recovery-Ready Workplace website) - The majority of Americans with substance use disorder (SUD) are employed—predominantly full-time.1 SUD in the workforce is costly to employers, resulting in absenteeism, lost productivity, increased healthcare costs, and elevated liability exposure. Workers with SUDs take nearly 50% more days of unscheduled leave than other workers and have an average annual turnover rate 44% higher than that for the workforce as a whole. By contrast, workers who are in recovery from SUD average nearly 10% fewer days of unscheduled leave per year than other workers. And, the turnover rate for employees in recovery is 12% lower than the overall average.2 Turnover is extremely costly. Recruiting and training a replacement worker costs approximately 21% of the employee’s annual salary and benefits.34 For more information, see this publication on the development of the Substance Use Cost Calculator for US Employers.
  • What is Maryland's Opioid Operational Command Center? The Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) serves as the primary coordinating office for the state’s response to the opioid and overdose crisis. The OOCC is responsible for coordinating with all state agencies engaged in opioid crisis response efforts and the Opioid Intervention Teams (OIT) in each of Maryland’s 24 local jurisdictions to promote alignment with the state’s strategic priorities.

    Learn more about the OOCC’s vision, mission and partners here.

  • State Updates from the Opioid Operational Command Center - According to the latest data from Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center, the state has seen a decrease in fatal overdoses since 2021. The first three months of 2023 showed that trend continuing. Fentanyl continues to be found in the majority of overdose deaths. However, there does appear to be an increase in non-opioid related fatal overdoses, including overdoses from stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamines. Maryland has a statewide standing order for the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone (Narcan) so anyone can get it from a pharmacy without proof of training. 
  • USDOL Introduces Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub - For those of you providing employment services to customers in recovery or engaged in educating the employer community on the benefits of a recovery friendly workplace, a great new resource just hit the internet! Visit USDOL’s new Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub for a wealth of relevant information and tools that include policy guidance, the latest service models, links to trade and union associations and more.
  • Virtual Training Institute 8.0 - September 18-21, 2023 - 

    Maryland’s Department of Labor, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning hosted the biannual Virtual Training Institute (VTI) from September 18 - 21, 2023. For the 8th VTI, a variety of sessions were offered to support adult learner experiences and outcomes delivered by practitioners from Title II. From 20 sessions whose topics spanned neurodiversity to instructional techniques for English language learning to, for the first time, family literacy, there was a professional development opportunity for all adult education stakeholders. For more information, please visit

  • Baltimore City's YouthWorks Program Celebrates 50 Years! This summer marked the 50th year of YouthWorks, with almost 7,900 jobs offered to Baltimore youth.

    YouthWorks, originally called Blue Chip, dates back to 1973. The five-week job opportunity gives young people from ages 14 to 21 an opportunity to make money, a chance to learn valuable skills, and so much more.

    Watch a video about YouthWorks produced by WBAL TV 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 September 25, 2023. The next meeting is scheduled for October 30, 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 August 8, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for November 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 September 14, 2023. The group's next meeting is scheduled for October 12, 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 August 23, 2023 and has the next meeting scheduled for October 18, 2023. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s activities here.


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