Benchmarks of Success Issue 53, February 2024: An Overview of Economic Conditions in Maryland

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Monthly Newsletter  -  Issue 53, February 2024

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New Economic Impact Report Offers Insights into Maryland's Top Industries and Occupations

The workforce professionals who advise jobseekers in Maryland's American Job Centers make it their business to understand their region's economic landscape. They rely on the team of economists and statisticians at the Maryland Department of Labor (MD Labor)'s Division of Workforce Development as their go-to authoritative source for this information. MD Labor’s Labor Market Information (LMI) team keeps their finger on the pulse of Maryland’s economy and produces numerous reports and tools that provide up-to-date information jobseekers and businesses can count on to make smart decisions. The newest addition to this bank of valuable tools is the recently released Overview of Current Economic Conditions in Maryland report.

The report presents data on the growth of Maryland’s gross domestic product over the last five years, a consequential period that includes the pandemic and the State’s ongoing economic recovery. Readers will find information on which industry sectors are growing fastest, and targeted information on the varying economic conditions in counties across the State. The report highlights workforce trends, such as labor force participations rates for women, as well as the average wages of in-demand occupations and industry sectors.

You can reach the LMI team at





Portrait of an EARN Maryland Project

The Groundwork Culinary Kitchen is an EARN Strategic Industry Partnership (SIP) led by Paul’s Place, a community-based organization located in southwest Baltimore City. The Groundwork Culinary Kitchen training program provides participants with 12 weeks of intensive culinary training in preparation for careers in the hospitality industry. Students have the opportunity to earn several industry-recognized credentials including ServeSafe Food Handler, ServeSafe Manager, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) Restaurant Server, AHLEI Kitchen Cook, and AHLEI Guest Service Professional certifications.

Twenty-one employers are SIP members. These employers hold mock interviews with students, lead cooking demonstrations, and act as guest speakers throughout training. In addition to technical skills, the partnership builds in supportive services such as transportation, food, and case management services as part of the program to maximize success while in training. Through the first three cohorts, 29 students, or 88% of those completing training, were placed into employment.

Read George's success story below!


Quick Resources

Benchmarks of Success Resource Page

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Resource Page

Maryland’s State Workforce Plan



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EARN Participant Success Story - Meet George


George learned about the training offered by Groundwork Kitchen while he was receiving unemployment benefits. When he enrolled in training, he was also reliant on Medical Assistance and SNAP benefits. George took this transition as an opportunity to follow his dream of starting a career in fine dining. During training, he received a small stipend, two meals per day, and gas cards to help him commute to and from training and defray his living expenses.

He valued the training opportunity he received so much that he started working overnight to help make ends meet while he dedicated three months to finishing training. George earned his Servsafe Food Handler, Servsafe Food Protection Manager, AHLEI Certified Restaurant Server, AHLEI Certified Kitchen Cook, and AHLEI Certified Guest Service Professional designations certifications during his 12-week training. After graduating, he was hired by an employer partner as a utility cook earning $18.50 per hour. He is also pursuing a part-time opportunity in another employer partner’s fine dining restaurant and plans to work in both jobs to gain the most experience.


workers - historic

Blast from the Past - The History of the U.S. Workforce System 

This article is part of a limited series highlighting key moments in the development of the nation’s public workforce system. 

The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) was originally established during the administration of President William Howard Taft on March 4, 1913. The agency’s original purpose was “to foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to enhance their opportunities for profitable employment.”

FUN FACT: USDOL initially consisted of the new U.S. Conciliation Service, which mediated labor disputes, plus four pre-existing bureaus: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Naturalization, and the Children's Bureau.


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Partnerships in Action

Partnerships are what it is all about in Family Literacy, and The Family Center in Hagerstown is no different. Hagerstown Community College has a partnership with The Family Center to provide Title II Adult Education services to their clients. Students, both GED® and English language learners, receive parenting classes, classes on practical topics such as budgeting, parent and child time, and even practice creating healthy meals for their children. Wrap around services at The Family Center allow parents to receive the academic skills they need while also developing as parents. Read more...

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Between the Lines

Looking for great success stories and promising program updates from around the field of adult education?  Look no further than Between the Lines!  Published by MD Labor's Office of Adult Education & Literacy Services, Between the Lines recognizes and applauds the diligence and dedication that comprise the various contributions and roles in adult education, from leaders, coaches, instructors, and staff in adult basic education (ABE), English as a second (or third, or forth, etc.) language (ESL), the National External Diploma Program (NEDP®), GED®, and Adult High Schools. We thank you for all that you do to support adult learners in Maryland!

Want to subscribe? Please contact Laura Ostrowski,, or Echo Salisbury, We’d love to hear from you!


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                                                                                                                          

  • February is Black History Month -

    Each February, the United States observes Black History Month to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans and acknowledge the unique challenges they have faced over the history of our nation. Let’s take a closer look at Marylander’s Black population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau  American Community Survey Data for the five-year period from 2017 to 2022:

    • 1,841,926 Black citizens call Maryland home, ranking Maryland as having the 7th highest Black population in the country.
    • 6% of Maryland’s Black population participates in the labor force, the 9th highest in the nation.
    • 7% of Maryland’s Black population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, the 4th highest in the nation.
    • According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Business Survey 2022 release, there were 7,793 Black owned firms statewide in 2021.
  • Eight Black Women Labor Leaders You Should Know -

    National Black History Month is the perfect time to celebrate the fact that Black women have been on the forefront of the fight for labor rights for decades, helping improve conditions for all of America’s workers. Historically excluded from many good jobs, they performed much of the essential but difficult work underpinning our economy without the protections afforded to other workers. For example, the Social Security Act of 1935 initially excluded domestic workers — the majority of whom were Black women.

    While there are countless women who have organized and advocated for better working conditions, read this article to learn about eight outstanding Black women whose tireless efforts changed the nation’s work life for the better.

  • EARN Maryland 2023 Annual Report Released -

    The EARN Maryland (EARN) Annual Report for 2023 is now live! Maryland workforce system professionals can glean valuable information from this report, which profiles the partnerships, training opportunities, and personal victories happening through the EARN program in every corner of the state.

    Maryland’s General Assembly established the EARN program in 2014 to create industry-led Strategic Industry Partnerships designed to advance the skills of Maryland’s workforce, grow the State’s economy, and increase sustainable employment for working families. As of October 2023, over 9,300 unemployed and underemployed individuals have obtained employment as a result of their participation in EARN. More than 13,000 incumbent workers have gained new skillsets through training and attained new credentials and certifications, resulting in positive outcomes for employers that include cost savings, increased productivity and decreased attrition.

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

    Stay tuned for more information on EARN as MD Labor plans to announce new Strategic Industry Partnerships in the coming months!
  • A Quick Q&A with MD Labor's LMI Team -

    Whether you are supporting jobseekers or business customers, you know that there is no substitute for a reliable source of data to inform your efforts. MD Labor’s Labor Market Information Team has your back! 

    Q: More and more jobseekers are asking me about employment opportunities in the “Gig Economy” and jobs that offer remote work options. I don’t have a good sense of where Maryland stands on this front, so I don’t feel very confident advising customers.

    A: The Self-Employment and Working from Home Trends in Maryland, 2017-2022 report is a great source of information on this timely topic. Check it out!

    Q: Are there any data tools out there that would allow me to find out which industries and occupations are growing in my area? 

    A: Yes! The LMI Team created the Growth Industry Tool to conduct searches of industry sectors by county. And the Growth Occupation Tool allows users to search employment, growth, wages, the geographic concentration of employment, and more.


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 October 30, 2023. The next meeting date will be determined. 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 14, 2023. The group's next meeting date will be determined. 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 February 8, 2024. The group's next meeting date will be held on March 14, 2024. 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 October 18, 2023. The date for the committee's next meeting will be determined. You can learn more about the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Committee’s activities here.


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