VIII. Opportunities for Improvement
The General Assembly’s mandate to the GWIB comes at a key time for the GWIB and its
partners. The Governor recently reorganized the GWIB and
made it an Office within DLLR. The Governor appointed Gino
J. Gemignani, Jr. as its new Chair, Robert W. Seurkamp as
its new Executive Director, and has infused the GWIB with
many new private sector leaders from the hospitality,
aerospace, manufacturing, education, and finance industries,
with more to be appointed in the coming months. Governor
Ehrlich has charged the GWIB and its partner agencies with
the task of making Maryland’s public workforce development
system truly responsive to businesses so they are able to
find the skilled candidates they need, and citizens can
count on a vibrant economy to propel them on their career
paths. The GWIB staff has schematically outlined the role
and function of the organization, presented it to the
Governor and his staff, and is in the process of meeting
with all partner agency heads to inform them and garner
their support for the GWIB and its role.
While the GWIB and its partners continue to work to strengthen their relationships
with businesses and make Maryland’s workforce development
system more demand-driven, there is still more to do. In an
effort to create a more demand-driven system, the GWIB’s
Sub-cabinet members are continuing to work in a more
coordinated fashion. They have identified ten Opportunities
for Improvement (summarized below). These will be important
items of focus for the Sub-cabinet in the year ahead.
1. Identify businesses or business sectors with growth
potential that are currently experiencing or
projecting workforce shortages and determine how to
service their workforce needs (the "Industry
The Industry Cluster-Based Approach to Workforce Development is a demand-driven model
for connecting specific industry needs with the workforce
development system. Specifically, this approach focuses on
industries facing workforce shortages. Jobs are currently
available in the following industries: healthcare,
construction, information technology, some manufacturing,
retail, teaching, and hospitality/tourism industries. In
addition, state and local economic development agencies are
strategically focused on building and recruiting the
biotechnology, interactive technology and nanotechnology
industries for Maryland’s future economy.
The first example of a successful cluster-based approach was the healthcare
industry. In 2002, the GWIB created a Healthcare Steering
Committee, comprised of representatives from healthcare,
education and government, to review workforce issues and
select strategies to:
- Attract & Recruit workers to the industry;
- Retain workers;
- Create Career Development systems for incumbent workers;
- Link State policies with the healthcare industry’s workforce needs; and
- Assist military healthcare workers with transitioning to the private sector.
The work of the Steering Committee culminated in the publication of an industry
report and the convening of the Governor’s Healthcare
Workforce Summit, held on August 28, 2003. One hundred and
sixty-eight people from education, government and industry
attended. The participants selected projects and assigned
champions to implement the projects in the aforementioned categories.
The Steering Committee continues to meet monthly to continue the projects. There
are three major accomplishments from this effort. The first
is a substantial reduction of Maryland’s healthcare
workforce shortage. The second is that the DLLR/GWIB is
recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as the leader in
the State-sponsored Industry Cluster-Based Approach to
Workforce Development. Thirdly, as stated earlier, the
DLLR/GWIB has also received two grants from the U.S.
Department of Labor. One is to create the Maryland Center
for Cluster-Based Initiatives and the second is to implement
strategies to increase the supply of healthcare faculty and
improve the skills and credentials of incumbent healthcare workers.
Statement of the Problem
At present there are 8 state agencies managing thirty-one workforce development programs.
These total $2.4 billion per year (this does not include the
K-12 system, teacher development programs, Job Corps,
adjudicated youth and adults, and some direct subsidies to
citizens such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) recipients).
These programs were designed to provide job training and placement services to specific
populations. However, Maryland has 120,000 citizens
unemployed while at the same time 130,000 job openings
exist. There is a mismatch between the jobs that are
available and the skills of the available workers to perform those jobs.
Many, if not most of these jobs in the industries mentioned earlier in the report, will
require at least a high school diploma and, in many cases,
post-secondary education, training or certifications. A
coordinated approach, similar to the Healthcare Industry
initiative, can be applied to other industries as well.
Statement of the Solution
The Industry Cluster-Based Approach to Workforce Development is a demand-driven model
for connecting specific industry workforce needs with the
workforce development system. The GWIB is working with its
State partners to identify the key emerging industries in
Maryland with critical workforce shortages. The GWIB plans
to replicate the Healthcare Industry Workforce Initiative
process for other targeted industries. Efforts are already
underway in the aerospace, manufacturing and tourism/hospitality industries.
Description of the Solution
The GWIB plans to use the funding it received from the US DOL to address these issues.
The two U.S.DOL/ETA grants provide for the following components:
- Staff - Center Director, Healthcare Coordinator, and two Industry Analysts;
- Limited support for three Industry Cluster Initiatives;
- Development of a Policy Guide for Cluster-based Initiatives and a Maryland State
of the Workforce Report;
- Grants to local WIBs for local cluster-based initiatives;
- A Statewide workforce conference for each identified industry;
- Scholarships for nurses to become faculty members; and
- An incumbent worker training program for the healthcare industry to backfill
the teaching nurses’ positions.
Description of Benefits/Impact
The ultimate benefit of the Industry Cluster-Based Approach to Workforce Development
is continued economic development for Maryland. This
dialogue and cooperative effort allows the public agencies
to focus their resources by organizing and delivering their
services more efficiently. The private sector will spend
less on recruiting and human resource development so
resources can be applied to other competitive needs.
The GWIB is educating its members about the Industry Cluster-Based Approach to
Workforce Development. Selected Board members will function
as representatives for their industry and will use the
approach to convey their industry workforce issues to the public sector.
The GWIB will provide policy, guidance, and technical support for the statewide industry
initiatives and will lend support to locally driven
Cluster-Based Approaches. The GWIB’s goal is to eventually
make the Center self-sustaining through a combination of
government, foundation, and corporate support.
2. Identify interagency collaboration for the Maryland
Career Cluster system in order to fully align
workforce preparation at all education and training levels.
Career Clusters are groupings of interrelated occupations that represent the full range of
career opportunities in Maryland’s economy. They reflect
all levels of education and include a common core of
academic, technical and workplace knowledge and skills
required for education and training. The GWIB’s
Sub-cabinet approved an Interagency Action Plan in November
2001, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed
at using a system approach that connects economic
development, workforce preparation, and education reform.
As part of the Plan, five interagency coordination strategies were agreed-upon:
developing, validating and continually updating career
clusters and pathways within each cluster and related
cluster content standards; formalizing partnerships;
developing a single performance management system;
leveraging resources; and organizing schools into smaller
learning communities around career clusters. A
self-assessment tool was crafted for local workforce
investment boards to use to better understand the linkages
used to improve partnership commitment.
As the lead agency, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) worked with
Maryland business leaders to define each Career Cluster in
terms of the core business functions, related cross-cluster
skills and content standards. As a result, MSDE in
partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and
Economic Development produced Maryland Career Clusters
in print and on CD, and for easy access on the
Division of Career Technology and Adult Learning website.
Statement of the Problem
There is a long history of interagency collaboration related to the development of
Maryland’s Career Cluster system. However, further
interagency collaboration is required to fully align
workforce preparation at all education and training levels
and to be responsive to changes in economic priorities. All
agencies remain committed to developing a single and stable
system that customers, including the business community, can
align with when seeking services.
Statement of the Solution
The following recommendations target interagency collaboration for the Maryland Career
Cluster system and require a time commitment only. They
directly apply to building a single system and the related
components of career clusters that must be considered to
bridge linkages and unify the delivery of education and
workforce preparation services. Related components include
content and career development standards, as well as
assessment tools. Joint policy and marketing will facilitate
and promote an understanding of the system concept. There
will be savings using a single, unifying approach, but it
will require a pre-post analysis following full system
implementation. The recommendations are:
- Update the previous memorandum of understanding and Interagency Action plan
to establish Maryland Career Clusters as the systemic
structure for linking State and local workforce
preparation and all education levels;
- Determine time intervals (i.e. bi-annually, annually) and strategy (i.e.
web-based; employer focus group sessions) for regular
updates of the career clusters, including the content
standards using Maryland’s economic development
priorities as the driver;
- Identify interagency strategies for implementing the new Career Development
Standards-Based framework at all education levels and in
local One-Stop centers that are responsive to customer
needs; also get local school system buy-in, possibly
through the Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs).
The MSDE, through the Sub-cabinet, should lead the
development of a plan to accomplish this;
- Partner in the development of content standard, indicator and objective statements
for each career cluster, including an assessment system
that measures student and incumbent worker performance;
- Identify joint policy opportunities to bridge linkages, resources, and
performance gaps; and
- Develop a joint marketing strategy to fully promote an understanding of the career
Recommendations three and four are instrumental to the immediate implementation of a
career cluster system. Recommendation one should be updated
to successfully implement three and four. Resources have
been earmarked for training and curriculum writing
associated with items three and four. Interagency
collaboration will highly facilitate the full development of
Maryland’s career cluster system.
3. Execute a plan to market Local Workforce Investment
Areas to area businesses.
In order for Maryland’s workforce investment system to function, its product and
services must be understood and embraced by the business
sector. While local workforce investment boards and their
partner organizations are somewhat known to individual
clients in need of services, the attraction of private
sector business clients remains a challenge. Overall
marketing to the business sector is critical.
Statement of the Problem
Need for a clear identity - Success in any marketing effort for a service organization
or group of organizations requires a clear identity (i.e.
brand), defined products and services and clear benefits to
the end user (i.e. the business sector).
Need for a clear message – The system must agree on the standard products and
services they will deliver to their business customers.
Need for a standardized approach - Changes in federal program names, functions
and fluctuating resource levels have made a clear message
and sustained marketing difficult. Marketing, for the most
part, has been left up to individual programs. The number of
individual programs and the resulting absence of a defined
and stable brand and product cause confusion.
Need for marketing expertise and resources - Marketing to the private
sector has never been the collective goal or the forte of
the state or local workforce investment system. Funds
available for marketing, in many cases, are considered to
compete with services to individuals. If a viable marketing
effort is deemed to be critical to the success of the
statewide workforce investment system, then resources for
the effort must be identified.
Need for stronger economic development linkages – The workforce investment system
must be viewed as a viable tool of economic development.
Strong links with economic development are not forged in
some instances or utilized to the fullest extent possible in the marketing effort.
Statement of the Solution/Next Steps
Utilize business sector expertise - The experience and energy of the business
sector members of the Governor’s Workforce Investment
Board and the local WIBs must be harnessed to develop of an
overall marketing plan for the system.
Identify the best marketing practices of other states – Identify which
states do the best job marketing their workforce investment
system to the private sector. Determine how they finance
marketing, as well as who pays and out of which funds. Other
issues include how to piggyback on other efforts as well as
how other states measure their results.
Identify marketing funds - Existing marketing resource commitments at both the state
and local levels should be surveyed. A collective and
collaborative funding plan and funding commitment should be
made by the workforce development system.
4. Eliminate duplication and reduce costs through
improved consolidation and coordination of Federal
and State workforce dollars and programs.
Maryland One-Stops are funded primarily with Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
dollars. Centers supported with Wagner-Peyser Act funds (Job
Service) are also located statewide. There is considerable
overlap in the services provided. This results in confusion
among both job seekers and businesses seeking candidates for
hiring. In some cases, coordination exists between the two
entities and offices are co-located. In others, the centers
are separate. Even among those that are housed under the
same roof, the level of cooperation and coordination varies widely.
The House WIA reauthorization bill (H.R. 1261) calls for full consolidation of these
initiatives. The Senate WIA reauthorization bill (S. 1627)
calls for mandatory co-location of their respective centers.
Reauthorization is still pending in Congress. Additionally,
the federal Department of Labor has been encouraging states
to explore how services rendered under these separate
programs can become more seamless. Several states have
already taken the initiative to combine these two programs.
Statement of the Solution
Through consolidation, duplicative efforts can be eliminated and cost savings
realized, and/or services improved. The Department of Labor,
Licensing and Regulation took the first steps toward
consolidation by undertaking a reorganization of its central
staff in the Division of Workforce Development. Duplicative
staff positions were eliminated and responsibilities for
tasks shared in common by both funding streams (fiscal,
personnel, performance monitoring, etc.) were combined. The
Labor Market Analysis and Information unit and the
Apprenticeship and Training office were also integrated into
the new structure. In total, 17 positions were eliminated.
Savings realized from this streamlining will be given to the
12 local areas to be used for direct services.
Within each of the twelve local areas the State operated Job Service offices have
entered into a new era of cooperation with their WIA
partners. Efforts are now underway to identify and eliminate
duplicative activities. Coordination is now taking place
with regard to job fairs and mass recruitments for
employers. Job orders are being shared and job seekers have
begun to benefit from access to the services that both
funding streams have to offer. Further consolidation efforts
will occur at a pace commensurate with the readiness and
capability of each of the local areas.
5. Improve connections with Maryland’s business
community and job seekers by focusing attention on
updating and integrating the workforce Management Information System.
The WIA funded One-Stops and Wagner-Peyser funded Job Service centers had been using an
antiquated mainframe-based information system that needed
replacing. For several years Maryland had been involved in a
joint effort with neighboring states to produce a new
state-of-the-art, web-based system. It was envisioned that
once it were operational, Job Service and WIA data (and
eventually, data from other partners) would be integrated
into a single set of records allowing all partners to have
access to complete and up-to-date information about job
seekers and business customers. Service delivery would be
supported by case management capability, including ticklers
to facilitate follow-up. Fully automated data collection
would result in the superior ability to monitor performance
and meet federal reporting requirements. Unprecedented
connections with Maryland’s business community would be
enabled. Both job seekers and businesses would be able to
enter and access information online.
Statement of the Solution
Unfortunately, the effort had become stalled and attention needed to be focused on moving
it forward. An assessment was conducted to determine whether
the project was salvageable or should be abandoned in favor
of an off-the-shelf system that might need only minimal
customization for use in Maryland. It was determined that it
would be more expedient and cost effective to invest efforts
into getting the existing project on track. An analysis was
undertaken of all of the tasks that had to be done.
Assignments were made and deadlines were established for
completion of each of the four remaining phases of
development. A detailed plan was put in place to field test
the system using actual "real world" cases. A
system for providing feedback and making adjustments in the
system was devised. Standards and benchmarks were
established for each phase, ensuring that the project would
not progress to the next phase of development until the
established criteria were met. The launch date was March 29, 2004.
Training materials were developed and in the weeks leading up to the launch,
personnel throughout the State were trained. A help desk was
established and a plan for handling problems associated with
the transition to the new system was devised. The system was
given the name "Maryland Workforce Exchange"
and a logo was created. On Monday, March 29, 2004, as
scheduled, the new system was implemented. Staff is becoming
skilled at its use and the system is undergoing debugging.
Plans are underway to make the system available on the Web
to job seekers and employers. Expansion plans include
creating access for other workforce development partners.
6. Identify opportunities for the Department of Social
Services and Local Workforce Investment Areas to
combine resources in a collaborative and efficient manner to improve services to
Combining TANF and WIA resources is a long-standing concern for many service
delivery areas in Maryland. This has been recognized as a
gap in the workforce development system that should be
addressed rapidly, to ensure that our labor supply keeps
pace with the demands of our growing economy. In the state
of Maryland, welfare and workforce are two separate systems,
with limited communication and coordination that varies from
one jurisdiction to another. As a potential candidate for
becoming a mandatory partner in the "one-stop
centers," this raises many concerns for TANF agencies
that are part of a single or multiple county service
delivery area. The concerns range from funding and
accessibility to the type and availability of employment
services for low-income and disadvantaged workers.
Historically, the TANF and WIA agencies have operated separately and experienced an
acceptable level of success in most jurisdictions. In the
recent past, these workforce development entities have
simultaneously undergone a radical transformation in
philosophy and deed by changing from Private Industry
Council (PIC) to Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and Aid
to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies. In
anticipation of further changes resulting from legislation
to reauthorize WIA and TANF, and the fiscal crisis in
Maryland, combining resources becomes critically important
in an arena where the workforce is an integral part of
economic recovery and growth. In response to these concerns,
the GWIB’s Sub-cabinet asked that TANF and WIA officials
meet to develop recommendations on how to work in a more
collaborative and efficient fashion.
Statement of the Problem
In a perfect world, proponents of a more collaborative workforce system may
envision a single system with strong linkages to employers,
easy access for all workers, and one in which low-income
families are treated as potential workers rather than
stigmatized as welfare recipients. At the same time,
integration efforts raise concerns that the special needs
and circumstances of the disadvantaged may not be
effectively addressed in the workforce investment system;
that resources intended to address the needs of low-income
families could be diverted to less needy groups; or that the
resulting system might be seen by employers and other
workers as a welfare program in which they might be hesitant
to participate. These and other factors are a partial
explanation for why Maryland’s TANF and WIA agencies have
not quickly moved towards combining resources to provide
services to the populations mandated and commonly served.
While the State sets priorities, exercises oversight and control over the TANF
welfare agencies, local workforce investment areas are
monitored differently. Generally speaking, oversight for
workforce investment areas is the shared responsibility of
the chief local elected official, local workforce investment
boards, and the Department of Labor, Licensing and
Regulation. As simple as it may seem, the appointing
authorities for TANF and WIA agencies have never insisted
that these vital entities must work together to
assist the populations commonly served. This lack of basic
guidance is further exacerbated by a lack of mutual
understanding of the roles played, and the performance
measures and funding streams for each agency. Overall, turf,
money, historically misconceived perceptions, communication
and personnel issues are the underlying factors preventing
better coordination and collaboration.
Statement of the Solution/Next Steps
As mentioned above, at the request of the Sub-cabinet, Local and State representatives
with a vested interest discussed opportunities for the
Department of Social Services and Local Workforce Investment
Areas to work more collaboratively and efficiently together
to combine resources and to provide more efficient services
to low-income individuals. They developed the following
recommendations to help improve the accessibility and
effectiveness of workforce development services to
Require that WIA and TANF service delivery staff attend an
annual facilitated meeting to receive an overview of
program obligations and responsibilities respectively. The
parent or State coordinating organizations should also
meet regularly as needed to ensure that lines of
communication are open and issues are resolved that may
require a joint solution. They also made the following
recommendations to stimulate discussion and provide the call to action:
- Provide presentations on
the proposed changes to WIA and TANF reauthorization;
- Present an overview of both programs’ funding streams, performance
measures, and target populations;
- Facilitate a basic discussion of WIB and Department of Social Services operations;
- Facilitate an open discussion on why it is important to combine WIA and
TANF resources, and;
- Employ a seasoned facilitator steeped in the issues to assist with
creating an open dialogue between agencies.
The annual meetings will afford local WIA and TANF agencies the opportunity to clear
the air of misconceptions and misunderstandings, and remove
all barriers in the way of working together. Attendance will
also be mandatory for the twelve (12) WIA directors and the
twenty-four (24) local directors of social service.
Appointing authorities for WIA and TANF agencies must
request that each service delivery area develop a joint
plan to leverage resources for all workers and
businesses. State coordinating and oversight agencies such
as Department of Human Resources (DHR), Department of
Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) and GWIB will
approve and monitor the plans.
A joint WIA and TANF plan must be submitted annually for
review. The plan will discuss the proposed treatment of
target populations commonly served by both agencies.
WIA and TANF agencies will develop a State policy that
will foster an ongoing relationship.
- Create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) similar to the agreements used by
One-Stop partners. The MOU will outline the WIA and
TANF agencies’ plans to provide specific services to
the target populations in the area and will specify
how resources between the agencies will be leveraged.
The monetary value of services provided will not be
committed or expressed in the agreement.
- Establish an annual workforce development forum with workshops that add
value to WIA and TANF operations.
- DLLR, DHR and GWIB officials will set the stage for collaborative TANF
and WIA efforts by requiring each area to develop an
MOU. The MOU will be signed by the chief local elected
official, WIA Director and the DSS Director.
Develop bonus/incentives for collaborative operations
among TANF and WIA agencies
- Create incentive awards for joint WIA and TANF programs.
- Use collaboration with partners as a measure of performance.
- Look for support from Federal partners to set aside funds for innovative
programs that involve the joint efforts of WIA and TANF agencies.
DLLR, DHR, and GWIB officials would contact each
county’s chief elected officials regarding the added
value of combining workforce development resources in
their communities, setting the stage for collaborative
TANF and WIA efforts. Suggested topics may include:
- How economies of scale will help achieve efficiencies.
- The impact of workforce development on the local economy.
- Combining workforce development resources reduces unemployment in their communities.
- How workforce development contributes to the local and state
economies by increasing business and government revenues.
Conduct a survey of Maryland’s WIA and TANF agencies to
identify best practices for combining resources. This information would be shared at the mandatory
WIA/TANF Directors’ meeting.
These recommendations alone will not resolve the issues without the commitment of those
chosen for the task of improving the accessibility and
effectiveness of workforce development services for all
workers and businesses. There are WIA and TANF agencies such
as Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Lower & Upper
Shore and others that have demonstrated the propensity and
willingness to work collaboratively on workforce matters
that challenge the economic health of their communities.
However, there is considerable room for improvement, and
opportunities for increasing the effectiveness of workforce
development by improving communication and coordination throughout the system.
7. Fully integrate adult education into Maryland’s workforce
The Adult Education program is authorized by Title II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
and is named the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
The Adult Education program is a mandated partner in WIA. It
is also is one of the three programs which must achieve the
federally negotiated Performance Measure targets in order
for the state to be eligible for the WIA federal incentive
funds. Resources for adult education include $9M in federal
and $2.2M in state funding. Services are delivered through
35 competitive grants to local organizations, including
local school systems (55%), community colleges (17%),
community based organizations (17%), and some government
agencies (11%). WIA requires that all grants be competitive
and specifies the organizations that must be allowed to have
equitable access to the competitive grant process, as well
as the criteria that must be used in evaluating and
In Fiscal Year (FY) 03, the adult education program provided services to approximately
38,000 individuals. Participants ranged from individuals who
are non-readers to second language learners who have
professional degrees in their native language. They include
out of school youth over the age of 16, as well as parents
of young children who are participating in a family literacy
program such as Even Start, Judy Centers, and the Family
Support Centers. The percent of the participants who are
second language learners has increased every year for the
last six years. The enrollment of out of school youth has
increased every year for the last six years.
Statement of the Problem
The degree to which Adult education and Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) /
One- Stops are coordinating and integrating services varies
significantly across the State. Some of the reasons are
historical. With the advent of WIA, Maryland decided to
grandfather in the Private Industry Council (PIC) Board
structure, eliminating the opportunity to appoint local
adult education program leadership to the LWIBs. In most
cases, the local adult education leadership was not a
participant in the planning or development of workforce
services and products. Many opportunities were lost for
developing a shared vision of a local workforce system and services.
Another issue affecting the integration of services is the fact that while many (28%)
adult education learners have needs and goals that can be
met by Title I, the Workforce Investment System section of
WIA, there are a substantial number (over 52%) of enrollees
who are already employed. This incumbent workforce is
frequently enrolled with the goal of further education and
training or advancement on the job, even though these
services are not currently readily available through Title
I. In addition, another large segment of the adult education
population is not available for employment. They are parents
of young children or, in some cases, incarcerated.
There continues to be an uneven mutual understanding of the roles, services, and
other components of the Title I and Adult education
programs. This has interfered with the opportunity for the
two areas to interact and develop solutions to common
issues. Historically local issues over communication,
funding, decision-making, and the pressures to meet
performance measures for two sets of requirements, have been
barriers to the effective partnering between Title I and Adult education programs.
Another continuing issue for adult education is the limited state funding for
instruction. There is a waiting list for services across the
state of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 on an annual basis.
There is also a revenue shortage in the operating costs of
the General Educational Development (GED) testing office.
Additionally, there is also a lack of documented referrals from Title I to the Adult
education program. In FY 03, there were less than 200
referrals out of 38,000 individuals served, in spite of
documented needs for GED and English as a Second Language
(ESL) instructional services. GED services are provided in
the One-Stops with Title I employees or contracted to
community providers who are not Adult education grantees.
It is important to reinforce that in spite of the many issues and barriers, there are
some parts of the state, such as the Lower Shore, which have
been very successful in laying a good foundation for a more highly integrated system.
Statement of the Solution
There are many opportunities for improved coordination, collaboration, and integration.
The climate for making significant gains in partnering has
improved tremendously in recent months and some initial
discussions have begun at the state and local level. A clear
plan must be developed to reach this goal. Some potential
opportunities, which may be developed as part of a
comprehensive plan, are included below.
- Create a statewide MOU between adult education and the LWIBs/One Stops to ensure
a consistent level of integrated services and efficiency of operation across the state.
- Create a mechanism for Adult education programs to have representation on the LWIBs and
ensure that the representation of DLLR, DHR, Division of
Rehabilitation Services (DORS) and local WIBs continues on
the State Advisory Committee for Adult Education (STAC).
- Modify existing data systems to create an electronic referral system, which can track
and evaluate the results of cross referrals.
- Identify and build connections between the Literacy Works Information System
(LWIS) and Workforce Exchange data systems to better meet customer and stakeholder needs.
- Complete the transformation of the GED Testing Office Services to an e-business
environment to make services available 24/7 and in every One-Stop and WIA partner location.
- Build on the expertise of the adult education system by including adult education
programs as partners when planning initiatives.
- Consolidate the delivery of GED and ESL programs into Adult education to eliminate
duplication while ensuring that the instruction meets
Title I timeframe, reporting, and outcome requirements.
- Provide more reading, math, GED and ESL instruction on site at One-Stop locations.
- Continue to identify all adult education programs as Eligible Training Providers.
- Appoint the directors of Adult education programs to the Local Youth Councils.
- Identify Adult education products and services that can be made available in the
One-Stops; identify One-Stop services that can be brought
into existing adult learning centers.
- Develop a coordinated plan to connect the Department of Business and Economic
Development (DBED)’s Partnership for Workforce Quality
employers needing ESL, basic skills refreshers and GED
services for their employees with adult education services.
- Identify the service gaps, unmet needs, and partner concerns experienced by the LWIBs/One-Stops
in partnering with Adult education programs.
- Identify shared professional development needs and opportunities to connect the staff and resources.
- Define adult education instruction as a work related activity for welfare clients
and provide supports to assist customers to continue and
complete their instruction after entering employment.
- Create incentives for effective joint Title I and Adult education programs.
The GWIB Sub-cabinet will review and develop options for an improved system, following
on the recommendations of the 2001 Adult Education Task
Force. Potential solutions, including costs and benefits,
will be more carefully considered and developed as part of
an overall plan to improve the effectiveness of the system,
and will include an implementation timeline. The Sub-cabinet
will also identify and review national effective model
practices as a plan is developed.
Many of the options listed above would not require additional funding, but would
require an investment of human resources in planning and
implementation. Some of the options, such as modification of
data systems, may require a significant investment of time
and money. The benefits of improving the integration of the
system would certainly be an increase in the number of
potential and incumbent workers who are better able to
achieve their goals and a more highly skilled workforce to
meet the needs of Maryland employers.
In moving forward, it is important to model, at the state level, the valuing of
partner contributions and participation that is expected at
the local level. The Development and articulation of a
common vision for the Maryland workforce development system is essential to success.
8. Design a strategy to expand support for
transitioning ex-offenders into the Maryland workforce.
Several State agencies are taking the lead in preparing and supporting ex-offenders as
they re-enter their community and attempt to find and retain
employment. These are: the Maryland Division of Correction
under the Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services (DOC/DPSCS), the Maryland State Department of
Education/Correctional Education Program (MSDE/CE),
Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment
Development/Ex-offender’s Task Force (MOED/One-Stop Career
Centers), Department of Human Resources (DHR), Department of
Juvenile Services (DJS) and Veterans Affairs. These agencies
offer transitional services, such as substance abuse
counseling, job counseling, discharge planning and other
community services, and educational services such as
occupational training and Graduate Equivalent Degree (GED).
Funding comes from Federal, State and foundation sources.
Agencies work in collaboration with each other to provide
some of the services. A more detailed chart of the services
offered can be found in Appendix II at
the end of the report.
Statement of the Problem
The number of people released from Maryland prisons in 2001 was nearly twice the number
released two decades ago. Well over half of the Maryland
prisoners released in 2001 returned to Baltimore City and
many were concentrated within a few neighborhoods in
Baltimore. Funding for services to help transition
ex-offenders is extremely limited. According to the March
2003 Urban Institute Report: A Portrait of Prison
Reentry in Maryland, "Prisoners today are
typically less prepared for reintegration, less connected to
community-based social structures, and more likely to have
health or substance abuse problems than in the past. In
addition to these personal circumstances, limited
availability of jobs, housing, and social services in a
community may affect the returning prisoner's ability to
successfully reintegrate." Ex-offenders have
less access to education and training programs, job
services, and wrap-around services such as housing,
transportation and childcare, even though there is a direct
link between receiving an education while in prison and the
recidivism rate. Ex-offenders also face problems in getting
hired because of many employers’ lack of willingness to
hire people with criminal records.
Statement of the Solution
Because of the lack of resources to serve all of the ex-offenders returning to
Maryland, there needs to be an increase in collaboration to
improve the efficiency of the service-delivery system to
ex-offenders. In addition, there must be an increase in
interagency coordination and strategies to ensure that
offenders leaving prison have all IDs necessary for
employment and eligibility for community services. Finally,
all state agencies must review existing legal and licensing
barriers in order to develop a process to change policies
that negatively impact ex-offender reentry.
Description of the Solution
- Encourage policies to reallocate existing resources into programs and services
with documented progress in offender performance outcomes.
- Review state statutes, regulations and other policies affecting licensure.
- Review state and local agency hiring practices that often prohibit hiring former inmates.
- Coordinate with state agencies and community providers offering career
development, employment readiness and transition services
to deliver a form of "standard curriculum" that
requires student inmates to demonstrate core competencies
necessary for re-entry and sustained employment.
Description of Benefits/Impact
- Improves outcomes in employment for all agencies and lowers recidivism rates.
- Links economic and community development while addressing workforce needs of employers.
- Improves the effectiveness of agency and community staff
to increase the employment and retention outcomes of ex-offenders
as well as increasing employer and community perception
- Expand existing training options (i.e. Global Career Development Facilitator) and
include offender issues similar to the National Institute
of Correction (NIC) offender workforce development
specialists training and national credential. The Maryland
Institute for Employment and Training Professional (MIETP)
is currently offering staff training in workforce development skills.
- Assure that all supply side staff is knowledgeable of barriers and best practice
strategies. The GWIB could co-sponsor with partner
agencies the request that the NIC consider Maryland as a
potential partner state to increase the expansion of
training options available in Maryland to work with staff
and ex-offender clients.
- Identify what could be done if more resources were available or policies were revised,
- increased training opportunities.
- access to training in key labor market sectors that are often denied to ex-offenders.
- greater public support and participation in workforce development strategies.
- increased access to community support services and wraparound services.
- Identify issues (barriers) that need support or action from the General Assembly,
such as tax credits, reallocation of funds, revision of
legal barriers, establishment of investment funds.
9. Increase job opportunities for persons with disabilities.
The unemployment of persons with disabilities is a long-standing and significant problem
both nationally and in Maryland. The 2002 American Community
Survey Profile conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau
determined that nationally only 44.8% of persons of work-age
(21 – 64) with disabilities were working compared to 77.6%
for non-disabled individuals. In Maryland, the same study
found that 52.4% persons of work-age with disabilities were
working compared with 81.2% of non-disabled individuals.
This translates into 198,818 individuals of work-age with
disabilities in our State who are not working despite
research that indicates approximately two-thirds of persons
with disabilities want to work if given the opportunity.
Statement of Problem:
The underlying cause(s) of the high unemployment rate for persons with disabilities has
been the subject of recent debate and research in response
to the disability community demanding action by
policy-makers and the high social and economic costs
associated with unemployment. Cornell University,
Rehabilitation Research Center has been a lead organization
in examining this issue. Cornell researchers believe there
are three "main contenders" as to cause:
- Economic disincentives regarding Federal disability benefits;
- Employers’ perceptions regarding the risk of hiring persons with disabilities
including fear of litigation and higher insurance costs; and
- Increases in the severity of impairments and health conditions of persons with disabilities.
In addition to the findings of the Cornell researchers, empirical evidence of additional
barriers include: limited education and work skills of
persons with disabilities; a lack of public transportation
to get workers to where the jobs are located; budgetary
deficits (Medicaid, federal, and state) and restricted
capacity of publicly-funded programs that have traditionally
served this population.
A critical need area is services to young people with disabilities who are
completing or exiting the public education system. Maryland
communities have made a tremendous economic investment in
this group of individuals with disabilities served under the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It is
extremely important to the State that opportunities exist
for these young individuals to access post-secondary
education and obtain careers that lead to self-sufficiency.
Beyond the traditional public and private non-profit agencies that serve persons with
disabilities are an array of workforce programs and service
providers who may or may not have the experience, capacity,
and ability to serve persons with disabilities relative to
their employment needs. All too often, the traditional
providers of disability employment services and the other
partners in the state’s workforce system operate with too
little collaboration and coordination, not leveraging
existing resources, and therefore not maximizing employment
and career opportunities for persons with disabilities.
The One-Stop workforce system needs to build credibility with persons with disabilities.
Physical and programmatic access needs to be assured for
persons with disabilities to the programs and services
offered by local workforce investment boards and One-Stop
centers. Performance measures need to be modified so that
"hard-to-serve" consumers are not inadvertently
disenfranchised from the One-Stop service delivery system.
Statement of the Solution:
Maryland should build upon its national reputation as a leader in supporting and
ensuring career opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Our state has a number of nationally recognized programs of
excellence such as: The RISE Program – a self-employment
and entrepreneurial program for persons with disabilities
including individuals with significant developmental
disabilities; Rehabilitation Technology Services, Workforce
and Technology Center – provides a wide array of assistive
technology solutions for the successful employment of
persons with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.
The Governor’s QUEST Program provides paid internships in
state government for persons with disabilities. Maryland
should work to eliminate the wide disparity in unemployment
rates between job seekers with disabilities and non-disabled individuals.
Description of the Solution:
Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) and One-Stops should establish as a priority
the employment of persons with disabilities both in terms of
its efforts with the business community and the operation of
One-Stop centers. LWIBs and One-Stops should
aggressively work to educate and connect with employers on
the issue of hiring persons with disabilities such as
establishing local Business Leadership Networks (BLN) and
customized training programs with employers. LWIBs should
work to communicate to the business community the advantages
of having persons with disabilities as a part of their
workforce including data demonstrating high employment
retention and productivity rates of workers with disabilities.
Disability navigators should be established in all One-Stop centers. A disability
navigator provides direct services to individuals with
disabilities through his or her knowledge of disability
employment issues and strong knowledge of the array of
resources available to persons with disabilities. In
addition, the disability navigator works with the management
and partners of the One-Stop center to assure the access and
participation of persons with disabilities in the programs
and services offered by the center.
Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) counselors should be physically located at
all One-Stop Centers and function as a member of the
One-Stop team which can help assure that disability
awareness and access is incorporated into everything a
One-Stop center does; co-location versus team approach. DORS
counselors would take the lead with One-Stop consumers with
disabilities who request or require specialized services in
order to obtain employment. Examples of specialized services
include: assistive technology, supported employment and job
coaching, medical rehabilitation services, adjustment to
disability services, specialized services for the blind and
deaf; modified driving systems and vehicle modifications,
and architectural modifications to homes.
Other strategies/solutions include:
- One-Stop performance measures must be changed in order not to penalize the
centers from working with "hard-to-serve" consumers.
- Roll-out of the new "Maryland Workforce Exchange" to include all
workforce partners and community organizations. This would
foster better integration within the workforce system of
the many entities involved including public disability
services, the statewide network of private non-profits
community organizations, public education, colleges and
universities, and One-Stop centers.
- Encourage and support the continuing engagement of public two-year and four-year
colleges and universities in serving persons with
disabilities. These are critically important partners in
assuring high-quality employment opportunities for persons
Description of Benefits/Impact:
Analysis conducted by the Council of State Administrators in Vocational Rehabilitation
indicates that the successful employment of persons with
disabilities has the following economic impact:
- Persons with disabilities demonstrate a higher job retention rate than
non-disabled individuals thereby saving employers money
by reducing the turnover rate in their workforce.
- The total benefit to federal and state budgets is an increase of $2 – 4
dollars in revenues to every dollar invested in
returning an individual with a disability to employment.
- Make One-Stop centers a true one-stop for persons with disabilities, not just
"one-of-the-stops." The One-Stop should become
the primary service provider/point-of-entry for a large
segment of the population accessing the state’s
workforce investment system, including persons with
- Foster engagement with the business community to understand why it is good business
to include persons with disabilities in their hiring
decisions. Connect the business community with young
people with disabilities to provide career-connected experiences.
- Establish state policy on the co-location and participation of partner agencies at
Seed grant projects within One-Stop centers and at colleges and universities that
increase access to programs and services for persons with
disabilities and support collaboration and service integration.
10. Build capacity among workforce development system partners.
Over the next 30 years, as
the older, retirement-age population rapidly increases, the
existing workforce will shrink. It will mean integrating
every available worker into the workforce. At the same time,
the economy’s shift from a goods-producing to a
service-producing environment means a dramatic increase in
the need for knowledge workers. Maryland’s workforce
development system must be poised to address these issues if
the State is to remain competitive in terms of economic
development and growth. In order for Maryland’s workforce
development system to be effective, its numerous partner
agencies, representing economic development, education,
employment and training programs, and human services, must
collaborate and coordinate their efforts. It is important
that staff in these agencies, both professional and support,
have the knowledge and skills necessary for the
collaboration and coordination that will ensure Maryland has
a workforce prepared for the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s businesses.
Statement of the Problem
At present, each agency provides for the training and development of staff with
responsibilities for the delivery of workforce services.
There is no uniform set of knowledge and skills to support
improved collaboration and coordination among partner
agencies at either state or local levels. Nor is there an
agreed upon approach to the training and professional
development that results in a staff ready and able to
network and to minimize "silos" associated with
separate funding streams. The agencies reach out to one
another to include partner representation on workgroups and
to encourage support for local programs to similarly seek
interagency representation. However, this results in
cross-training of only a few agency representatives.
The Maryland Institute for
Employment and Training Professionals (MIETP) is a
not-for-profit staff development and networking organization
that helps frontline staff acquire and develop knowledge and
skills needed to provide service while also assisting
workforce agency supervisors and administrators with
leadership skills development. MIETP’s targeted
professional development programs are responsive to the
needs of the agencies it currently serves. MIETP has
recently initiated efforts to expand its scope of services
beyond employment and training agency personnel to include
the economic development and education communities. However,
while the organization aspires to broaden the types of
participants in its programs, at present it lacks the
resources to expand programs.
Statement of the Solution
The GWIB Sub-cabinet seeks to renew and expand its commitment to ensuring that the
professional and support staff of the partner agencies
possess the knowledge and skills needed to effectively
collaborate and coordinate on the opportunities for
improvement outlined in this report. As a first step, it
proposes to address the knowledge and skills associated with
two Improvement Opportunities previously discussed: the
State’s Industry Cluster-Based Approach to Workforce
Development and the State’s Career Clusters framework for
organizing and delivering the education and training needed
to prepare Maryland’s knowledge workers. The Sub-cabinet
has suggested that a portion of the Maryland 2004 Workforce
Investment Act Incentive Grant be set aside to launch a
professional development initiative, in partnership with
MIETP that would address these two systemic priorities. The
incentive grant resources provide an opportunity to test the
effectiveness of a collaborative approach to expanding the
knowledge and skills of interagency workforce development
staff at both state and local levels for the Industry
Cluster-Based Approach and Career Clusters. And, a
successful non-profit provider of training and networking
services stands ready to assist.
The benefits to the approach are numerous: improved collaboration can help eliminate
duplication of services, education and training services can
be better targeted to the needs of Maryland’s businesses,
important systemic improvements can be shared more
universally and efficiently, and state and local staffs can
develop key knowledge and skills that improve their
effectiveness. Launching such an initiative with the WIA
Incentive Grant (one-time money) represents both opportunity
and challenge. As an opportunity, the Incentive Grant
supports an immediate implementation of this opportunity for
improvement. When success is demonstrated, it will be
incumbent upon the agency partners to identify ongoing
resources to support a collaborative approach to
professional development and networking.
- Apply for the Incentive Grant funds.
- Establish an interagency planning committee.
- Coordinate implementation with MIETP.
- Assess effectiveness.
Agree on future direction.
The GWIB, in concert with the Sub-cabinet, will continue
to explore the areas noted as “Opportunities for
Improvement.” In its final report, it will make
straightforward recommendations for the direction of these
opportunity areas. The GWIB will also note those areas
that might require specific direction, collaboration within
agencies/departments, and in some cases legislative change.
Once done, the GWIB will provide a scope of the potential
savings or service effectiveness improvements that that
could result with full implementation.