The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation delivered welcome news to employers Monday. After three years of elevated unemployment insurance tax rates, relief is coming in 2013. Many employers will see their tax rate cut in half from $187 to $85 per employee, and all employers will see at least a 22 percent cut. Most importantly, this is a sign that people are getting back work and that Maryland’s economic recovery is on solid footing. It is also a sign that our unemployment insurance system is working as intended.
It is also a sign that our unemployment insurance system is working as intended. When the recession hit, many were not sure we’d be able to weather the storm while still providing adequate benefits to workers. The fact that rates are dropping shows that it is possible to maintain a strong safety net without putting undue strain on employers.
At the Job Opportunities Task Force we take a lot of pride in our JumpStart program, a construction training course designed to improve the skills and employability of Baltimoreans who lack the necessary abilities to land high-wage jobs. Each year dozens of residents graduate from the program, but we’ve recently realized there are significant numbers of people who are not afforded this opportunity because they lack basic math skills and cannot pass our screening exam.
New Maryland adult drivers no longer need to complete a cumbersome amount of driver training and child support orders will be automatically suspended for people who are incarcerated.
The measures, championed by JOTF and several lawmakers during the 2012 General Assembly Session, are among dozens of new Maryland laws taking effect today.
In 2011, the GED came under new management. The American Council on Education (ACE), who had been operating the test as a non-profit program, formed a partnership with the testing service Pearson. Together they created the GED Testing Service, which will now operate the GED as a for-profit venture.
At some point in most of our lives we get an urge or a call to service. Most of us satisfy the urge with a day of volunteering at the local food pantry or a weekend building a house for a needy family. Some go a step further and volunteer regularly or hold annual fundraisers. A smaller group goes above and beyond the conventional means of service. This group’s involvement can include (but is not limited to) starting their own community association, developing after-school programs, or providing skill training. JumpStart’s instructor, Jack Diehl, fits in that smaller group.
It's been almost seven years since I first interviewed for the position of Senior Policy Advocate at JOTF and - as embarrassing as this is to admit - I spent the night before the interview frantically researching how a bill becomes a law. Memories of my high school government course were foggy and I was worried that I would get asked. Thank goodness I didn't. No textbook or webpage could ever fully encompass the grueling, gut-wrenching, heart-palpitating, roller-coaster-ride of a process otherwise known as passing a bill.
by Andrea Roethke
In 2005, Pennsylvania created a network of Industry Partnerships. The system brings employers together to strategize around common workforce needs and develop collaborative training initiatives. The state provides support for training, with matching dollars from employers. According to the Pennsylvania Fund for Workforce Solutions, over 6,300 employers have contributed over $75 million in matching funds to train more than 100,000 Pennsylvania workers through the system. In 2011, the state passed legislation formally writing Industry Partnerships into state law.