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JOTF Blog
By JOTF on 5/16/2013
by Melissa Broome

As communities, businesses, government and health care organizations celebrate and promote National Women’s Health Week, I can’t help but think of the women who struggle daily to care for themselves without access to paid sick leave.

The first step women are urged to take as a part of Women’s Health Week is to “Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.”

Sounds simple, right? If we value women and their health, then naturally we expect them to take the time each year to visit a cadre of doctor’s for their checkups. Unfortunately, this modest goal is unattainable for countless American women.  

By JOTF on 5/2/2013

by Caryn York
A new law championed by JOTF is giving some Marylanders a renewed shot at employment. Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the state’s “Ban the Box” legislation on May 2, making Maryland the ninth state to eliminate a requirement that prospective employees check a box on job applications to indicate whether they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. 

 

After four long years of urging Maryland lawmakers to remove the “box,” the victory is a welcome accomplishment. Today, more than one in four adults – roughly 65 million Americans – have some sort of criminal record. In Maryland, this means nearly 1 million adults face discriminatory barriers, such as the arrest/conviction question on state job applications, to securing stable employment. 

By JOTF on 4/30/2013
by Andrea Roethke

Imagine a Baltimore where every resident who wants a job has the skills to go get one. Imagine a workforce system where there are no dead-end jobs; just entry-level jobs that mark the first step on a career ladder. Imagine a community where nonprofits, government agencies, and employers are seamlessly aligned to connect residents to services to jobs.


Making this vision a reality is no small task, but every year we make strides in the right direction. Two years ago, the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) was formed with the goal of connecting residents to economic opportunity and revitalizing underserved neighborhoods. Since then, the collaborative of public, private, and nonprofit leaders have worked together to make investments in both human and physical capital, while at the same time advancing policy and systems change.

By JOTF on 4/16/2013
by Melissa Broome

There’s a well-known understanding in our state capitol that important bills rarely – if ever – pass in the first year. I recognize that last month’s unfavorable outcome for the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act was probably inevitable no matter what we had done. And yet, I’m still deeply disturbed by what this decision means for so many of our hardworking neighbo
By JOTF on 2/1/2013

Legislation filed this week would create a standard to assure that workers in our state could earn up to seven days of paid sick time each year.

 

The Earned Sick and Safe Time Act, cross-filed by Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery) and Delegate John A. Olszewski, Jr. (D-Baltimore County), would enable workers to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.

 

More than 700,000 people in Maryland cannot earn paid sick days from their employers. Many of these employees are low-wage workers who already face significant financial hurdles and worry that taking a day off work could mean they are unable to feed their children or pay their rent.

 

By JOTF on 1/7/2013

by Sarah Breitenbach

 

With the New Year comes cause for JOTF to celebrate. We are happy to announce, that for the first time, a developer is financing seats in our Project JumpStart construction training program.

 

Through a new partnership, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center Development Team (Advanced Particle Therapy, Signet Enterprises and Haskell) and the University of Maryland BioPark have graciously sponsored four seats in JumpStart’s 20th class, which begins Jan. 7 in east Baltimore.  

By JOTF on 10/16/2012
by Andrea Roethke

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. 

By JOTF on 10/10/2012
by Matt Stubbs

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. 

By JOTF on 10/1/2012
by Sarah Breitenbach


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. 

By JOTF on 8/9/2012
by Melissa Broome
JOTF is pleased to be included in the Brennan Center for Justice’s recent publication: Criminal Justice Debt: A Toolkit for Action.  The Toolkit is the latest in a series of Brennan Center publications that demonstrate how, across the country, cash-strapped court systems are attempting to fund their operations on the backs of indigent people.
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