JOTF E-Newsletter

January 2007

The Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) is pleased to bring you the latest edition of its electronic newsletter. The JOTF E-Newsletter includes news, announcements, and information about upcoming events in the Baltimore area that we hope will be of interest to you. If your organization would like to publicize an event, job announcement, or other information, please e-mail: jessica[@]jotf.org.

In this issue:

JOTF NEWS

JOTF Returns to Annapolis for Session '07
JOTF Releases Issue Brief on Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance System

JOTF Develops the Transport to Success Program
JOTF Partners with CASH Campaign to Host Tax Credit Workshop
JOTF Moves to New Location

OTHER NEWS

Baltimore Sun, "Costly twist on tax refund loan is called a bad deal"
New Lunchtime Series Kicks Off With Forum on Refund Anticipation Loans
Daily Record, "Holiday tax refund loans worry consumer groups"
Washington Post, "Caught the Flu, but No Sick Leave"


UPCOMING EVENTS



JOTF / Maryland Asset Building Initiative / Baltimore CASH Campaign Co-Host "The High Cost of Getting to Work: Finding Ways to Increase the Mobility of Low-Income Workers (02/16/2007)
Open Society Institute–Baltimore to Host Forum "Confronting Confinement" (02/02/2007)
Baltimore CASH Campaign With Local Maryland Sponsors to Host "Money Power Day" (02/24/2007)


OPPORTUNITIES

Open Society Institute–Baltimore Announces 2007 Community Fellowships Program
Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership Seek Construction Development Administrator and Development Coordinator
North American Trade Schools Seeks Instructors in HVAC, Diesel, Electrical & Building Trades
Primo Electric Company / Primenet Inc Job Opportunities

 

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JOTF NEWS

JOTF Returns to Annapolis for Session '07

With the 2007 General Assembly session underway, JOTF is preparing to focus on legislation that will improve economic opportunities for working families. Amongst the highlights of JOTF’s ’07 policy priorities are flexible sick leave, adult education, and child support debt-leveraging.

Flexible Leave Act: Because workers should not have to choose between their jobs and their families, JOTF supports efforts to allow employees to use their already accrued sick leave to care not only for themselves, but also for an ill child, parent or spouse.

Adult Education: JOTF supports a $26.5 million increase in state investment in basic literacy, GED, and ESOL services, as recommended by the Superintendent's Panel on Excellence in Adult Education.

Child Support Incentive Program: JOTF will promote mainstream employment among low-income, non-custodial parents who owe unpayable child support debt to the state. Legislation will call for the establishment of a statewide debt-leveraging program for obligors who meet their current child support obligations to their children.

Review JOTF's complete 2007 public policy agenda online here.

For more information, please contact Senior Policy Advocate, Melissa Chalmers Broome at (410) 234-8046.

 

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JOTF Releases Issue Brief on Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance System

A huge portion of the state’s workforce is ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits, even though their wages are taxed. Overall, only one-third of workers who are unemployed in the state actually receive benefits. In a new issue brief, Putting the Unemployment System Back to Work for Maryland’s Economy, the Job Opportunities Task Force makes five recommendations that will help the UI system better serve workers, employers, and the state economy.

For more information please contact Andrea Payne at 410-234-8303.

Download JOTF's January 2007 Issue Brief: "Putting the Unemployment System Back to Work for Maryland’s Economy" in PDF format.

(Document is in PDF format.)

 

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JOTF Develops the Transport to Success Program

Funded by Anne E. Casey Foundation, JOTF has developed a nine month pilot program designed to help remove transportation barriers low-income residents by assisting them in purchasing a car. The program, known as the Transport to Success Program (TSS) was created by a coalition of community organizations who are working together comprised of Vehicles for Change, East Baltimore Development Inc, Pro Drive Driving School, and the Legal Aid Bureau.

To date, we have 8 people in drivers education class and 4 graduates of the drivers ed. In addition, we have provided cars to two applicants. Currently, the pilot program is only offered who have graduated or are soon to graduate from the Jumpstart program AND actively looking for or have obtained a job within the construction industry.

For more information, please contact Gerald Ford at (410) 234-8931


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JOTF Partners with CASH Campaign to Host Tax Credit Workshop

For the second tax season in a row, JOTF partnered with the Baltimore CASH Campaign to host “Making Tax Time Pay: How the Earned Income Tax Credit Benefits Working Families.” The sold-out event took place on January 9th, 2007. This annual workshop gives local service providers and advocates the information they need to help ensure their clients take advantage of all the tax credits they are entitled to.

The most significant credit most low-income families can claim is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC was created in 1975 to encourage employment among low-income workers, reduce their tax-burden, and supplement their wages. Yet many working families are not aware of this benefit, or remain unsure about how to claim it. Through education and outreach about the EITC, workforce development agencies and other community-based organizations can help boost family incomes, promote mainstream employment, and stimulate local economies.

Joanna Smith-Ramani, Director of the Baltimore CASH Campaign, gave an overview of the initiative and the free tax services available to low-income clients. Pam Chaney, the CASH Campaign’s Operations Director, discussed the benefits and eligibility criteria for the most relevant tax credits. The Annie E. Casey Foundation generously provided space for the event.


Click here to view power point presentation: "A Campaign for Working Families"


Useful resources available below from the January 10th event in PDF format.

"File Smart and Save Big This Tax Season": Several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites provide free services in DC and MD. Find out if you qualify for free tax preparation and locate a VITA site in your neighborhood.

"Free Tax Preparation and Earned Income Tax Credit": Listed here are free tax prep locations for Baltimore City and The State of Maryland.


(Document is in PDF format.)

 

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JOTF Moves to New Location

JOTF is pleased to announce that our offices have moved to 231 East Baltimore Street, Suite 1102, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Please update your records.

Our current phone and fax numbers, email addresses and the JOTF website address are the same.

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OTHER NEWS


Baltimore Sun, "Costly twist on tax refund loan is called a bad deal"

Eileen Ambrose, for the Baltimore Sun's Business section, writes how advocates are raising the alarm on a new variation of refund anticipation loans called pay-stub loans. The consumer advocates say that they are riskier and costlier than other refund loans. Based on estimated refunds using information from pay-stubs, these loans can be taken out weeks before the tax season kicks off.

Read "Costly twist on tax refund loan is called a bad deal" (01/07/2007)

 

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New Lunchtime Series Kicks Off With Forum on Refund Anticipation Loans

Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are short-term loans to bridge the gap between tax preparation and receipt of refund. In most cases, RALs speed up the return process by only a few days, but carry an annual interest rate between 70% and 700%. In the end, taxpayers who buy RALs turn over about 10% of their total refund to professional tax preparers. Over 40% of EITC recipients in the Baltimore metro area purchased a RAL in 2004.

On December 15th, JOTF, the Baltimore CASH Campaign, and the Maryland Asset Building Initiative co-hosted a forum to discuss the issue. Alan Berube, a Fellow at the Brookings Institution, began the event with a brief overview of how RALs work and who is buying them. Cheryl Hystad, Director of Advocacy at Legal Aid, followed with thoughts on RALs in the context of Maryland’s predatory lending laws. Most of the session was reserved for questions and discussion around what advocates and service providers can do to influence policy and educate consumers. The event took place at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This event was the first in the new High Cost of Being Poor Lunchtime Discussion Series. Each month, the series will highlight a specific topic, and invite local stakeholders for an interactive discussion around the issue. Keep your eye out for future opportunities to learn, share, and develop practical ideas for creating change!

If you would like more information about RALs, or about the series in general, please contact Andrea Payne at 410-234-8303.

 

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Daily Record, "Holiday tax refund loans worry consumer groups"

Local advocates concerned as people are generating cash for the holiday season by borrowing against next years tax refunds earlier than ever before, reports Andy Rosen of The Daily Record.

Read "Holiday tax refund loans worry consumer groups" (12/13/2006)

 

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Washington Post, "Caught the Flu, but No Sick Leave"

Amy Joyce of the Washington Post writes that by most estimates, nearly half of all private-sector workers in the United States do not have a single day of paid sick leave, and that more do not have a paid day off in order to care for a sick family member. Low wage workers are those hit the hardest, with three of every four lacking any paid sick leave.

When workers without sick leave fall ill, or are injured, they have to decide if they can take an unpaid day off, and still make the rent.

Read "Caught the Flu, but No Sick Leave" (12/03/2006)

 


UPCOMING EVENTS

JOTF / Maryland Asset Building Initiative / Baltimore CASH Campaign Co-Host "The High Cost of Getting to Work: Finding Ways to Increase the Mobility of Low-Income Workers (02/16/2007)

Pack your lunch and join us for the next event in our lunchtime discussion series!

Brought to you by the Baltimore CASH Campaign, Job Opportunities Task Force, and the Maryland Asset Building Initiative

The High Cost of Being Poor
Lunchtime Discussion Series

The High Cost of Getting to Work:
Finding Ways to Increase the Mobility of Low-Income Workers

Friday, February 16th, 12-1:30pm

at Baltimore City Community College
Corporate Training Room
710 E. Lombard St, Baltimore, MD

Transportation is one of key barriers to finding and keeping a steady job. This is especially true in Maryland, where almost half of all workers must travel to another county for their job. Census data shows that Maryland workers spend longer commuting to their jobs than workers in any other state except New York. This places a heavy burden on low-income workers. The public transit system has serious gaps, but the expense of buying and maintaining a car often places this option out of a low-income family’s reach.

What is the scope of the problem, and what is being done to address the issue? How do we create a comprehensive solution that helps workers without creating other problems for the environment, or community growth and planning? What will best serve low-income workers—increasing access to cars, improving public transit options, or some combination of the two? Come to learn more and share your thoughts on these critical questions.

Speakers include: Henry Kay, Director of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Baltimore Transit Alliance & former Planning Director for the Maryland Transit Administration, and Margy Waller, Director of the Mobility Agenda and Co-Founder of Inclusionist.org.

SPACE IS LIMITED!!!

Please RSVP to Jessica Traskey at (410) 234-8040

Remember to bring your own lunch!


About the Series:

Housing. Healthcare. Food. Education. Financial Services.These are all everyday things we need to get by. But for low-income Baltimore residents, managing a budget with all of these high-cost items can be daunting, and sometimes unmanageable. Even worse, there are many barriers that prevent families from accessing essential services at reasonable prices. How can we help low-income families get ahead?

This discussion series will select a specific topic to strategize around each month. We invite you to join us for an intimate, engaging, and practical conversation, hosted at community organizations around the city. We will start each session with a brief orientation by a topical expert, but reserve most of our time for discussion. Come to learn, share, and leave with practical ideas for creating change.

Upcoming Topics Include:

-Check Cashers: Stripping resources or meeting market demands?
-Homeownership & Affordable Housing
-More TBA!

 

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Open Society Institute–Baltimore to Host Forum "Confronting Confinement" (02/02/2007)

The Open Society Institute–Baltimore Criminal Justice Program presents Alex Busansky and Michela Bowman discussing Confronting Confinement: A Report from the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, 10.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m., on February 6 at OSI-Baltimore, 201 N. Charles Street, Suite 1300, Baltimore, Maryland.

In June 2006, the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons released Confronting Confinement, a report on violence and abuse in U.S. jails and prisons, the broad impact of those problems on public safety and public health, and how correctional facilities nationwide can become safer and more effective. The report reflects the Commission's work over more than a year—an inquiry that featured over 100 witnesses who testified at public hearings in cities around the country, visits to jails and prisons, conversations with people about their experience of life behind bars, discussions with current and former corrections officials and experts working outside the profession, and a thorough review of available research and data. The report can be found at www.prisoncommission.org/report.asp.

Please RSVP by Friday, February 2, 2007 to Justin Schaberg at (410) 234-1092 x213

 

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Baltimore CASH Campaign With Local Maryland Sponsors to Host "Money Power Day" (02/24/2007)

Baltimore CASH Campaign, MECU Baltimore's Credit Union, M & T Bank, Citi Financial, SECU Credit Union, City of Baltimore, and other local institutes sponsor "Money Power Day", 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on Saturday, February 24 at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Coldspring Lane, Baltimore, Maryland. This event is open to the public, with free admission.

If you are a Baltimore City resident or worker, do not miss this landmark opportunity to have one-to-one financial counseling and support.



Download invitation and details for "Money Power Day" in PDF format.


(Document is in PDF format.)


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OPPORTUNITIES

Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership Seek Construction Development Administrator and Development Coordinator

Forest City Enterprises is a national diversified Real Estate Development and Management company, based in Cleveland, OH. The Forest City – New East Baltimore Project is working with its partners to redevelop the community north of the Johns Hopkins Medical campus into a new and vital district to include 850 units of housing, 1.1M SF of space for established and emerging life science companies and retail amenities, oriented around a community oriented system of parks and improved public spaces.

When completed by 2016, this community will transform the community into an inclusive and active 24/7 neighborhood for living, working and recreating.

Click on titles below to review the summary of positions in MS Word format.

Construction Development Administrator

Development Coordinator


Resumes will be accepted until January 31, 2007.

Applicants should forward resumes to:

Stephanie Holmes
Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership
1809 Ashland Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21205

Resumes can be faxed to (410) 900-1015 or e-mailed to Stephanie Holmes.

 

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Open Society Institute–Baltimore Announces 2007 Community Fellowships Program

The Open Society Institute–Baltimore is pleased to announce the tenth round of Baltimore Community Fellowships which will provide up to ten awards to individuals who wish to work in Baltimore City in public or community service.

The Community Fellowships Program was established in 1998 to assist individuals wishing to apply their educational and professional experiences to serve disadvantaged communities. The goals of these fellowships are to encourage public and community service careers, expand the number of mentors and role models available to youth in inner-city neighborhoods, and promote entrepreneurial initiatives that will empower communities to increase opportunities and improve the quality of life for their residents.


Funding Criteria

Up to ten individuals are awarded a Community Fellowship to implement innovative projects that seek to improve the circumstances and capacity of a marginalized or undeserved community in Baltimore City. Applicants may either apply for a fellowship: 1) to work under the auspices of a nonprofit organization in Baltimore City; or, 2) to work independently. In cases where the Fellowship takes place at an organization in Baltimore, applicants must secure sponsorship from that organization. The applicant’s project must be harmonious with the mission of the host organization.

Fellowship awards are in the amount of $48,750 for a term of 18 months. Other entities, including the host organization, may augment the stipend. The Baltimore Community Fellowships Program may provide limited relief for graduate school debt payments on a case-by-case basis. The host organization is expected to provide the Fellow medical benefits and work space and support overhead costs as necessary. In cases of extreme hardship, the program reimburses the host organization or individual for the cost of medical insurance.


Orientation Sessions

Interested applicants must attend an orientation session. Sessions will take place on:

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 8, 2007 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 15, 2007 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.


Deadline: Friday, March 16, 2007

To register for an orientation session or to receive an application, please call the Open Society Institute–Baltimore office at 410-234-1092 ext. 200 or email osibaltimore@sorosny.org.

The Baltimore Community Fellowships Program is supported by: Alison and Arnold Richman Fund, Cohen Opportunity Fund, The Commonweal Foundation, The Foundation for Maryland’s Future, Gloria B. and Herbert M. Katzenberg Charitable Fund, The Hoffberger Foundation, John Meyerhoff and Lenel Srochi Meyerhoff Fund, The Lois and Irving Blum Foundation and other investors in the Campaign for OSI-Baltimore.


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North American Trade Schools Seek Instructors in HVAC, Diesel, Electrical & Building Trades

North American Trade Schools is looking for instructor in HVAC, or electrical, or diesel and/or building trades. There are four openings available, two part-time positions, and two full-time positions. Candidates must have 3 years of industry experience or certifications. No teaching experience required!

The essential duties of this incumbent are to instruct students, and classroom management.

Salary is negotiable. Training is available.

Work hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or Monday-Thursday 6:00 pm to 11:00 p.m.

If you are interested in any of these positions, please fax cover letter and resume to 410-298-0641, (Attention: Instructor Position) to Mr. Kamuhuza. Alternatively, email your cover letter and resume to skamuhuza@natradeschools.com. For immediate attention call Mr.”K” at 410-298-4844.


View "Instructors Needed" flier here in PDF format.


(Document is in PDF format.)

 

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Primo Electric Company / Primenet Inc Job Opportunities

Since their founding more than 40 years ago, Primo Electric Company has promoted an environment where people take pride in their work. As a result, Primo employees enjoy challenging careers, valuable educational opportunities and a competitive wage and benefit package. All in a workplace that emphasizes teamwork, safety, commitment and mutual respect.

Whether seeking an apprenticeship, laborer, journeyman, foreman, or equipment operator position, Primo Electric offers numerous career opportunities.

PrimeNet Inc specializes in helping clients define, optimize, and manage their voice, data, video, and security communication systems.

At PrimeNet, pride is more than just a feeling; its a concrete attitude and philosophy that influences every aspect of their business. As a result, employees enjoy challenging careers, valuable educational opportunities (Including onsite BICSI® certification) and a competitive wage and benefits package. All in a workplace that emphasizes teamwork, safety, commitment and mutual respect.

Click here to view Primo Electric Company and Primenet Inc job opportunities.

 

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Newsletter Editor: Jessica Traskey
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