JOTF E-Newsletter

July 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

New JOTF Paper Explores How Maryland’s Driver’s Licensing Laws Impact Low-Wage Workers
City Councilwoman Introduces 'Ban the Box' Bill
JOTF's Update from the Jumpstart Program
Help JOTF Find Good Businesses

OTHER NEWS

Federal Legislation Could Provide Over $130 Million to Modernize Maryland’s UI System
Baltimore Sun, "Md. adds few jobs in June"
Afro American Newspaper, "'Box' ban proposed for city applications"
Baltimore Sun, "Local job fair draws 1,000; Md. jobless rate stays at 3.6%"
Baltimore Sun, "Md. adds 3,600 jobs; jobless stay at 3.6%"
Baltimore Sun, "40,000 new jobs created in area"
International Business Times, "Employers Nearly Double New Jobs in May"

UPCOMING EVENTS

Legal Aid Bureau to Host "Settlement of State-Owed Child Support Arrears Workshop" (08/21/2007)


OPPORTUNITIES

Primo Electric Company / Primenet Inc Job Opportunities

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JOTF NEWS

New JOTF Paper Explores How Maryland’s Driver’s Licensing Laws Impact Low-Wage Workers

Maryland has some of the most extensive driver’s licensing requirements in the nation. In fact, Maryland is the only state that requires new drivers of all ages to complete the same driver’s education and practice requirements. Most significantly, all new drivers must complete 60 hours of supervised practice, in addition to 36 hours of driver’s education, before being eligible for a license. This law has created a new barrier to mobility and employment for low-income adults.

JOTF explores these issues in its new paper, “The 60-Hour Driving Practice Law: Unintended Consequences for Maryland's Economy.”

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

Download to read: “The 60-Hour Driving Practice Law: Unintended Consequences for Maryland's Economy” in PDF format.

(Document is in PDF format.)

 

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City Councilwoman Introduces 'Ban the Box' Bill

On July 16, 2007, Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton introduced “Ban the Box” legislation before the Baltimore City Council. The bill, 07-0741, would promote fair criminal record screening practices by removing the question on City job applications where prospective employees are asked to check the box “yes” or “no” to indicate if they have ever been convicted of a crime.

The proposal would apply to city departments, agencies, boards and commissions, but exclude law enforcement agencies. The bill would also shield applicants from having to disclose arrests that never led to convictions.

This effort mirrors successful "ban-the-box" initiatives in other cities, and is championed by supporters as a way to ease employment discrimination against people with criminal records. By removing the question from applications, candidates will be interviewed based on their qualifications alone, instead of being automatically dismissed due to their checking of the box.

It’s important to note that the measure does not prohibit Baltimore City from conducting background checks. It simply defers the criminal history check until the point in the process where applicants are deemed otherwise qualified for the position.

To date, nine other cities have already implemented “Ban the Box” policies. They include: Alameda County, CA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; San Francisco, CA; St. Paul, MN; Brockton, MA; Cambridge, MA; and East Palo Alto, CA. In addition, ten others are currently pursuing it. As a noted leader in re-entry initiatives, Baltimore should join this movement.

If you would like to receive future “Ban the Box” legislative updates, or if you would like information on how you can support the effort in Baltimore (by testifying, contacting members of the City Council, etc.), please contact Melissa Chalmers Broome at 410-234-8046.

 

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JOTF's Update from the Jumpstart Program

JOTF’s JumpStart program trains city residents to become carpenters, electricians and plumbers. Our partners include Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and Goodwill Industries. The three-month program provides hands-on training, OSHA and CPR certification and assistance with math skills that will be needed on the job.

After completing the training, we help to place graduates in a construction job with employers who are strongly encouraged to sponsor the graduate for apprenticeship – the path to become an official licensed plumber, carpenter or electrician.

So far 14 graduates have become an apprentice and we expect many more to follow. On average, graduates working in the construction industry have experienced a wage increase of over 70% since they started the program.

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


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Help JOTF Find Good Businesses!

We're looking to recognize employers that offer great places to work for their employees. We are particularly interested in employers that offer opportunities for promotion or additional education and training. If you are such an employer or are lucky enough to work for one, we want to hear from you.

Please forward your suggestions to Jessica Traskey at (410) 234-8040.


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OTHER NEWS

Federal Legislation Could Provide Over $130 Million to Modernize Maryland’s UI System

New legislation—the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act—was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 1871) and the House of Representatives (H.R. 2233). It would provide $7 billion to support states that adopt specific reforms to modernize their UI programs. The legislation encourages states to make changes such as implementing the alternative base period and extending benefits to part-time workers—two reforms recommended in JOTF’s recent issue brief “Putting the Unemployment System Back to Work For Maryland's Economy.”

If the needed reforms are adopted, Maryland would automatically qualify for $130 million in incentive funds. The legislation would also provide over $9 million to Maryland for administrative purposes. By encouraging the state to adopt UI policies that better serve low-wage workers, this legislation could improve the economic security of Maryland families, and strengthen the state economy.

This bill needs the support of state Governors and legislators. Please contact Governor O’Malley, Senator Mikulski, Senator Cardin, and your U.S. Representative and encourage them to sign on as a supporter of S. 1871 and/or H.R. 2233.

For more information, contact Andrea Payne at (410) 234-8303 or Melissa Chalmers Broome at (410) 234-8046.

 

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Baltimore Sun, "Md. adds few jobs in June" (07/21/2007)

U.S. Labor Department numbers, released earlier in July, show a gain of 10,500 jobs, the lowest on record of their government statistics dating from 1990. Economists credit the slow growth to everything from the slumping housing market to a shortage of qualified workers. Maryland employers added fewer jobs last month than any other June in the last 17 years.

Read "Md. adds few jobs in June" (07/21/2007)

 

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Afro American Newspaper, "'Box' ban proposed for city applications"

City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, representative of District 6, is proposing to protect applicants from having to disclose old arrests that did not result in a conviction and limit background checks to those under serious consideration for city jobs.

Read "'Box' ban proposed for city applications" (07/19/2007)

 

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Baltimore Sun, "Local job fair draws 1,000; Md. jobless rate stays at 3.6%" (06/20/2007)

On June 19, 2007 the Maryland Department of Human Resources’ Baltimore job fair gave over 60 employers a chance to meet over 1,000 hopeful job seekers.

Read "Local job fair draws 1,000; Md. jobless rate stays at 3.6%" (06/20/2007)

 

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Baltimore Sun, "Md. adds 3,600 jobs; jobless stay at 3.6%" (06/20/2007)

Maryland’s statewide unemployment rate is 3.6%, lower than the national average of 4.5%. A major reason for the state’s low rate is the stability and large amount of federal spending here. However, related to the low unemployment rate, which can be seen as desirable, is a low job growth rate - 1.1% during the past year, for a total of nearly 30,000 new jobs - which is not enough to keep up with Maryland’s projected population growth. For that, we need to add 40,000 – 50,000 new jobs each year. The low unemployment rate makes it “hard to find workers, and that’s a barrier to job growth”, says Richard Clinch, director of economic research at the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Center.

Read "Md. adds 3,600 jobs; jobless stay at 3.6%" (06/20/2007)

 

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Baltimore Sun, "40,000 new jobs created in area" (06/01/2007)

New census numbers suggest that the Baltimore metropolitan area created more than 40,000 jobs in the first half of the decade, with Anne Arundel County employers adding 25,700 jobs from 2000 to 2005.

Read "40,000 new jobs created in area" (06/01/2007)

 

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International Business Times, "Employers Nearly Double New Jobs in May" (06/01/2007)

From Jeannine Aversa of the Associated Press, the IBT reports that the country's economic health may be improving. Employers have near doubled the number of jobs they added to payrolls in May, allowing the unemployment rate to hold steady at a relatively low 4.5 percent.

Read "Employers Nearly Double New Jobs in May" (06/01/2007)

 

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Legal Aid Bureau to Host "Settlement of State-Owed Child Support Arrears Workshop" (06/25/2007)

The second Settlement of State-Owed Arrears Workshop will take place on Tuesday, August 21st from 10am-3pm, at Legal Aid Bureau, 500 East Lexington Street, Baltimore.

The workshop assists parents whose state-owed arrears accumulated while they were incarcerated, unemployed or currently living with the child they are supporting. If you have any clients who have arrears owed to the state please notify them of the upcoming workshop.

Please let them know that a new session starts around every hour and lasts about an hour. If you know the number of people you may be sending to the workshop please call 410-951-7791. While a reservation is not necessary it would be helpful for us to have a general idea of the expected participants.

For general information about the workshop please call 410-951-7791 and law clerk, Taylor James, can assist you.

Otherwise, Kisha Brown can be reached at (410) 951-7734 if you have any additional questions or concerns about the Settlement of Arrears Workshop II.


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OPPORTUNITIES

 

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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