JOTF E-Newsletter

May 2008

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[@]

In this issue:






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JOTF Session 2008 - Bill Signings

On Thursday, May 22, Governor Martin O'Malley signed two important pieces of legislation into law. House Bill 40, the Flexible Leave Act, updates the definition of sick leave to reflect the reality of today's working families. Maryland employers with 15 or more employees will be required to allow workers to use their paid leave for the care of a child, spouse or parent.

Senate Bill 695 permits the expungement of certain nuisance crime convictions. In Maryland, until now, convictions of any kind could not be expunged from an individual's criminal history record, even in the case of minor, non-violent offenses. The new law will help reduce barriers to employment for persons wishing to turn their lives around.

Both the Flexible Leave Act and Nuisance Crimes Expungement will go into effect on October 1, 2008.


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JOTF Hosts Forum for Employers: “The Benefits and Challenges of Hiring a Person with a Criminal Background”

On May 23, 2008, JOTF hosted a forum for employers entitled “The Benefits and Challenges of Hiring a Person with a Criminal Background.” The event featured the following presentations from the following:

  • Emmett McGee, a partner from DLA Piper discussed liability issues in hiring and retaining employees (including people with a criminal background). Mr McGee discussed the concept of negligent hiring and ways in which employers could ameliorate their exposure to liability concerns.
  • Mathew B. Hitt a certified public accountant described the significant government tax credits that are available to employers when hiring people with a criminal background; and
  • Amelia Lazarus, Esq. of the Homeless PersonAmelia Lazarus, Esq. of the Homeless Person’

If you would like to know more about this event or receive a copy of the material that was presented, please contact Gerald Ford 410-234-8931.


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JOTF & Baltimore CASH Campaign Co-Host Forum on Discrimination in Lending

Research shows that minority neighborhoods have much higher shares of subprime or high cost mortgage loans than comparable white neighborhoods. However, since the data reported by lenders do not include information on the credit risk of borrowers, it was unclear whether the disparity could be explained by differences in the credit profile of these neighborhoods.

On May 28th, JOTF and the Baltimore CASH Campaign co-hosted a forum to share new research on the issue. Dr. Christopher Herbert, a Senior Associate with Abt Associates Inc., presented the findings of a new study funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Dr. Herbert’s research used Experian data for 13 cities targeted by Casey Foundation initiatives (including Baltimore) to assess racial/ethnic disparities in mortgage lending while controlling for credit scores.

The goal of the analysis was to identify the extent of any racial disparities in local communities and to identify lenders that could be encouraged to increase the flow of lower cost mortgage credit in these areas. Advocates and researchers from around the area gathered at the Baltimore NeighborWorks America office to learn more about the findings, ask questions, and share thoughts on how to bring fairer, more affordable loan products into low-income and minority communities.

To learn more, contact Andrea Payne at 410-234-8303.


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Maryland Tax Credit for Employment of Ex-Offenders Now Available

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) has recently renewed the Maryland Long-Term Employment of Ex-Felons Tax Credit.

The credit is now available to Maryland businesses that hire a person who was convicted of a felony within one year of conviction or release, and employ them for at least one year. The credit can be claimed for an unlimited number of employees, and is worth up to $3,000 per employee over two years.

To learn more, contact David Ghee, DLLR’s Tax Credit Program Administrator, at (410) 767-2080.


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New York Times, "State Programs Add Safety Net for the Poorest" (05/12/2008)

Over the last two years, an emerging social experiment that tries to go beyond simply moving people off of welfare has been in practice across the country. In Arkansas, and nearly a dozen other states, officials have announced plans to extend the safety net, through monthly cash payments, to thousands of low-income workers struggling to gain a foothold in the work world.


Read "State Programs Add Safety Net for the Poorest" (05/12/2008)


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Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP) Releases Updated Report: "Low-Income Workers & Families Hardest Hit by Economic Decline Need Help Now " (05/05/2008)

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) updates its paper to reflect the newest data showing how American workers and families are being squeezed between a declining labor market and increasing costs for food, fuel, and other basic needs. This paper describes the economy's impact on vulnerable adults and youth, and lays out recommendations for action that can make a real difference in the lives of low-income workers and their families.

Read "Low-Income Workers & Families Hardest Hit by Economic Decline Need Help Now " (05/05/2008) in PDF format.

(Document in PDF format)


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JOTF to Host Lunchtime Presentation: "College Education as a Path Out of Poverty" (06/17/2008)

College Education as a Path Out of Poverty
The Workforce Development Role of Local Colleges, and the Barriers to Access & Success

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Baltimore World Trade Center
401 East Pratt Street
Maryland Room

Education and opportunity go hand in hand. While the knowledge economy absorbs Maryland’s most educated workers, those without any college experience are often left behind. Over 1.3 million working-age Marylanders lack a college degree, and more education could help many of them move into high-demand, better-paying jobs.

Local colleges strive to provide these opportunities to students from all backgrounds, but major barriers stand in the way. With rising tuition and limited need-based financial aid, cost is often a gatekeeper, particularly for working adults. Students who do enroll are often under-prepared, and struggle to move past remedial coursework.

Come to learn more about the workforce development role of local colleges, and to explore strategies for moving students more smoothly through the education pipeline and into the workforce. JOTF will share the findings of their latest Issue Brief, Patching the Leaky Pipeline: Helping Low-Skill Marylanders Access & Succeed in College, released as a part of the Working Poor Families Project.


Andrea Payne, Policy Analyst, Job Opportunities Task Force

Patricia Keeton, Executive Director of Workforce Development, Howard Community College

Donna McKusick, Dean of Developmental Education/Special Academic Programs
Community College of Baltimore County

There is no charge for this event. Lunch will be provided.
This event is sponsored by the Open Society Institute - Baltimore

Please RSVP to Jessica Traskey at (410) 234-8040 or jessica[at]jotf[dot]org


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Mortgage Matters: Free Workshops for Struggling Baltimore Homeowners (June/July 2008)

With the rising cost of living, more and more people are worried about paying their mortgage. Mortgage Matters, a free community workshop presented by the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition and sponsored by Baltimore Housing, can help you or the clients you serve learn more about what to do to manage a mortgage.

At Mortgage Matters, you’ll get the straight story from professionals who are trained to help homeowners understand their mortgages. Find out what to do if you’ve already missed a mortgage payment or think you might fall behind. Learn where to go – and not go – for free individual advice, and what you need to bring when you see a housing counselor. Hear how you can improve your chances for avoiding foreclosure and what to do if foreclosure seems inevitable.

Workshops will take place in Baltimore City at Pratt Library Branches throughout the summer. Download the flier to distribute to your clients, and for a full schedule or workshops: Mortgage Matters Flier.


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Primo Electric Company / Primenet Inc Job Opportunities (May 2008)

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 as of May 29, 2008.


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Newsletter Editor: Jessica Traskey
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