We Transform Obstacles into Opportunities for Maryland’s Workforce

The road to meaningful employment is fraught with obstacles. When one seems to be conquered, another appears in its place.

This is the incessant struggle for the low-wage, low-skill workers in Maryland’s communities.

Each day, JOTF works relentlessly to eliminate those obstacles to meaningful, stable employment through investments in adult education and skills training, effective policy reform advocacy, and cutting-edge research.

By doing so, we’re able to consistently help low-wage workers advance to high-paying jobs and create paths for workers from every possible background to thrive and prosper.

Our Mission

To develop and advocate policies and programs to increase the skills, job opportunities, and incomes of low wage workers and job seekers in Maryland.

Our Leadership

JOTF is powered by passionate, purpose-driven people who know a better future can only come through better opportunities. Meet our leadership team and learn about their contributions to the JOTF mission and commitment to Maryland’s workforce.

Our History

Since 1996, JOTF has worked to help low-wage workers gain access to high-paying jobs. Learn more about how we got started, our programmatic efforts in skills training, our robust policy advocacy and research, and the generous financial supporters that support our work statewide.

Our Vision

JOTF envisions a region and a state that offer educational and employment opportunities for all individuals to develop their abilities, find employment, and be economically self-reliant.

Our Values

A healthy economy requires a commitment to improving conditions and outcomes for communities by addressing the challenges of all workers and job seekers. The following values are the core of a thriving community:

  • Respect for communities: through outreach and collaboration, understand their needs and strengthen their voice to achieve effective solutions;
  • Understanding the workforce needs of employers: through communication and partnerships, be responsive to their workforce needs in an effort to develop pipelines for employment;
  • Inclusion: through the application and promotion of a racial equity lens in every facet of life, particularly the workplace;
  • Education: to increase awareness of issues and potential solutions for businesses, policymakers, community members and leaders, and key stakeholders;
  • Research and analysis: to ensure accuracy and integrity of systems and solutions.
  • Accountability: to monitor public and private policies as a means of holding systems and parties accountable for results; and,
  • Advocacy: to engage and empower impacted communities to bring needed change.

Our Funding

JOTF is supported by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Fund for Change, the David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, Open Society Institute – Baltimore, the Alvin and Fanny Blaustein Thalheimer Foundation, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project, among other private donors.

JOTF Board of Directors

Thomasina L. Hiers (President)

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Melanie Styles (Vice President)

Abell Foundation

Terry Spencer (Treasurer)

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Susan K. Gauvey (Secretary)

Retired United States Magistrate Judge

Adam Abelson

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Jason Frank

Frank, Frank & Scherr, LLC

Jean Lewis

Kramon & Graham, P.A.

Sisilia Mo

SB & Company, LLC

Joanne Nathans

Founder, Job Opportunities Task Force

Dr. Timothy Nelson

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Keith Stone

Brown Advisory

JOTF Staff

Caryn York

Executive Director

Rae Gallagher

Deputy Director

Nikki Thompson

Senior Policy Advocate

Matt Stubbs

Program Manager, JumpStart

Jessica Traskey

Office Manager

Brenda Badger

Financial Case Manager, JumpStart

Sasha D. Marcus

Case Manager, Project JumpStart

Lee Domeika

Policy Advocate

Featured Items

The Criminalization of Poverty: How to Break the Cycle Through Policy Reform in Maryland

In August 2016, the United States Department of Justice issued a report following its…

Read More

JOTF Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2018 Maryland General Assembly came and went with full force during this election year,…

Read More

Priced Out: Making College More Affordable for Low-Income Marylanders

By 2025, Maryland leaders want to ensure that at least 55 percent of state…

Read More
From Our Blog
From Our Blog
Aug 6, 2018

It’s Expensive to be Poor, and in Maryland, it’s also a Crime

Poverty, not crime, drags an astounding amount of Marylanders into the criminal justice system. Whether it be through debt, lack of access to resources, income volatility, or a combination of each, our poorest communities are caught in a cycle of… Read More

From Our Blog
JOTF in the Media
Apr 3, 2018
Guest Opinion: Comprehensive crime bill will take us back decades

Maryland Reporter

Feb 22, 2018
Project JumpStart Saving Baltimore Lives By Teaching Trades

WJZ Baltimore

Dec 9, 2017
To stem Baltimore crime, invest in jobs

Baltimore Sun