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 develop and advocate policies and programs that increase the marketable skills, income, and economic opportunities of low-skill, low-income workers and job seekers in Maryland. To achieve this vision, JOTF leverages its efforts in three core pillars:   policy and advocacy, research, and on-the-ground job skills training.

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 Abell Foundation, 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 Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project, among other private and government sources.

JOTF Board of Directors

Keith Stone (President)

Brown Advisory

Adam Abelson (Vice President)

Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP

Sisilia Mo (Treasurer)

Urban Teachers

Joanne Nathans (Secretary)


Jamar Brown

Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP

Susan K. Gauvey

United States District Court

Jean Lewis

Kramon & Graham, P.A.

Charlene Moore Hayes

CM Hayes, LLC

Thomasina L. Hiers

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Jamie McDonald

Generosity, Inc.

William H. "Billy" Murphy, Jr.

Murphy Falcon Murphy

Benjamin Seigel

Baltimore Development Corporation, Inc.

Melanie Styles

Abell Foundation

Terry Spencer (In Memoriam)

In Memoriam
9/29/1973 - 5/29/2019
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

JOTF Staff

Debra Carr

Chief Executive Officer

Monique Boyd

Chief Operating Officer

Jessica Traskey

Operations Manager

Kamau Bridges

Senior Policy Advocate

Ioana Stoica

Policy Advocate

Ahsanuzzaman, Ph.D.

Social Scientist


Programs Manager

Charles Harper

Case Manager
BetterU Construction Training


Case Manager
BetterU Construction Training

Stan Waring

Job Placement Coordinator
BetterU Construction Training

Featured Items

2023 Legislative Wrap-Up

  Policy Advocate Ioana Stoica joined the bill signing on April 24, 2023 for…

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Jobs & Economic Justice Advocacy Day

March 16, 2023 at 7:30 AM

Join the Job Opportunities Task Force and Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle for Jobs…

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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…

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JOTF Legislative Wrap-Up

JOTF advocates for legislative and budget proposals that improve the economic opportunities of Maryland's…

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

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

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From Our Blog
From Our Blog
May 15, 2023

JOTF’s Annual Brake Light Clinic & Resource Fair

JOTF is hosting its annual Brake Light Clinic and Resource Fair at the Baltimore Regional Skills Training Center in Park Heights! A broken taillight is one of the primary reasons for police stops in Baltimore City and the cause of… Read More

From Our Blog
JOTF in the Media
May 15, 2023
JOTF’s Annual Brake Light Clinic & Resource Fair
Mar 3, 2023
Jobs & Economic Justice Advocacy Day
Oct 17, 2022
Job Opportunities Task Force Names Debra Carr as New CEO