Maryland Works Honors Six Award Recipients at the Twelfth Annual Employment Awards


Maryland Works, Inc. is pleased to announce that six award recipients were honored at its 12th Annual Employment Awards Luncheon on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel.


The Employment Awards honored individuals that have achieved their career goals regardless of having a disability, workforce professionals who have made a significant contribution in the employment of people with disabilities, transition professionals, business owners with a disability, employers and community service providers that advocate and expand skills training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.


More than 250 attendees were inspired by the keynote address of The Honorable Tiffany Robinson, Maryland Secretary of Labor who gave a passionate and inspiring address on her vision for increasing employment for people with disabilities by providing job skills training through the Labor Department’s apprenticeship program and partnering with the Maryland Department of Disabilities and Maryland Works to increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Justin Schlegel from 98 Rock was the Master of Ceremonies and special remarks were given by The Honorable Carol Beatty, Secretary, Maryland Department of Disabilities and welcoming remarks were given by Marsha Legg, Chairperson, Maryland Works Board of Directors.


The Employment Awards were presented by The Honorable Tiffany Robinson, Secretary, of Labor, The Honorable Carol Beatty, Secretary, Maryland Department of Disabilities, Scott Dennis, Assistant Superintendent, DORS, Marsha Legg, Chairperson, Maryland Work Board of Directors and Bob Hofmann, President & CEO, Maryland Works, Inc. The program’s Master of Ceremonies was Justin Schlegel, 98 Rock Radio Personality.


Awards were presented to the following individuals: 

Employee of the Year
Elizabeth Partridge - Benedictine

Workforce Professional of the Year
Davis Lee Fowlkes - Alliance


Employer of the Year

Stella Maris, Inc.


Provider of the Year
Appalachian Crossroads


Business Owner of the Year

Floyd Lyles 0 Lyles Services, LLC


Transition Professional of the Year

Karen Morgret – The Treatment & Learning Center

Sponsors for the event include: Gold – Chimes, Inc; Silver – The Arc Baltimore, Alliance, Benedictine , Center for Social Change, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS),  HNB Services, LLC.,  Humanim, The League for People with Disabilities, M&T Bank, NCIA, St. Peter's Adult Learning Center, The Rock Creek Foundation; Bronze – The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, Melwood, Penn-Mar Human Services, The Treatment & Learning Center.


Rutherford's Mental Health Commission Hosts Meeting In Hagerstown

Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford wanted to hear about mental health care in a recent visit to Washington County. Rutherford is head of a commission that is studying challenges such as the public’s ability to get adequate information about mental health care in the state. There are also problems such as a lack of psychiatrists and psychologists, state officials said.

Rutherford’s Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health hosted a western regional meeting at Hagerstown Community College on Wednesday, which gave the public a chance to testify about mental health issues. A variety of professionals were sitting at the commission table, including those representing the Maryland General Assembly, Maryland State Police, state prisons, and other state agencies and organizations.

Rutherford said Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this year signed an executive order creating the commission, which will give recommendations to Hogan about the delivery of mental health care in the state.

Christian Miele of the Maryland Department of Disabilities talked about information that is available about mental health care services in the state. There are various websites about mental health care in the state, Miele said. But the information is disjointed, and people have trouble determining where to look for help, Miele said.

Rutherford said he used to view opioid abuse and mental disorders as separate. But he now sees them as connected the more he studies the issues. Left undiagnosed, mental illness can lead to homelessness, joblessness and suicide, Rutherford said.

Source: Herald Media


State Workforce Shortage Lead to Dangerous Conditions

The shortage of 2,000 state employees in critical places like prisons and psychiatric hospitals is leading to unmanageable workloads and dangerous working conditions, members of the state’s largest employee union (AFSCME) told lawmakers last week. A briefing about staffing shortages for members of the House Appropriations and Senate Budget & Taxation committees last week was prompted, in part, by recent violent incidents, lawmakers said. But the issue is one that has been building for several years.

In January, there were about 1,970 vacancies or unfilled positions among correctional officers, the Department of State Police, Department of Juvenile Services and Department of Health, according to a staffing adequacy study by the Department of Legislative Services. Overall, legislative analysts concluded that 1,126 more positions are needed in state government agencies and 1,505 positions that are vacant should be filled to meet staffing goals.

Maryland Budget Secretary David R. Brinkley said the average vacancy rate for state government employees is 11.8 percent, a figure that has been on the increase for the last decade, particularly for certain jobs in specific agencies.

Health Secretary Robert R. Neall said his agency is holding weekly conference calls about staffing levels and concerns about safety. The department has also recently worked to move violent patients out of less-secure facilities and to the state’s maximum-security psychiatric facility, Clifton T. Perkins Hospital. Since May, there has been a 36 percent reduction in vacancies at the state’s five psychiatric hospitals and two mental health residential treatment facilities for adolescents, Neall said.

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Robert Green, who has been in the position for about six months, said he understands and fully embraces the urgency of the understaffing issue. He estimated that the state needs to fill about 1,200 correctional officer positions. So far this year, the department has hired 538 new employees, including 231 correctional officers. Another 257 people are going through the application process to become correctional officers, Green said. The department has streamlined the hiring process and has given dozens of conditional hiring offers at job events. The Hogan administration raised the starting salary for new correctional officers to $42,013.

AFSCME members urged the committee to pursue additional hiring and retention incentives, including an expansion of the student loan forgiveness program Hogan launched last year, updated job descriptions, and increased salaries ― for new hires and long-term state employees.

Source and Excerpts: MarylandMatters


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