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Partnering to Empower the Maryland Workforce
Featuring The Maryland Department of Labor
At The DeBruce Foundation, we build partnerships to expand career pathways. Some of our partnerships create access to our Career Literacy resources to help states strengthen their workforce initiatives. You may have already read about the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s partnership with The DeBruce Foundation as they relaunched the Indiana Career Explorer, a free education and career planning tool designed to empower the Indiana economy.
The DeBruce Foundation recently entered a partnership with the state of Maryland as well. The Maryland Department of Labor (MD Labor) was initially introduced to The DeBruce Foundation when renowned TED Talks presenter, Patti Dobrowolski, and DeBruce Foundation Integration and Training Manager, Cindy Schluckebier, delivered a “Draw Your Future with Agilities” training to MD Labor reemployment staff. MD Labor staff interested in learning how the Agilities© training program could help Maryland jobseekers traveled to our office in Kansas City, MO to complete training to become Certified Agility Coaches. This past spring, The DeBruce Foundation delivered onsite training to 40 reemployment staff. Now, MD Labor’s Professional Outplacement Assistance Center is delivering a monthly statewide Agilities workshop and is integrating the Agile Work Profiler© (AWP) and related Agilities resources into reemployment services and one-on-one counseling sessions offered to jobseekers throughout the state. By fall 2023, several American Job Centers (AJCs) located across the state will conduct monthly Agilities Workshop for job seekers!
The Agilities workshop typically lasts from two to three hours and includes resources from The DeBruce Foundation’s Agile Work Profiler, Career Explorer Tools, and interview prep and résumé building with Agilities. These activities have already created a lasting impact on attendees when it comes to improving Career Literacy and expanding career pathways.
Suja Joseph, Director of Statewide Reemployment Programs in MD Labor’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, emphasizes how the AWP provides unique value:
“The fact that we are not limiting job seekers. The fact that we can pour hope, [and] confidence, show[ing] them what their value is. I don’t get that from any other assessment tool. This… gives me hope. It’s like igniting the fire from within. If they go into an interview and they know their worth, it’s going to be an entirely different and positive outcome for them.”
These workshops not only enhance Career Literacy for individuals, but they also provide greater opportunities for Employment Empowerment:
“As a RESEA facilitator for MD Labor, I recommend the AWP to my customers who are questioning their next career move and customers who are unsure of what their work skills are or how to describe them. I have had customers say they were surprised by their results and found them insightful, useful and a boost to their confidence, something that is commonly lacking when a person has become unemployed.” – Amy Trumpower, a RESEA facilitator for MD DOL.
“The AWP & Agilities.org tools have allowed our clients to explore themselves and apply their ranked Agilities to a successful job search effort. These resources are helping them to more accurately and descriptively represent their strengths and interests. Our clients have been in awe with what they learned about themselves. They leave the workshops feeling motivated and invigorated.” – Gayle Howe, facilitator, Southern Maryland.
In the first few months of its incorporation at MD Labor, the Agile Work Profiler and The DeBruce Foundation’s other Career Literacy tools received very positive feedback from not only those providing the resources, but individuals utilizing them:
“This session was well-organized and informative. It helped me to think more about how I can better map and communicate my value going forward. The handouts/guides are now ‘reference material for me.’ It was also nice to hear from some very accomplished participants! I don’t feel so alone…. Thank you.” – participant from the June 2023 training.
The DeBruce Foundation’s partnership with the MD Labor is helping expand career pathways and Employment Empowerment across the state. With 32 AJCs across the state, each containing at least one Agility Coach, these Agilities Workshops are helping job seekers navigate an often overwhelming job search process in a way that boosts their confidence and Career Literacy. We look forward to scaling this impact with Maryland’s workforce system to help more individuals become Employment Empowered.