The federal government has approved Maryland’s 2020-2024 State Workforce Plan, the state’s Labor Secretary, Tiffany Robinson, said Friday.

“Through shared goals and a strong collaboration with our government, business, economic development, education, and community partners, Maryland has crafted a plan that ensures our state’s jobseekers and businesses are at the center of our workforce system,” Robinson said in a statement. “By integrating and aligning the resources of multiple state programs, the job seekers and businesses that are so vital to Maryland’s economic growth and prosperity can easily access the services they need to reach their goals.”

The plan is the product a partnership between several state agencies such as the Department of Labor, Department of Human Services and the Department of Education. It is designed to make it easier for the state to help connect businesses with the employees that they need. A federal law passed in 2014 requires that every state develop a 4-year work plan. The workforce plan approved today is Maryland’s second.

State officials officials touted the newly-approved plan.

“Unemployment is often part of a larger picture of cyclical poverty that can be challenging to interrupt,” said DHS Secretary Lourdes Padilla said in a statement. “Through our Two-Generational approach and our partnership in the state’s workforce system, we are shifting the paradigm for service-delivery statewide, paving the way for programs and services that address the needs of the entire family at once, instead of serving parents and children individually through different departments.”

“The 2020 – 2024 State Workforce Plan holds great promise for the consumers we serve,” State School Superintendent Karen Salmon said in a statement. “We are particularly excited about new opportunities to work with the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training program to connect individuals with disabilities to Pre-Apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships.”

“Unemployment and housing stability are closely linked,” Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt said in a statement. “Our sphere of expertise is housing, but we know that individuals who struggle with housing instability or homelessness often face a complex web of issues. The close collaboration of our agency with other partner programs in the state’s workforce system is allowing us to connect our clients with services that will help them address barriers to employment, secure sustainable career opportunities, and build stable lives.”

“The full impact of COVID-19 may be difficult to predict, but one thing is clear: this crisis has fundamentally altered the business landscape, and Maryland’s workforce system will be an essential ingredient in the state’s economic recovery,” Governor’s Workforce Development Board Chair Louis Dubin said in a statement. “With the 2020 – 2024 State Workforce Plan in place, employers can be confident that the state’s workforce system is prepared to support the success of Maryland’s business community.”

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