Press Release: Maryland Promise Initiative Is First To Reach 2,000 Youth Participants
Program Seeks To Prepare Students For Employment
For Immediate Release Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410.767.0486
Baltimore, MD (March 7, 2016)
The Maryland PROMISE initiative has announced that it has reached its recruitment goal of 2,000 enrolled youth in Maryland. Maryland PROMISE is the first of the six U.S. Department of Education grantees to achieve their recruitment goal. The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services is a partner.
Maryland was award the federal PROMISE grant in 2013. Its purpose is to improve services and supports for youth receiving Supplemental Security Income and their families in order to achieve improved educational outcomes, such as graduating from high school or completing postsecondary training.
“We know that evidence-based models for high-quality transition services provided through collaborative initiatives like PROMISE have a life-long positive impact on employment for students with disabilities,” said Marcella E. Franczkowski, Assistant State Superintendent of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.
Youth enrolled in Maryland PROMISE are participating in a federal study aimed at improving long-term employment outcomes for those at-risk for dependence on public benefit programs. About half of the enrolled youth receive enhanced services as part of the research study intervention group.
Maryland PROMISE is built on the strength and coordination of its partners. Led by the Maryland Department of Disabilities and in conjunction with MSDE -- along with the Developmental Disabilities Administration, Behavior Heath Administration, and Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation -- Maryland PROMISE offers career-related services to help youth recipients achieve better outcomes.
Through paid work-based experiences at local businesses, the youth are also given the opportunity to learn to be successful and contributing employees. To date, 318 youth representing every Maryland region have participated in summer employment. Both the families and youth receive counseling and financial education as part of services provided. Currently, 652 family plans have been completed and 93 family members have directly received support services from PROMISE staff. Through this holistic approach, the youth experience an environment conducive to success and a greater potential to gain skills necessary for competitive employment.
Pamela Corkran employed two PROMISE participants at her consignment shop, Too Good To Be Thru, in Baltimore last summer and noted she learned as much as the youth. Ms. Corkran indicated that while her teenage employees required guidance, they caught on quickly, were eager to learn, and brought a great deal of creativity to their positions at the store. She is hopeful the skills learned last summer will benefit them as they join the adult workforce.
“The Maryland PROMISE team had a vision for the initiative which relied on the Recruiters, Case Managers, and Family Employment Specialists having first-hand knowledge of the areas they serve--including the youth who live there and the businesses who are successful in those regions,” said Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol Beatty. “It is an immense credit to this team that they were able to achieve such lofty goals given them by the research project while still providing personal and attentive supports to the participants. We look forward to the outcomes of the study and the bright futures of the youth who utilize these services.”
Maryland PROMISE is looking for additional employers across the state in order to expand these offerings in the summer of 2016. Participants receive ongoing support from their Family Employment Specialists so they enter the experience ready to learn.
If you are an employer interested in participating in the Maryland PROMISE initiative, please contact the Maryland Department of Disabilities at 410-767-3660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Maryland PROMISE can be found at www.mdpromise.org.