Kelsey Greenwell honored by Tri-County Council meeting  workforce DevelopmentKelsey Greenwall (r) was honored by Tri-County Council for Southern MD by Workforce Development Director Ruthy Davis.

Waldorf, MD – “There is nothing that changes a person more than a good job!” That is how the impact of workforce development was emphasized. The speaker was Mary Ann Lawrence, CEO of PowerNotes, LLC, at the Thursday, Oct. 20 meeting of the Tri-County Council (TCC) for Southern Maryland. Lawrence is a consultant to the council on workforce development issues. She has 37 years of experience in the field.

Workforce development efforts in Southern Maryland include Job Source offices in all three counties and a mobile van that makes appearances at many local events. The TCC Workforce Development Director Ruthy Davis introduced Lawrence and presented four examples of individuals and businesses in the area that have successfully used the programs.

Lawrence noted that with the economy improving and the unemployment rate declining, federal monies are now focusing on the harder-to-place unemployed. They include those economically and physically disadvantaged, but also professionals laid off after years in their chosen field. The latter are displaced “through no fault of their own,” Lawrence said.

The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland is made of legislators, county commissioners and at-large members selected by each county. Lawrence said the elected officials played a big role in the workforce development effort through their financial support. She said it provided a big bang for the financial bucks.

Lawrence said the new initiative requires more work, and one-on-one counseling, than in the past. Staff duties includenot only getting clients ready for employment, but making certain the job they apply for provides a livable wage.

Davis reported on two local residents who have been recently assistanced by one one of the workforce development programs. Wesley Williams of St. Mary’s County was employed with a contractor at Patuxent River Naval Air Station when that contract was lost. Through the agency’s Job Match Reemployment Program he was able to find a new job with government contractor BAE.

Kelsey Greenwall, 22, of Charles County was a single mom who had a dream of becoming a nurse. The council’s workforce development programs helped her achieve her dream and she now has four nursing certifications and a good job

Davis also told of two businesses which have availed themselves of the council’s programs. A new company in the area, Cloud Technologies, secured a contract with MetroCast Communications in St. Mary’s County and literally had no workers to accomplish the task. The workforce development office helped the business find five workers who are now on the job.

Davis also said that the Human Resources Director of Wyle, a St. Mary’s County defense contractor, had been complementary of the agency’s assistance in finding workers to fill job openings.

During the meeting, the council heard a presentation of rural preservation efforts through the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission (SMADC), which is part of the council, Commission Vice Chair Yates Claggett owns a 300-acre Prince George’s County farm that has successfully converted from tobacco to cattle with the assistance of tobacco buyout monies administered by SMADC.

Claggett said that 39,000 acres of Southern Maryland rural land has been put under land preservation through several programs with monies from the tobacco settlement, including one that involved a 50/50 match from the Southern Maryland cohunes.

However, Claggett said that the promised five percent of the settlement that was intended to be diverted to help the farmers transition from tobacco are in jeopardy of being diverted to other programs.

The discussion led to a back and forth between Delegates Deb Rey (R-29C) and Mark Fisher (R-27C).

Rey from St. Mary’s County insisted that the monies provided by the counties as a match should be returned to the taxpayers out of the tobacco settlement funds.

Fisher from Calvert County argued that the land preservation programs had been successful and fiscally responsible. But he criticized the tobacco restitution program fir reneging on its promises to the agriculture community. “The money didn’t flow as promised to the farmers,” he said.

It was also announced that a new committee was being formed to deal with bicycle trails in southern Maryland. In addition, Chair Charles County Commissioner Debra Davis announced that a monthly newsletter was being emailed out to members and other interested parties. The newsletter is developed by Council Executive Director John Hartline.

The regular quarterly dinner meeting was held at Middleton Hall in Waldorf.

Contact Dick Myers at