Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation Presents New Pathways for Workforce Development

Lunch & Learn DSCI Presentation



The Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation will unveil new programs designed to allow young people to both serve and earn a living wage at a public presentation on Feb. 21 from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.

The Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration (SERVE) Act established the Department of Service and Civic Innovation in Maryland, the nation’s first public service-year program for high school graduates. This program is designed to help develop the region’s workforce through public service, allowing young people to both serve and earn a living wage.

Hosted by the Talbot Family Network in collaboration with the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the presentation will showcase innovative initiatives such as the Service Year Option and Maryland Corps. These programs offer dynamic pathways for Marylanders ages 18 years and older to join forces, serving together while honing skills that our communities truly need.

“These pathways provide Marylanders with a unique opportunity to serve collaboratively, fostering skill development that aligns with the evolving needs of our communities,” says Cassandra Vanhooser, the director of Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism.

Professional development, continuous learning, and community building are at the core of both programs, which are aimed at creating a more connected and competitive Maryland. By partnering with employers, both programs offer not just a job but an experience.

The Service Year Option targets young adults who have recently completed high school. Participants will embark on a journey of skill development through service placements aligned with their interests. Support coaches will guide them in refining their post-service plans, whether it involves college, a career, or continued service. Participants will earn a minimum of $15 an hour, working at least 30 hours a week.

For individuals of all ages, the Maryland Corps offers a similar opportunity for service. Members will also earn a minimum of $15 an hour while working in organizations providing job training and professional development. Partnerships with Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and community colleges enhance collaboration and support, aligning with skilled trades and apprenticeship programs for a seamless transition into continued education or the workforce.

Upon successful completion of their service year, participants from both programs will receive a completion award of $6,000 in direct payment or as a deposit into a Maryland 529 Education Account.

Nancy Andrew, director of Talbot Family Network, expresses enthusiasm for increased engagement. “After witnessing the impactful contributions and success of the pilot cohort, we are thrilled to encourage more employers and workforce members on the Shore to consider these transformative programs,” she says.

Eligible employers, including nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses, stand to benefit from grants covering wage costs during the 9-month employment period for each program.

Employers eager to learn more are urged to attend the presentation, where detailed insights will be provided. To register for the event, go to  or email

This presentation marks a significant milestone in reshaping Maryland’s workforce landscape. Join us on February 21, 2024, as we embark on this transformative journey together. Your participation is not just encouraged, it’s the key to unlocking a brighter future for our community.


About Talbot Family Network

The Talbot Family Network’s mission is to identify and develop support systems for a safe, healthy, caring, and equitable community for all Talbot County children and families through collaboration with public and private entities. Talbot Family Network is the Local Management Board for Talbot County and receives an annual allocation of funding from Maryland’s Children’s Cabinet. More is at



About Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism

The Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s mission is to enhance and promote a business-friendly environment for current and prospective enterprises and to advocate for policies that support and strengthen the economic vitality of Talbot County. The department’s vision for Talbot County is built on the principles of strong communities, empowered businesses, and innovative solutions.

Never Miss Talbot County Business News: Subscribe to Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism’s Talbot Works newsletter here.