Senator Benson Visits KRA Program

Responding to a special invitation from Ricardo Washington, KRA Instructor, on October 18, 2012, Senator Joanne Benson (D – Maryland 24th District) took time from her busy schedule to visit the KRA/PGWorks office in Temple Hills to speak with jobseeker-customers receiving NPEP and TCA* benefits.  As part of the KRA Workforce Development curriculum, which is a collaborative effort that brings together leaders from the community, the business sector, and local government, the Senator discussed with the students the economic impact of Federal regulations on businesses, and how they affected job creation in Maryland. 

Senator Benson, who has been a Member of the Maryland Senate since January 12, 2011, also shared with the students her personal experiences as an educator (retired) with the Prince George’s County Public School System (PGCPSS), as a civil servant, and as a Legislator.  She eagerly answered questions posed by the students on job creation, partnerships with government agencies and local small businesses, her views on using KRA/PGWorks’ program participants as a source for job applicants, and the possibilities of enhanced training programs.    

Washington reported, “When I considered a guest speaker for our students, my mind went immediately to Senator Benson.  I know for a fact that she has applied her extraordinary knowledge and expertise to dozens of State Committees, Sub-committees, and Task Forces on issues close to the heart of KRA’s Workforce Development operations, including education; youth and families; welfare reform; and the disabled, ex-prison, and veteran populations.  Senator Benson’s speech was inspiring and motivating for all in the class, but one student sent me an e-mail, which I am sure echoes the sentiments of her fellow classmates: ‘I wanted to thank you for inviting Senator Benson to come and speak to us.  It was very interesting hearing her story, and was really motivating to hear someone in her position tell of her struggles. I am 45 years old, never met a State Senator, and never would have thought to meet one in a welfare class’.”     

* Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program and Temporary Cash Assistance. 

Senator Benson

 More about Senator Benson: Born in Roanoke, Virginia, but relocated to Maryland where she graduated from South   Hagerstown High School.  Also, Senator Benson graduated from Bowie State College, with a BS in Education, and Catholic University of America, with an MA in Curriculum Instruction.  She has served as a Board Member, Coalition of Economic Development; and Member, Coalition of 100 Black Women, Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, Maryland State Teachers Association (MSTA), and the National Education Association.  Senator Benson is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including Outstanding and Dedicated Services to Children and Youth; Outstanding Minority Leadership; Outstanding Educator, PGCPSS; For Love of Children, Kiwanis Club of Capitol Centre; Outstanding Community Service, Las Amigas; Citizen of the Year, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Community Service, J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association; and Outstanding Minority Educator, MSTA Minority Caucus.