Experts Explore Innovation and Best Practices in Hiring at #MACoCon

At the 2022 MACo Summer Conference, an expert panel discussed innovative and creative strategies for local governments to hire while faced with a challenging workforce. 

In the first part of a two-part series, at the 2022 MACo Summer Conference, experts and human resource professionals discussed best practices for tapping into new markets of employees and rethinking “traditional” qualifications, including considering skills and lived experience over degrees and years served.

During the session, participants learned about innovative hiring practices to bypass workforce roadblocks and to cultivate a new pool of diverse candidates.

Panel speakers included:

  • Alexis Blackwell, Director of Human Resources, Charles County
  • Walter Simmons, President and CEO, Employ Prince George’s
  • Jason Perkins-Cohen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, Baltimore City
  • Janet Lane, Director of Reentry Services, Maryland Correctional Enterprises


  • The Honorable Delegate Darryl Barnes

A universal lesson from the session was that “we need to have post-global pandemic strategies for hiring,” and that “we can’t do what we’ve always been doing!” However, with new strategies, we do have existing tools that we can leverage and evolve to meet the moment.

Additional key takeaways from panelists to help local governments get over the hiring slump included:

  • Extending your talent pool search to include new groups, like returning citizens, over 50 and retirees, in-school youth, and non-degree holders that offer other skills and experiences;
  • Retooling existing resources to reach new talent pools, including marketing and branding of positions; and
  • Rethinking qualifications to allow for flexibility and consideration of creative skills and experiences.

The session was held on August 19, 2022, at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.

More about MACo’s Summer Conference: