The New Year brings new possibilities for those who earn minimum wage in Maryland. As the founder of Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF), Walkiria Pool, expressed her excitement to ABC 7 News, “I’m very excited, especially for blue-collar workers, who unfortunately are very underpaid.” Starting in 2024, those working in Maryland in businesses with fewer than 15 employees will see their hourly wage jump from $12.80 an hour to $15 an hour. This increase is a significant step towards correcting a historical injustice. 

Walkiria Pool, who runs the Family Support Center, a Prince George’s County-based nonprofit that helps residents of under-resourced communities, firmly believes that raising the minimum wage will help families cope with rising inflation. However, she also emphasizes the importance of investing more in job training and rental assistance to make a real difference in the long run. “We see a lot of families struggling to pay their mortgages, their rents. We see a lot of people saying that any little bit of help will have a big impact on our community,” Pool added.

According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, Maryland will join 21 other states in raising its minimum wage by the first of the year, increasing the wages of nearly 10 million workers nationwide. Nearly half – 47% of those who will receive a pay raise starting Jan. 1 – live well below the poverty line. As we welcome this change, we also acknowledge the ongoing efforts needed to uplift our communities and ensure a fair wage for all.

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