Governor Proposes Reforms to Job Training Programs Bookmark and Share

February 3, 2012

Maine Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass discusses Governor LePage's job training plan Maine Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass discusses Governor LePage's job training plan

Augusta - In an effort to improve employment outcomes and financial accountability for approximately $20 million in state and federal job training dollars spent each year in Maine, members of Governor LePage’s State Workforce Investment Board are considering a number of significant reforms to the state workforce system.

At a meeting of chamber of commerce executives from around the state this week, the Governor shared his plan to restructure how training funds are distributed in the state and realign training priorities so that workers have skills for careers in demand by Maine employers.

The Governor outlined his vision for engaging business and industry in workforce development. “We need to bring job creators into the conversation,” he said. “Through industry partnership, they will have a say in identifying skill gaps in the workforce, prioritizing training initiatives and developing defined career ladders where workers can build on prior skills and new learning to advance in their jobs.”

Eight local workforce areas are defined in the new plan, up from the four workforce areas currently in place now. The new model will be aligned closer with regional chamber of commerce areas allowing the workforce system to be more responsive to the unique challenges and opportunities in different local economies around the state.

Administration of training funds, currently split between four Local Workforce Investment Boards, will be centralized to a single State Workforce Investment Board under the proposal.

“My plan puts more funding directly into training that helps workers get better jobs and careers,” Governor LePage said.

The proposal also calls for additional performance based standards to evaluate performance of workforce programs. The measures will look at return on investment for taxpayers and participants, employer market share, and repeat business customers.

Fred Webber, State Workforce Investment Board chair said the proposal comes at a critical time for Maine workers and employers.

“There are thousands of jobs going unfilled in Maine because of a skills mismatch in our workforce,” he said. “Governor LePage’s plan targets our training resources so that Maine people get the skills they need to be successful in the job market and Maine businesses have a talented workforce that can help them be competitive in a global economy.”

For more information on the State Workforce Investment Board and Governor LePage’s proposed workforce training reforms, call (207) 621-5087 or email swib@maine.gov.

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