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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 31
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
AUGUSTA--Workforce development funds must become part of a larger strategy of economic development and job creation, and the plan submitted Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Labor by the LePage Administration seeks to make that happen.
Gov. Paul LePage has placed a priority on getting Maine citizens back to work and using federal training funds to train workers for jobs in demand. The State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) has reviewed the current system and determined that a restructuring of Maine’s workforce development system is required to increase the skills of our workforce and make it more responsive to Maine’s business community.
The plan uses the current Workforce Investment Act’s funding formula, meaning that the training dollars designated for each county will remain the same, but enhances Maine’s ability to apply for grants for additional funding to support specific types of training. It sets benchmarks and incentivizes saving on administrative costs to increase the amount of money put into job-specific skills training.
The new, more responsive system will better represent and address emerging workforce needs. To facilitate local input, the SWIB will contract with the Chambers of Commerce across the state in eight economic regions (the same regions currently used by the chambers) to facilitate communication with the business community at the local level. This will foster a stronger connection to the private sector and local economic development activity. The chambers, as well as workforce training-related organizations throughout the state, have been involved in the plan’s development.
The plan, along with an executive summary, is available on the State Workforce Investment Board website, http://www.maine.gov/swib/wia_plan.html . The U.S. Department of Labor has 90 days in which to respond.