July 8, 2014
For Immediate Release: July 8, 2014 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Maine one of only eight states to meet targets
AUGUSTA—The Maine Departments of Education and Labor and the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) have been awarded a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Incentive Grant of $819,433 based on performance in federal Program Year 12 (July 2012 through June 2013). Only eight states met their objectives and earned such a grant. Maine last qualified for an incentive grant 12 years ago.
The award is based on the performance of all of the statewide Adult Education Programs and all of the partners in the workforce development system, specifically the Department of Labor and its CareerCenters and the service providers that work through the CareerCenter system and the Local Workforce Investment Boards. The service providers are Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Aroostook County Action Program, Western Maine Community Action and Eastern Maine Development Corporation.
“I have made it a priority to implement reforms in our systems that result in better outcomes for our citizens,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Giving Mainers the tools to enter a good-paying career should be the focus of our training and adult education dollars. This grant recognizes the progress we have made toward meeting that goal, but we have more work to do.”
The performance-related goals used to determine a state’s eligibility status included employment after training and related services, retention in employment and improvements in literacy levels and other measures. After review of the performance data submitted by states to USDOL and the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), USDOL and USDOE each determined which states exceeded their performance levels for its respective program(s). States that exceeded performance levels for both programs were deemed eligible to apply for and receive an incentive grant award.
“The Governor’s leadership was key to driving system improvements,” said Fred Webber, chairman of the State Workforce Investment Board. “The SWIB, under his guidance, provided policy and performance oversight. The work was carried out by our system partners—Local Workforce Investment Boards and service providers—as well as the staff of the Bureau of Employment Services in the Department of Labor and Adult Ed in the Department of Education.”
Commissioner Jeanne Paquette noted, “Our staff focused on managing the performance of the systems. This is a team effort, and it is paying off in increased investment in job training and implementing adult education best practices to the benefit of Maine’s citizens.”
Commissioner of Education James Rier stated, “We have worked hard to meet literacy goals and to collaborate with the Department of Labor and the State Workforce Investment Board to make Maine’s workforce development system the best it can be. These funds will be used to continue that alignment through competitive grants that focus on collaboration, innovation and best practices.”
Both MDOL and MDOE collaborated on the proposal that was approved by USDOL. The state will use the grant to fund industry partnership activities, recently articulated in the WIA State Plan, and adult literacy. The grant will be awarded statewide to successful sub-grantee applicants through a competitive grant program that is investment oriented and demand driven.
“With Adult Education in DOE providing academic instruction and DOL administering the regional competitive grant and providing data analysis and technical assistance to applicants, we expect to see improved training outcomes with industry-recognized credentials, as well as increases in adult literacy and numeracy and increased wages for trainees,” said Webber.
The grant aims to improve alignment between the workforce development and education systems—all goals of Maine’s current WIA State Plan—with 75 percent of the incentive funds going towards training. The remaining 25 percent will be used for the grant’s project performance and administration. The state has two years to spend the funds (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016). Information on the regional grant opportunities will be available in fall 2014.