Attract New Talent Mini-Grants

DECD awarded mini-grants to 14 organizations supporting the Attract New Talent Strategy implementation of the 10-Year Statewide Strategic Plan, focusing on two elements of the Strategy: B2 – The “Welcome Home” concept of providing a marketing focus and associated resources for families and skilled workers moving to Maine and on B5 – promoting quality of place.

Awards focused on one or more of the following targets – demographic, geographic, or strategic:

  1. Demographic focus: separating military and/or BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) professionals – these projects focus on tactics for making Maine a more welcoming place for veteran and/or BIPOC individuals and families;
  2. Geographic focus: rural communities – these projects focus on tactics for attracting and retaining diverse talent in Maine’s rural areas;
  3. Strategic focus: “if you can see it, you can be it” – these projects focus on tactics to raise awareness of what is available for working in Maine.

Following are recipients (in alpha order) of these one-time funding awards of $4,750 per organization intended to jump start nascent efforts or scale ongoing efforts.

Associated General Contractors of Maine (AGC Maine) is Maine’s largest construction trade association with the goal of preserving existing jobs and developing qualified and skilled workers to replace the current generation as they retire. This mini-grant will support AGC Maine’s efforts to certify their crane operator credentialing program with the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Veteran’s Administration, and as a national DoD SkillBridge program, as well as their targeted promotion of career and training opportunities to separating service members at east coast military bases.



AK Health and Social Services is an immigrant- and BIPOC-led organization that provides social and economic support to new Mainer communities including recent immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, most of whom identify as Black or African. This mini-grant will support AK Health and Social Services’ workforce development, training and education, and collaborative strategies aimed at creating economic opportunity for immigrant and BIPOC individuals and business owners in Maine.


Black Owned Maine is a BIPOC-led organization that aims to rebrand Maine as a warm, inviting home to black entrepreneurs, land and homeowners, tourists, and cultural influencers. Black Owned Maine worked with Providentia Group to develop One Maine Group (OMG), a strategic partnership to cultivate Black economic agency and power in Maine. This mini-grant will support OMG’s 2021 programming, including a business incubator program and associated marketing initiative to support Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Maine, as well as a marketing campaign to promote Maine as a quality of place for Black people.


Boots2Roots is a veteran-led organization with the mission of helping active duty military members transition to meaningful work in Maine while providing a pipeline of military talent for Maine employers. This mini-grant will support Boots2Roots’ efforts to attract 100 military members to commit to living and working in Maine in 2021 through their strategies that include free resume, interview, and career coaching to transitioning service members, as well as connecting these service members to networks of military peer mentors, businesses, and veteran service organizations in Maine.



Destination Occupation’s mission is to educate students, job seekers, and the people who connect them (educators and workforce agencies) about career opportunities in Maine. This mini-grant will support Destination Occupation’s social media marketing campaigns to attract Mainers and out-of-state individuals to the manufacturing career opportunities on their website, as well as to recruit economically disadvantaged individuals into its Certified Manufacturing Associate training course and to connect them to manufacturing job opportunities.



Ellsworth Business Development Corporation (EBDC) works to promote economic and workforce development in the City of Ellsworth, located in rural Maine. This mini-grant will support EBDC’s creation of a website that highlights Ellsworth’s employment opportunities, housing availability, and quality of life attributes in order to attract and retain talent in the city and surrounding region.


Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) provides workforce development services to job seekers in Eastern Maine and works with the Maine Multicultural Center to promote Eastern Maine as a welcoming place for immigrant and BIPOC people. This mini-grant will support EMDC’s outreach efforts to connect new Mainers with people of their cultural or ethnic backgrounds in Eastern Maine; to work with businesses in the region to increase their awareness about cultural sensitivity and humility and to enhance interviewing and hiring practices; and to inform job seekers of employment and training opportunities in the region. EMDC will also target outreach and integration efforts to veterans relocating to Eastern Maine.


Greenlight Maine provides television programming that highlights Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This mini-grant will support Greenlight Maine’s “Elevating Voices” series featuring 12 BIPOC-led companies and its “Greenlight Maine” and “College Edition” series that feature businesses and student entrepreneurs competing for cash prizes to invest in their companies.



Indigo Arts Alliance is a BIPOC-led organization that supports the growth and amplification of Black and Brown artists in Maine. This mini-grant will support Indigo Arts Alliance’s programming development and community engagement associated with its Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival 2021, a month-and-a-half-long event focused on creating, supporting, and expanding visibility, representation, and opportunities for BIPOC individuals, families, and communities in Maine.



Maine Outdoor Brands is an alliance of 125 outdoor product and service companies united in their desire to strengthen Maine’s $3 billion outdoor recreation economy. This mini-grant will support Maine Outdoor Brand’s creation of career profiles and pathways of at least six individuals working for outdoor companies in Maine, including representation from BIPOC and veteran communities, in order to attract more talent to Maine’s outdoor industry. Funding will also support Maine Outdoor Brand’s partnership with Basecamp Outdoor, a national online jobs and career exposure platform for the outdoor industry that will be used to highlight career opportunities and companies in Maine’s outdoor industry.



Military Talent Source is a veteran-led organization that works with military bases and transition counselors throughout the U.S. to recruit talent and match separating military members to career opportunities in Maine. This mini-grant will support Military Talent Source’s marketing and advertising efforts, including expanded prepopulated search links for specific Maine career opportunities, targeted digital ads promoting Maine career opportunities, and Maine-specific marketing and advertising collateral creation.


The Maine State Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (MSCC EF) is launching a Hiring our Heroes veteran hiring initiative that aims to connect the military community—service members, military spouses, and veterans—with Maine businesses and career opportunities. This mini-grant will support MSCC EF’s efforts to engage subject matter experts in the following objectives: (1) connect with veteran and military spouse candidates at in-person and virtual hiring events; (2) learn best practices for recruiting and retaining veteran and military spouse talent; and (3) identify, implement, and promote Fellowship Programs specific to Maine businesses and organizations.


The City of Portland’s Office of Economic Opportunity works to instill a strong sense of belonging for all Portlanders, particularly in Portland’s racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse residents. This mini-grant will support the Office of Economic Opportunity’s creation and translation of resource “Journey Maps” to highlight the resources available to Portland residents and to help constituents navigate complex systems to secure basic needs.


The Third Place is a BIPOC-led organizational collaborative and coworking space for professionals, community builders, and entrepreneurs to build cultural infrastructure within Maine’s Black community. This mini-grant will support The Third Place’s SHIFT, COMPASS, and PlaceMakers programs, aimed at creating sector organizing groups and networking opportunities for BIPOC workers in Maine, as well as social connections and a sense of community for new BIPOC residents, including in Maine’s rural communities.