Governor Mills Announces $12.3 Million To More Than Double Apprenticeships for Maine People & Strengthen Maine’s Workforce

Awards to 14 Maine organizations will support the significant expansion of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities in more than 50 new occupations

Lewiston, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills announced today that 14 organizations will receive $12.3 million to expand apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships across Maine as part of her Administration’s effort to strengthen Maine’s workforce through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. The funding is expected to provide more than 3,000 Maine people with new apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship opportunities, more than doubling the number of Maine’s current apprentices.

The Governor made the announcement at Lewiston Adult Education, one of the grant recipients, and was joined by other awardees who welcomed the funding as an opportunity to strengthen Maine’s workforce and train more workers for meaningful, good-paying careers. Registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships are highly effective tools for workers to build their skill set and connect to high-wage careers and for employers to recruit and retain workers.In the past two years, Maine apprentices who completed their program increased their average wages by nearly 40 percent and 94 percent of apprentices have continued employment with the business who sponsored their apprenticeship.

The 14 organizations awarded funds will partner with the Maine Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program to expand or develop new apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. In total, the organizations are expected to create new training and work opportunities for more than 1,000 new apprentices and 2,000 new pre-apprentices, more than doubling Maine’s current total of 1,175 apprentices. The funding is also expected to add more than 150 new employer sponsors to Maine’s current total of 121 registered sponsors.

Additionally, the awards are expected to create new apprenticeships in more than 50 new occupations – such as emergency medical technician, roofing technician, lodging manager, accounting technician, customer service and operations management – which will generate new apprenticeship pipelines for young adults, expand apprenticeships in rural areas, recruit more employers to offer apprenticeships, and increase equity in apprenticeship programs.

The awards announced today are backed by $11 million from the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and $1.3 million from U.S. Department of Labor’s State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity, and Innovation Grant.

“Apprenticeships are a win for our workers, our employers, and our economy, providing on-the-job training that results in a stable workforce, good-paying jobs, and a stronger, more diverse economy,” said Governor Janet Mills. “These funds will allow organizations across Maine to expand or create new apprenticeship opportunities and more than double the number of apprentices, helping to get more people – especially younger folks – into new, exciting fields that can provide a good paycheck and strengthen our economy.”

“Registered Apprenticeships are a proven track on which both workers and businesses can thrive,” said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. “These grants reflect the State’s commitment to making strategic investments that benefit both those who are searching for good-paying careers, and employers needing a pipeline of skilled workers. We aim to expand the number of high-quality pre and registered apprenticeships in Maine’s workforce and increase access for under-represented workers such as women, people of color, people with disabilities, and justice-involved individuals.”

“Apprenticeship is a career opportunity for all Mainers, it is an earn while you learn career pathway that connects real people with highly skilled jobs that exist now. Earning wages from the start, most apprentices have little to no debt when they graduate and statistically earn much higher wages as they become more and more skilled,” Jennifer McKenna, Chair of the Maine Apprenticeship Council, said. “In a competitive job market, apprenticeship helps employers find and retain their future workforce, utilizing customized training for their specific business. A true win-win, for Maine people looking for an incredible career, and Maine business looking for a well-trained workforce. I am confident that these grants dollars will make Maine a leader in the country for apprenticeship utilization.”

“I’m excited to see the partnerships that form between Maine’s educational institutions and business & industry. There are currently some major workforce needs throughout the State of Maine,” said Dan Coffey, Director of The Cianbro Institute and Maine Apprenticeship Council member. “These relationships will be critical in identifying the right programs to expand and ensuring they align with the needs. The earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship model is a great opportunity for people to embark on a fruitful career without accumulating a lot of debt.”

The 14 organizations awarded grants are:

  • Associated General Contractors of Maine: The Associated General Contractors of Maine will develop a pre-apprenticeship Immersion Program, designed for local graduating high school students as an introduction to trades, as well as expand apprenticeship programs for new crane operator, heavy highway construction laborer, commercial carpenter and electrician.
  • Educate Maine: In partnership with Jackson Laboratory, Hancock County Technical Center, MDI Adult Education, and RSU #24 Adult Education, Educate Maine plans to develop infrastructure pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to lead into occupations such as HVAC technician, maintenance mechanic, and stationery engineer.
  • Foster Career and Technical Education Center: Foster CTE in Farmington plans to become an intermediary sponsor of apprenticeship to serve current high school students through the development of a new pre-apprenticeship program that will include core academics and basic skill building and connect to registered apprenticeship opportunities under development with local employers in construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and culinary arts.
  • General Dynamics Bath Iron Works: In partnership with Southern Maine Community College, BIW will expand its manufacturing technician pre-apprenticeship program to increase the pipeline of individuals for its apprenticeship programs.
  • Gorham School District: Gorham School District plans to expand its training programs for current high school students into pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship offerings for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), CDL driver and early childhood educator programs.
  • HospitalityMaine Education Foundation: HospitalityMaine aims to develop seven new apprenticeship occupations for the Hospitality Industry including event planner and manager, kitchen manager, lodging manager and accounting technician and increase the uptake of apprenticeship opportunities within the hospitality industry by supporting several employers in becoming sub-sponsors of apprenticeship.
  • Industrial Roofing Company: Industrial Roofing Company of Lewiston will establish a new registered apprenticeship program in roofing by using grant funds to certify trainers as National Center for Construction Education & Research instructors to deliver NCCER training and certification for new apprentices.
  • Lewiston Adult Education / Lewiston Public Schools: Lewiston Adult Education plans to become a registered intermediary apprenticeship sponsor and create pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades and healthcare occupations including personal support specialist, CNA, and medical assistant.
  • Maine AFL-CIO: In partnership with IBEW 1253, New England Laborers Training Academy, Maine Building and Construction Trades Council, and RSU 19, Maine AFL-CIO plans to develop three new pre-apprenticeship programs focused on providing multi-craft core curriculum.
  • MaineHealth: MaineHealth will develop pre-apprenticeship tracks for phlebotomy, CNA and medical assistant and expand outreach to increase enrollment in existing apprenticeship programs.
  • Portland Adult Education: Portland Adult Education will create pre-apprenticeship opportunities in healthcare and clean energy in partnership with ReVision Energy, MaineHealth, and Northern Light Health, with a focus on providing opportunities for non-native English speakers.
  • ReVision Energy: ReVision Energy, an apprenticeship sponsor since 2019, will expand apprenticeship programming through enhancing their existing electrician apprenticeship program and expanding into three new occupations: customer service, technical sales, and operations management through partnerships with Portland Adult Education and Learning Works.
  • Somerset Career & Technical Center: Somerset Career & Technical Center will hire an Apprenticeship Navigator to expand existing apprenticeship programming and develop a new pre-apprenticeship program that will enable more students to be hired as apprentices in banking, insurance, HVAC, business management, and other fields.
  • Washington County Community College: Washington County Community College will hire an Apprenticeship Navigator to expand apprenticeship capacity and support apprentices and pre-apprentices in many fields including aquaculture, retail, and healthcare.

The Maine Department of Labor accepted applications from organizations through February 23. Twenty-six applications were received, and funding was awarded with a focus on promoting expansion within sectors harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This investment is the latest by the Mills Administration to strengthen the state’s workforce and create good-paying jobs in rewarding careers. It builds on the Mills Administration’s commitment to addressing systemic challenges that have constrained Maine’s ability to grow and thrive, with priority focus on investments to grow and develop Maine’s workforce.

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity. It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy. The Jobs Plan includes some $300 million in workforce investments, including $105 million for programs at Maine schools, community colleges, and universities; $50 million for affordable and workforce housing; $20 million to expand Pre-K and childcare infrastructure, and more.Funding for the Jobs Plan is through the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to Maine in 2021.

Later in the day, Governor Mills will have lunch with Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline and local business owners to discuss economic development in Lewiston, visit with the Lewiston-Auburn Railroad Company to discuss transportation issues and improvements, and visit SHAREcenter, an organization which encourages businesses and individuals to donate items that are no longer of use to supplement the needs of educators and caregivers. Governor Mills will also visit with Tree Street Youth prior to their 2022 Celebration March dedicated to Lewiston’s youth. Founded in 2011, Tree Street Youth serves 500 youth Pre-K through seniors in high school year-round, offering students programming in academics, empowerment, college access, leadership, enrichment, and mentorship. Following her visit to Lewiston, Governor Mills will meet with Mayor Jason Levesque in Auburn to discuss the city’s efforts to expand affordable housing.

The Governor’s events in Androscoggin County come as she travels across the state. The Governor has visited Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc,Cumberland, Kennebec, York, and Somerset counties.