Bath Iron Works, Robbins Lumber, Gagne Foods, and Timber HP will receive funding for transportation initiatives to build and retain their workforce
Governor Janet Mills today announced $1.6 million in Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan grant funding to support innovative transportation initiatives by four Maine employers to help them grow and retain their workforce.
The grants, administered by the Maine Department of Transportation, are part of the Workforce Transportation Pilot Program, an initiative of Governor Mills’ Jobs Plan that supports local and regional pilot projects that connect workers to employers through ridesharing, vanpools, and other transit options.
The four grants announced today were awarded to Bath Iron Works, Gagne Foods in Bath, Timber HP in Madison, and Robbins Lumber in Searsmont. In November, MaineDOT announced the first workforce transportation grant to Sunday River in Newry.
“With the workforce shortage hurting businesses across Maine, my Administration is committed to advancing innovative solutions that will knock down barriers preventing people from being able to take and stay in jobs,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This investment from my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan will help Maine workers get to and from jobs and help employers retain the people they need to strengthen their businesses and our economy.”
“Maine employers large and small are struggling with workforce challenges,” said Bruce Van Note, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. “These awards support several unique approaches to addressing the specific workforce transportation challenges seen by these employers.”
“With two open jobs for every unemployed job seeker in Maine, employers are working with state agencies and others to develop innovative ways to support and expand their workforce,” said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. “These grants are a strategic effort to help employers reduce barriers to employment, such as a lack of reliable transportation, that prevent qualified individuals from connecting with quality jobs.”
BIW’s $750,000 award will address workforce transportation challenges by supporting carpools and vanpools for employees, public transportation options in the region, and multi-mode parking amenities.
“More than half our 7,000 shipbuilders travel more than 70 miles each day to be part of something greater than themselves, building ships for the U.S. Navy,” said Chuck Krugh, President of Bath Iron Works. “These resources enhance our ability to provide shared transportation for our workforce that can benefit both them and the environment while creating transportation options that make it possible for Mainers from across the state to contribute to the work we do at Bath Iron Works.”
The $59,840 award to Gagne Foods will help support transportation options for employees in inclement weather and make several electric bicycles available for employees to take to and from work.
“Many thanks to the Governor and the Maine Department of Transportation for recognizing the opportunity for change by asking Maine businesses to think differently about how employees use transportation to get to and from their jobs,” said Michael Gagne, President and CEO of Gagne Foods. “The funds Gagne Foods received will help ensure those employees who are challenged by transportation options in the Bath area have a way to get to/from their jobs via an e-Bike program and inclement weather project. These programs will make a difference.”
Robbins Lumber’s $41,600 award will help offset the costs of an existing program that provides transportation for employees from a nearby correctional institute.
“I would like to thank Governor Mills and MaineDOT for making this grant possible,” said Catherine Robbins-Halsted, Co-Owner of Robbins Lumber. “This grant provides a transportation solution to help employees re-entering the workforce to learn a trade and the chance to have a stable, long-term career.”
TimberHP’s $750,000 grant will support the construction of an electric vehicle transportation hub and the purchase of electric vehicles for an employee rideshare system at the company’s wood-fiber insulation plant.
“At TimberHP, sustainability is a core component of our mission as a company and is at the center of the work we do every day,” said Joshua Henry, Co-Founder and President of TimberHP. “The creation of an electrical vehicle and transportation hub in Madison, and the benefits it will bring to the community, our business partners, TimberHP and our employees, has been a longstanding priority for us. We're grateful to Governor Mills and the administration for partnering with us to make this important project a reality.”
The Workforce Transportation Pilot aligns with strategies from Maine Won't Wait, the state's four-year plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in part by promoting public transportation, to combat climate change.
Applications for the Workforce Transportation Pilot program are open. There is no application deadline, but applicants are encouraged to submit projects as soon as possible. With these new awards, approximately $3 million remains to be awarded through the program. For more information on how to apply, please visit its website.
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.
Since the Jobs Plan took effect in October 2021, the Mills Administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects around the state to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs estimated to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.
For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.