Labor Commissioner Visits Somerset and Penobscot County Employers Bookmark and Share

June 21, 2012

Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009

Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass visited Somerset and Penobscot County on Tuesday to meet with jobseekers and local business leaders. He visited two employers in the region.

Winglass met with jobseekers and staff at the Department of Labor’s Skowhegan CareerCenter. The commissioner heard first-hand about the needs of both employers and people seeking new jobs or wanting to change careers in the region. This information will be used in the department’s efforts to identify training priorities for Maine’s Workforce Development system.

The State Workforce Investment Board is currently engaged in a process of restructuring Maine’s Workforce Development system. The structural changes will reduce administrative overhead, thereby freeing up more money for job training and increase efficiency by better targeting training dollars to the types of jobs that industry needs. New industry partnerships will play a key role in the system by identifying skill gaps and human resource needs in targeted industries and high priority occupations.

Commissioner Winglass spent the morning and afternoon visiting local employers to discuss labor and workforce issues. He toured both the Skowhegan manufacturing facility for Gifford’s Ice Cream and the Vic Firth factory in Newport that makes drum sticks used by musicians around the world. Both businesses stressed that their products’ high quality has been a significant factor in their continued success. Well-trained staff with low turnover rates, quality materials, and efficient systems contribute to making products with strong brand loyalty and a reputation for quality.

“Getting out to meet with workers and employers is one of the most important things we can do as we work on improving Maine’s economy,” stressed Winglass. “Listening not only to employers, like Vic Firth and Gifford’s, about their workforce needs but also to jobseekers about their challenges helps us identify what needs to be done in terms of making the most of our training dollars and helping grow our economy.”

To learn about how the Department of Labor’s services can help your business hire or train workers, increase safety and improve operations or if you have any questions or suggestions about regulations, please call the department at (207) 623-7900 or visit the department website at .