November 2, 2012
For Immediate Release: November 2, 2012 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
*Project update meetings will be held across the state in November *
AUGUSTA—The Maine Health Care Sector Grant is on track to train more than 800 people for jobs as nurses, clinical nurse instructors, certified nursing assistants, and allied health professionals by the end of the grant period in February 2013. This figure doubles the number of trainees projected in the original proposal.
Unemployed workers make up more than 25 percent of the total enrollment in the training program.
The State Workforce Investment Board (formerly the Maine Jobs Council) and the Maine Department of Labor have used this grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to maintain and strengthen partnerships among Maine’s employer, education and workforce sectors to advance the development of a skilled health care workforce.
Jeanne Paquette, commissioner of the Department of Labor, explained, “This grant serves as an excellent example of how an industry can partner with the department to target specific workforce problems and identify training solutions. We have maximized the benefit of federal training dollars to improve not only the earning power of Mainers but also the quality of our health care providers. Every citizen will benefit from the outcome of this grant.”
Workforce data presented in October to the Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission revealed that employment in Maine’s health care industry is at an all-time high despite the recession.
Paquette noted, “Industry partnerships should be the cornerstone of our workforce development system because they fund training for jobs in demand. Gov. LePage has made jobs a priority of his administration; this grant is an excellent example of what we can do going forward.”
The grant placed special emphasis on reducing the “bottleneck” created by the state’s lack of capacity to meet the demand for training nurses. It has increased both the number of qualified registered nurse (RN) clinical instructors and the availability and flexibility of clinical training facilities. It has also supported the training of clinical instructors in the use of simulation equipment.
The other health professions targeted by the grant include phlebotomist, medical lab technician, medical coding, radiology technician, respiratory technician, surgical technician, physical therapy assistant, occupational therapy assistant and pharmacy technician.
A series of meetings will provide an update on health workforce initiatives, review health workforce needs, identify training barriers and determine next action steps. Members of the healthcare industry, policymakers, educators, economic developers and labor and employment specialists are invited to participate. Registration information is available at www.mainehealthworkforceforum.org .
The meeting schedule is: * Nov. 8, 2012, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle. * Nov. 27, 2012, 12:30–4:30 p.m., University of Southern Maine, Portland. * Nov. 29, 2012, 12:30–4:30 p.m., Rockland Public Library, Rockland.
The Department of Labor administers Maine’s unemployment insurance system, is responsible for ensuring the safety of public employees and provides workforce development leadership and vocational rehabilitation services throughout the state. Under the LePage Administration, the department has focused on connecting Mainers to jobs and helping businesses create jobs through strengthening our workforce development system, improving outreach to businesses and clarifying employment regulations.