MDOL Extends Deadline for 'Back to Work' Grant Program to Provide Employers More Time to Submit Applications Bookmark and Share

August 11, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 11, 2021

MDOL Extends Deadline for 'Back to Work' Grant Program to Provide Employers More Time to Submit Applications

AUGUSTA -The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) announced today that it is extending the application deadline for the States "Back to Work" grant program to Friday, August 20, 2021. The extension will allow employers who did not file their application by the original August 6, 2021 deadline an additional two weeks to do so.

The program, launched in June 2021 as a short-term grant program to provide Maine businesses with another tool for attracting jobseekers, provides businesses with up to $1,500 grants to offer to qualifying new hires who accepted a job between June 15, 2021 and July 25, 2021.

As of August 6th, 386 employers are participating in the program with the Department finding more than 400 employees provisionally eligible, meaning that if they complete at least eight weeks at their new job they will receive the grant funding. Employees dont need to have completed the full eight weeks required to be eligible before the employer applies - the payroll verification to confirm length of employment will take place at a later stage. Of the 386 employers who have participated in the program, 41 percent were smaller businesses with less than 20 employees.Whileemployerparticipation crossed multiple industries,themost represented industries were healthcare and social assistance (19 percent), accommodation and food services (18 percent) and retail trade (13 percent).Employers from every county in the state applied for the program.

The Back to Work grant program is one of many tools we are using to help connect employers with job seekers, said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. With Maine demonstrating that it is one of the safest states in the nation, Maine people are continuing to get back to work in steady numbers, and this program, which complements our other workforce programs, gave businesses one more tool to help attract new hires. We hope this two-week application deadline extension will give businesses more time to get any lingering applications in so we can maximize the help we are able to provide. In the meantime, CareerCenters have helped hundreds of employers refine job postings to reflect pandemic changes they made to recruit employees including updating benefits, increasing wages and providing flexible scheduling opportunities.

I am pleased that nearly 400 employers around the state, almost half of which were small businesses, took advantage of the Back to Workprogram, said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. Maine, like all states, is confronting a workforce shortage worsened by the pandemic, and we are pleased we were able to provide this tool alongside our other efforts to help get people back to work. We remain committed to finding solutions to the barriers that remain to families returningwork.

Maine added 11,200 jobs during the first quarter of 2021 and overall unemployment claims are steadily declining. During July 2021, unemployment claims dropped by about 2,000. Meanwhile,CareerCenterstaff assisted over 1,300 jobseekers with one-on-one basic employment services,546 jobseekers honed their skills by attending virtual re-employment focusedCareerCenterworkshops,and467 jobseekersconnectedwith employmentopportunitiesthroughvirtual and in-personhiring events.

Next Steps for Employers:

Employers now have through August 20 to submit applications for people hired between June 15 and July 25, 2021. After August20, the Back to Work application program will close and no new applications will be considered.

Once new provisionally eligible employees complete eight weeks of work,employers must then submit proof of payroll to verify their eligibility. Once that is completedand approved, the grant funds will be released to the employer to give to theiremployees. As a final step, employers will need to provide proof of payment to demonstrate the grant funds were passed along to the employee.

More information on the Back to Work program, including access to the application and detailed eligibility requirements, can be found here:

Other Resources for Jobseekers and Employers:

The Maine CareerCenters -

  • Offers both jobseeker and employer services
  • Employers:To connect with your localCareerCentersBusiness Services Team, send an email to or call theCareerCenterHotline at 207-623-7981.
  • Jobseekers:CareerCentershost a variety ofhiring eventsas well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. TheCareerCentercan be reached by email, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at .

The Maine JobLink: -

  • Jobseekers can post their resume and search open jobs, and employers can post their open positions and browse resumes for free.
  • In July 2021, just over 24,000 unique visitors used MaineJobLink. Nearly 12,900 of users connected through targeted E-Blast campaigns featuring regional jobpostings, training opportunities, and hiring events.

The Re-Employment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program: -

  • Launched in April 2021,the Department hasselected nearly 2,900 claimants to participate in opportunities such as one-on-one coaching and other relevant services to assist with reemployment by the end of the calendar year.