Mills Administration Launches New Workforce Development Pilot Program to Connect Underserved Maine People to Jobs Bookmark and Share

January 13, 2022

For Immediate Release: January 13, 2022

Mills Administration Launches New Workforce Development Pilot Program to Connect Underserved Maine People to Jobs

The two-year "peer workforce navigator" pilot program utilizes $1 million through the Governor's Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to connect jobseekers to training & other resources to bring them into the workforce.

Augusta, MAINE - The Mills Administration announced today that it a workforce development pilot program to connect Maine people to good-paying jobs and meet the hiring needs of Maine employers

The two-year peer workforce navigator pilot program, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law -, by Governor Mills earlier this year, is backed by $1 million in American Rescue Plan funding from the Governors Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan.

The pilot program from the Maine Department of Labor will engage with organizations that work closely with underserved populations who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic to connect them to employment, skills development, and resources for needs such as child care and transportation. Underserved populations may include immigrants, individuals with limited English proficiency, inexperienced and untrained individuals, low-income and homeless individuals, individuals who have been out of the workforce for an extended period, or individuals with low literacy and individuals with disabilities.

The program builds on proven practices to connect workers to employment and training opportunities, an imperative for Maines economic recovery, and it advances the Maine Department of Labors mission of connecting employers with jobseekers, including those who have sometimes been left on the sidelines.

"There are talented people across Maine and there are good-paying employers ready to hire them. Working closely with the Maine Department of Labor, the organizations participating in this new pilot program will become an important pillar in the bridge connecting the two," said Governor Mills. "Bringing more people into the workforce will improve the lives of Maine people, improve outcomes for businesses, and strengthen our economy - all of which are crucial for Maines economic recovery."

"Every jobseeker in Maine should have the opportunity to get the services and training they need to succeed," said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. "With this peer navigator program, Maine people will have the resources they need to connect their own community members, especially people that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, to employment and training opportunities to get back on their feet, which is key to our economy recovery."

"Across the country and here in Maine, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 brought sudden layoffs and great uncertainty to workers and employers," said Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford. "I'm incredibly proud that Maines navigator pilot program will be there to guide Mainers through the system and help them access relief when they need it most. We listened to the experiences of impacted workers and employers and recognized where the Department of Labor could make improvements. Together, were delivering important changes that will directly support Maines workforce. This is about Mainers helping Mainers."

"Its been my life's work to help people gain financial independence and pursue a career that offers stability and satisfaction. I'm proud to support the new peer work navigator program, which will help even more Mainers, especially those in underserved areas, get the training, mentorship and resources they need to advance their careers and find stable financial footing," said Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli. "I'm eager to see how this program will help not just individual workers and their families, but also Maines economy overall."

The Maine Department of Labor is requesting applications from interested organizations, which may include community organizations, worker groups, labor unions, or other non-profit organizations with close ties to underserved and under-represented communities within the workforce.

Interested applicants can find more information, including eligibility requirements, and apply at: . Proposal submissions must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. on February 4, 2022.

The "peer workforce navigator program" builds on the Mills Administration's commitment to address systemic challenges that have constrained Maines ability to grow and thrive, with priority focus on investments to grow and develop Maines workforce.

Governor Mills Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan - , includes some $300 million in planned 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.