January 20, 2022
For Immediate Release: January 20, 2022
Maine Featured in National Governor's Association News Brief:
"Lessons Learned in Workforce Innovation: How Ten Governors are Redesigning Workforce Systems for Better Employment Outcomes"
NGA grant funding and technical assistance helps connect employers to job seekers, and job seekers to work, education, and training
AUGUSTA - Maine is featured in a new issue brief - https://www.nga.org/center/publications/lessons-learned-in-workforce-innovation/ , from the National Governors Association (NGA) spotlighting ways that Governors and state workforce system leaders are reconnecting workers to the labor force and to sustainable, high-quality employment, through new models of service delivery that have emerged amid the disruptions of COVID-19.
Maine was one of 10 states in the inaugural cohort of the NGA Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN) - https://www.nga.org/news/press-releases/9-states-awarded-grants-to-accelerate-covid-19-workforce-recovery-efforts/ , which launched last year as anonpartisan learning and action collaborative forstate leaderswho have demonstrated strong commitments to building a resilient workforce. The new issue brief is the product of months of collaboration with NGA Center staff and a network of subject matter experts to design, launch and scale innovations to state service delivery systems for job seekers.
"With NGAs expertise, the State Workforce Board has successfully worked in partnership with DHHS, DOE, DECD, Maines Community Colleges, the University of Maine System, Adult Education, Career and Technical Centers, private employers and trade unions to put in place a comprehensive and integrated plan that will help Maine employers find the skilled workers they need and to train the workforce of tomorrow," said Guy Langevin, Chair of the State Workforce Board. "The State Workforce Board, under the leadership of Maine employers, understands the need to work together and build programs that address the unique challenges we face during these unprecedented times."
The State Workforce Board works to ensure Maines workforce development system is dynamic and available to Maine businesses and people compete successfully in the global economy, by convening state, regional and local workforce system partners. Workforce development, at its best, must be collaborative and look to leverage assets of the public, private and non-profit sectors.
"Recognizing the evolving needs of Maines business and workers, workforce development programs must be nimble and user-focused," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. "The Maine team has made significant progress in coordinating the system and removing barriers faced by jobseekers and employers."
Maines NGA WIN initiative began by developing an implementation plan for the Grow Local Talent strategy from Maines 10-year economic development plan - https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-unveils-ten-year-strategic-economic-development-plan-focused-promoting . The teams plan proposed four key deliverables:
- Align public workforce programs and funding that support residents ability to increase their skills and education into a seamless continuum of programs and supports, with a focus on career pathways for in-demand occupations;
- Develop a career portal that aligns Maines workforce system and provides an easily accessible entry point for Maine workers and employers;
- Work across state agencies to coordinate business outreach and engagement efforts to streamline business access to workforce services and talent; and
- Brand Maines workforce system so that it is recognized as transparent and easily accessible to businesses and jobseekers;
Within these four deliverables, the Maine team has focused on developing a unifying brand for Maines workforce system and begun the development of a new, statewide career portal to drive consistency across the workforce system. Maine also plans to utilize American Rescue Plan Act funds included in Governor Mills "Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan" to carry out plan activities and continue to address systemic barriers to the workforce system.
While all 10 states participating in NGA WIN implemented a similar innovation design to identify and close gaps in job-seeker service delivery, each state carried out a unique initiative aligned with its Governors workforce and economic recovery goals. The new brief highlights the state objectives, activities and outcomes achieved during the grant period. To learn more about Maine's work with NGA WIN, please read its entry in the State Innovation Case Studies beginning on Page 5 of the issue brief.