Mills Administration Announces $3.7M Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Initiative to Develop Industry-Specific Approaches to Expanding Maine's Workforce Bookmark and Share

May 25, 2022

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2022

Mills Administration Announces $3.7M Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Initiative to Develop Industry-Specific Approaches to Expanding Maine's Workforce

New program from the Maine Department of Labor will create industry partnerships that devise workforce development strategies for employers to attract and retain talented workers.

AUGUSTA - The Mills Administration announced today the launch of Maine Industry Partnerships for Workforce Development, a $3.7 million initiative from her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help Maine businesses recruit and retain employees. The program is the Governor's latest step to help Maine tackle its workforce shortage, which remains one of the largest problems to long-term economic growth.

Through the program, the Maine Department of Labor will adopt a sector-by-sector approach to workforce development, partnering with businesses in certain sectors to identify their most important workforce needs - including the talents and skills they need in their prospective employees - and then working with training and educational organizations to develop skilled workers who can meet those needs. The program aims to create a pipeline of workers through structured career pathways within sectors that can continually provide businesses with employees and Maine people with good-paying job opportunities.

Grants from the partnership program will focus on addressing specific training needs of each targeted industry sector, focusing on putting businesses' at the center of a coordinated workforce and economic development system that responds to businesses defined opportunities and priorities. Grant funding will be awarded with a focus on promoting industry partnerships within the sectors determined to be most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, education, and retail.

"Sector-based strategies have been shown to improve employer approaches to staffing, training, and advancing workers, resulting in reduced vacancies and increased employment," Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. "By taking a sector-based workforce development approach that organizes industries in Maine particularly disrupted by COVID-19, and which are vital to economic recovery in communities impacted by COVID, we are not only supporting these industries' recovery but also creating pathways to quality jobs."

The State Workforce Board, which presides over workforce system coordination, will oversee the Maine Industry Partnerships for Workforce Development. The Board is now seeking proposals to expand existing or create new industry-driven partnerships that address employment needs of businesses within industries negatively impacted by COVID-19.

By aligning employers in industries and helping them develop career pathways for their workers, industry partnerships for workforce development are a cornerstone of the state's strategy to identify and address specific workforce challenges facing businesses.

Awards are expected to range from an estimated $300,000 to $700,000. The number awards will depend on the number of proposals received, industries served, and available funds.

Interested applicants can find more information, including eligibility requirements, at this website - . The deadline for grant proposals is June 28, 2022.

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

In addition to this program, the Mills Administration has announced Healthcare Training for ME, a $21 million workforce development initiative for healthcare careers, a $12 million program to expand apprenticeship opportunities across a range of industries, and a $4 million program to support workforce development in fast-growing clean energy and energy efficiency fields.

Overall, the Governor's Jobs Plan includes some $300 million in 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.

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.

It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy. Funding for the Jobs Plan is through the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to Maine in 2021.  For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit