September 28, 2022
For Immediate Release: September 28, 2022
Maine Awarded $7 Million Quality Jobs, Equity, Strategy, Training Disaster Recovery Grant
Grant invests in connecting individuals with quality training and employment.
AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor announced that it has been awarded over $7 million by the U.S Department of Labor to provide workers with customized connections to quality training and employment. The $7,023,439 award is part of nearly $199 million awarded nationwide to support projects that enable unemployed and underemployed people to enter, return to, or advance in high-quality jobs in infrastructure, environment and climate, the care economy and other critical and growing sectors.
"This Quality Jobs, Equity, Strategy and Training Disaster Recovery (QUEST) grant will strengthen efforts to serve Maine workers and employers in a coordinated way, and builds upon the Mills Administration's historic investments in workforce development," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. "It will also support our state's clean energy goals by training workers who can take advantage of these quality jobs. Services will be customized to the needs of Maine workers and will utilize appropriate support services and proven paid work-based training options such as Registered Apprenticeship and progressive employment."
Maine will invest in training for in-demand occupations, while prioritizing training within infrastructure, climate, environmental, and caregiving occupations such as nursing, personal and home health assistance, child care, and preschool teaching. Individuals will receive one-on-one career advising and assessment, plus access to essential "wrap-around" support services to help with identified barriers to training and work such as childcare, transportation, and necessary tools and equipment. This approach will prioritize connection to paid occupational skills training and work-based training opportunities through proven strategies like on-the-job training and Registered Apprenticeship.
"We are so grateful for the additional resources to serve individuals whose employment has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, as well as the long-term unemployed," Antoinette Mancusi, Executive Director of Coastal Counties Workforce Inc., said. "We look forward to working with our partners at the Maine Department of Labor on this initiative which brings with it such valuable resources to the residents of our Coastal Counties area."
The grant will prioritize individuals whose employment has been negatively impacted by the pandemic and individuals from historically marginalized and underserved populations such as the long-term unemployed, low wage workers, women, racial and ethnic minorities, discouraged workers, justice-involved workers, and those in recovery.
"In a national competition, Maine being awarded this U.S. DOL grant reinforces the work, led by Governor Mills and MDOL, to further support workers and businesses in our state. This award is particularly significant because it will strengthen our work-based training models while supporting the more rural areas of the state as we seek better ways to connect workers to jobs," said Lee Umphrey, President and CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corporation in Bangor.
Those interested in learning more can contact their local CareerCenter at 207-623-7981 or Maine Relay 11, through LiveChat , or email MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov. If you'd prefer to access services and information in-person at one of our CareerCenters, call the CareerCenter hotline to schedule an appointment or visit the CareerCenter location website to see when staff are on-site near you.
The work will incorporate all three of Maines local workforce boards (Coastal Counties Workforce Inc., Northeastern Workforce Development Board, and Central Western Workforce Development Board). The grant funds will be infused into local communities through the boards, which are directed by local businesses representing in-demand sectors and workforce partners. The grant will leverage existing relationships statewide while expanding strategic partnerships with community-based organizations.
"The pandemic caused extraordinary disruption in our economy and disproportionately harmed people in disadvantaged communities," said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in a press release. "As we enter new phases in the recovery, we must ensure all communities have the support they need to thrive."
Quality Jobs, Equity, Strategy and Training Disaster Recovery (QUEST) grants are being awarded to 15 states, six Indian governments and one territorial government, and serve nearly 15,000 eligible workers. The grants align with efforts to provide high-quality jobs and build a skilled workforce, while promoting equitable access for historically disadvantaged communities.
Authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses. On July 5, 2022, the department announced the availability of funds for QUEST Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker grants of up to $15 million per applicant.
The U.S. DOL press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20220926