State Workforce Board meeting

March 31, 2017: 9:30 AM
Perkins Room, CMCC


MARCH 31, 2017

Present: Fred Webber, Jon Mason, Liz Rensenbrink, Kevin Healey, Susan Hammond, Nicole Morin-Scribner, Jeanne Paquette, Gail Senese, Rhonda Fletcher, Jim Howard, David Duguay, Jeremy Kendall, Mel Clarrage, Tracey Cooley, Doug Ray (Phone), Renee Kelly (Phone), Ed McKersie (Proxy), Ryan Bushey (Proxy), Scott Good (Proxy), Jeanne Harris (Proxy)

Staff: Garret Oswald, Cheryl Moran

Fred Webber opened the meeting with welcomes and introductions.


• January 27, 2017 Minutes – Fred asked for approval of the January 27th meeting minutes. Dave Duguay motioned. Jim Howard seconded. Minutes approved unanimously as written. • By Laws – Garret Oswald provided a handout in reference to “State Workforce Development Board Proxy Voting”. He stated we are just adding language to tighten up a little bit. Garret referred to the shaded grey areas; “SWDB members may designate a proxy to vote for them in the event they are unable to attend a meeting. The proxy must be an appointed member of the SWDB in good standing and must be designated by the principal prior to the meeting by informing the Chair or Director”. Fred asked for approval of the added language. Mel Clarrage motioned. Dave Duguay seconded. Added language to the By Laws approved unanimously. • May 26 SWB meeting – Fred asked if everyone was comfortable with the next meeting date or would they like to change due to the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. Garret stated the meeting scheduled for the southern Maine region will be held at the Portland Jetport CareerCenter. Tracey Cooley suggested changing the date because of her concern with the Friday holiday traffic. Fred proposed 2 dates, May 19th or June 2nd. Everyone agreed to change the meeting date to June 2nd. Garret stated he will check with the CareerCenter to make sure the room is still available. • Chairs Report - Fred reported that he and Garret attended the National Governor’s Association Meeting (NGA) last month and there was a lot of discussion around alignment of programs and resources.
He mentioned the other issue was flexible funding. Fred stated there will be cuts and he is a little worried about this. He asked Garret to expand in that area. Garret stated there has been a push for a number of years to look at this. The cuts will not happen to just small states. The state of Minnesota also is concerned.

America’s Job Link (AJL) Data Breech Update – Richard Freund On March 21st, AJLA-TS confirmed that a malicious third party "hacker" exploited vulnerability in the AJL application code to view the names, Social Security Numbers, and dates of birth of job seekers in the AJL systems of up to ten states including Maine. On March 23rd, MDOL learned and immediately went into action to notify jobseekers - MDOL set-up a mini call center to assist. The method of the hacker's attack has been remediated and is no longer a threat to the AJLA-TS system. AJLA is offering free credit monitoring for a year. WORKFORCE SHORTAGE; WE NEED EVERY MAINER! -Gig Economy Platform Demonstration by Wingham Rowan, Director, Beyond Jobs

Wingham Rowan presented the Gig Economy Platform demonstration via UberConference. A handout titled “Fragmentation of Labor, What role for the public workforce system?” was also provided.
The Gig Economy is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. Working in the gig economy means constantly being subjected to last-minute scheduling. This definitely affects a lot of employers in Maine due to seasonal employment and the untapped labor pools. Wingham strongly stated that you need $2.3 million dollars worth of demand to start. The project takes 6-12 months requiring project management and some resources. Feedback: Liz Rensenbrink thought it is a great way to test people out prior to hire. Nicole Morin-Scribner stated it would be more challenging with healthcare because there is a lot of upfront work due to the nature of the work. Garret Oswald stated this addresses untapped labor pools/workforce shortage which is a goal in our State Plan. We need to make sure we have the $2.3 million dollars. Julie Rabinowitz stated there is a $10,000 feasibility study cost. Richard Freund stated the State of Maine could be the facilitator but it needs to be an employer-led driven exercise. He pointed out Wingham made that quite clear. Garret Oswald stated if we are able to put up the feasibility cost money, then we could launch right away. Wingham is willing to come in and pitch it, but who to pitch it to? Garret asked the State Workforce Board members what’s the next direction? Do you want to continue to pursue? The Board members responded they want to continue to pursue.
Joanna Russell stated getting the word out will be really important. Jeanne Paquette stated we will need to conduct a feasibility study. We need to get data. Jeffrey Sneddon agreed with Jeanne that the next step should be a feasibility study. Garret Oswald stated he will look into Maine volunteering. This will be a window of opportunity.


Julie Rabinowitz, Department of Labor reported – Bills in reference to the workforce, has been relatively slow but are picking up. Hot Items; • The tip credit (for example, refers to a nail tech not necessarily wait staff). • Implement a youth or training wage. The Governor’s position is to maintain the tip credit but eliminate the C. P. I. There has been discussion around; • The use of automation (but not necessarily robotics). • In favor of a youth or training wage (but MDOL has not taken any position on this Bill). There is a task force on workforce being set up. This is chaired by Senator Brian Langley. Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (CSSP) – asking for increase in funding. Increase the budget - specifically to vocational rehabilitation and independent living services that will be used primarily for seniors losing their vision and being able to stay in their homes. Next Wednesday, April 5th is “Minimum Wage Day” which will be an all-day event.

Debra Plowman, Department of Education reported on March 30th, the Senate confirmed Robert Hasson as the new Commissioner of Education. MDOE received a $20 million dollar bond for new Career Technical Education (CTE) equipment.
She stated they are working on a regional approach to innovative schools (want schools to voluntarily consolidate). If this happens, they will be able to offer more to the schools. She stated that she would like to educate the Legislature on what is out there – school upgrade without building new schools. She would like to make students aware of CTE in the 7th or 8th grades so when they reach high school, they may have a plan for a career or a college direction.

Doug Ray, Department of Economic & Community Development reported the Governor also supports an effort to deliver some meaningful resources for communities to consolidate. There has been success on Bills such as the Income Tax Surcharge. Work sessions have not been scheduled yet. He’s heard from local small businesses on minimum wage that they are very concerned with the impact. Doug advised to stay tuned. Liquor Laws – Doug reported that they are working with Senator Langley to improve the current system (within the 3 tier system) to make sure they grow. Live + Work In Maine – have a partnership in reference to the Tourism Industry. They are working on targeting the Mid-Atlantic, D.C. and Charlotte areas to market Maine.

Meeting Adjourned

Next meeting will be held on June 2nd from 9:30 – Noon at the Career Center located at 151 Jetport Road in Portland. Respectfully submitted by Cheryl Moran