Maine DOE Adult Education Team Awards $3.2 Million in Strengthening Maine’s Workforce Education and Training Grants

The Maine Department of Education’s Adult Education Team has funded 8 Strengthening Maine Workforce projects as part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program (MJRP).

The federal funding, awarded through a statewide competitive grant process for adult education providers, will enable programs statewide to:

  • Develop, implement, continue, and/or expand, workforce training programs in collaboration with employers
  • Partner with employers to address workforce shortages in employment sectors such as manufacturing, restaurants, lodging, healthcare and retail trade industries identified as suffering deep economic declines due to COVID-19
  • Develop and provide English language acquisition services
  • Improve availability, relevance, and access to English language acquisition courses, including reducing waitlists for English language acquisition services

Hub 7 Adult Education – Bridge to Employment
Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties
Total award amount: $378,077 

Bridges to healthcare training, hospitality/retail Employment, and manufacturing training will focus on workforce training in collaboration with employers. Existing programs will be expanded, and new programs will be developed and implemented with significant input from area employers. Bridge or gap funding will be provided to eligible students who don’t already meet eligibility requirements through other sources. The bridge to employment for immigrants will focus on the goal of workforce training but will also be directed towards developing and providing English language acquisition services; and improving availability, relevance, and access to English language acquisition courses. A hub-wide training for ESOL/ML  conversation partner volunteers will be developed and provided as a means of sustainable capacity building. These services will further aid workforce training and English language acquisition students by providing financial support in areas of transportation, childcare, and training costs not covered under WIOA partner and Department of Health and Human Services financial resources. These will include gas cards, taxi vouchers, on-site childcare, childcare reimbursement, and training scholarships for students while attending adult transitions or college transitions classes, certification programs, or on-the-job training programs. In addition, earn-as-you-learn incentives will be offered to those eligible students who do not qualify for employer or grant-sponsored coverage of their time that would otherwise be spent working to support themselves and their families.

SAD 1 Adult & Community Education – Aroostook Hospitality Workforce Training Program
Aroostook County
Total award amount: $398,408

The goal of the Aroostook Hospitality Workforce Training Program is to develop sustainable and reliable career pathways within the hospitality (lodging and restaurants) industry in Aroostook County that will provide entry level employees, both current and prospective, the opportunity to receive high quality and meaningful training in order to grow and enhance the skills necessary to excel at their job. The focus will be on building skills in customer service, industry specific technology and skills, as well as leadership training opportunities.  In addition, education regarding the wide variety of careers available in the hospitality industry as well as an individualized career ladder plan will help participants meet their professional goals.

RSU 25 Adult Education – Healthcare Pathways
Hancock and Washington Counties
Total award amount: $486,080

The project supports expansion and improvement of allied healthcare training across Adult Education Hub 1 in collaboration with regional healthcare partners. This project will allow the expansion of currently established healthcare pathways to address barriers and skills gaps identified in the pilot phase as well as create new healthcare pathways to address industry needs identified during and because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Expanded healthcare pathways will include hybrid course offerings that address healthcare skills gaps and include stronger and earlier employer connections and offer participants across the Hub an interrelated pathway to certifications, stackable credentials, and engagement with local employers.

New healthcare pathways will include Certified Clinical Medical Assistant curriculum that will include multiple entry points across the Hub.

All pathways supported with these funds will include resources both in and out of the classroom to assist students to address barriers to success in a timely manner.

South Portland – Adult Multilingual Program Expansion
Cumberland County
Total award amount: $260,450 

This program will The program will seek to build a culture of success by 1) providing scheduling and transportation that fits with the needs of parents who have children enrolled in school, 2) developing a childcare program for children too young for school, 3) translating materials and using language interpreters as needed to conduct outreach, recruitment and evaluation 4) increasing the relevance of English language acquisition courses by using a culturally aware model that builds towards readiness for workforce participation.   address the English language needs of immigrants and asylum-seekers who have little or no English language proficiency.

Westbrook Adult Education – Luke’s Lobster Workplace ESOL
Cumberland County
Total award amount: $199,319 

Adult Education will partner with Luke’s Lobster to build an employer-based and contextualized English Language Acquisition program for multilingual learners employed at the Luke’s Lobster production facility in Saco, Maine. Funding for the start-up of the program is being applied for.

Luke’s Lobster employees are in need of English Language Acquisition that fits with their constantly changing schedule and needs. The production schedule varies from day to day depending upon the amount of product coming in from the boats. This will require a flexible program with various training options from onsite training to virtual training, both including various online tools, i.e. EnGen, Zoom. With their ever-changing schedule, transportation and childcare become constant barriers for employees to attend area adult education program’s English Language Acquisition classes. In addition to the waitlists at various programs.

Portland Schools/Portland Adult Education: Extended Language Access Project
Total award amount: $489,850   

The Extended Language Access Project will enable Portland Adult Education, the largest adult education provider in Maine, to extend English language learning opportunities to a greater number of students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through innovatively addressing the waitlist, expanding English instruction, and addressing barriers to participation.

Portland Public Schools/Portland Adult Education: English and Digital Skills Integration
Total award amount: $490,650

The English and Digital Skills Integration programming will increase relevance and accessibility of English language acquisition and workplace preparedness through 1) improving remote instruction, 2) adequate access to loaner devices and hot spots and 3) integrating a multi-pronged approach to digital skills building at all levels of the organization that includes a digital skills lab, targeted workshops and digital skills integration into traditional ESOL classes.

Portland Public Schools/Portland Adult Education: Healthcare Pathways
Total award amount: $500,000

Portland Adult Education’s Healthcare Pathways Program will create English language acquisition and workforce training opportunities in the healthcare industry for individuals disproportionately affected by COVID-19 including people of color, individuals with low-incomes, low English literacy levels, and women who may also be unemployed or underemployed, or currently out of the labor force.  Portland Adult Education will work closely with healthcare employers to design and implement programming and connect students to employment opportunities. Portland Adult Education will take a customized approach to meeting students’ education and training needs by offering a range of healthcare focused training opportunities and supports, and ensuring appropriate placement based on English level, professional backgrounds, and career aspirations.