The Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced funding for six additional Strengthening Maine Workforce grants to develop workforce training initiatives, build employer partnerships to address workforce shortages, and expand English language acquisition services.
In total, grants for Strengthening Maine Workforce Projects now totals $4 million invested in 14 projects. Funding for these initiatives is through Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, her plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.
Through these grants, Bangor Adult & Community Education will expand English language acquisition programs in the Bangor area, Augusta Adult & Community Education will offer an English as a second Language classes for Maine General Health employees and reduce barriers to employment, OOB/Saco Adult & Community Education will increase career pathways and allow students to earn industry-recognized credentials, Lewiston Adult Education will expand workforce training in healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing, Mid Maine Regional Adult & Community Education will create a Medical Assistant certification program, and Merrymeeting Adult Education will prepare new Mainers with language acquisition, healthcare certification courses, and partnerships with employers.
“These grants will provide Maine workers with the skills, knowledge, and pathways they need while helping employers address critical workforce shortages. Adult Education programs serve as a hub connecting learners and employers and strengthening Maine’s workforce,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.
“We are excited to be awarded this grant and are proud to serve our community. Our goal as the local adult education program is to strengthen the community and economy through workforce training opportunities,” said Kayla Sikora, Director of Augusta Adult and Community Education.
“We are thrilled to be a recipient of the MJRP grant, which will directly benefit the growing multilingual learner population in our region. This funding will allow us to provide augmented academic and advising services, and most importantly, enable us to better assist our learners with workforce training and employment opportunities,” said Dave Durkee, Director of OOB/Saco Adult and Community Education.
Strengthening Maine Workforce Project Grant Recipients:
Bangor Adult & Community Education: Increasing ELL Opportunities in Greater Bangor
Total award amount: $93,396
Bangor Adult & Community Education will partner with Las Palapas and other area restaurants to provide intake, assessment, advising, and instructional time with a national standards-based curriculum to English Language Learners. This project will more than double the access to Multilingual learner services for adult learners in the Greater Bangor Area.
Augusta Adult & Community Education: Maine General Health ELL Programming
Total award amount: $91,602
Augusta Adult and Community Education will partner with Maine General Health to provide English as a second Language classes to Maine General Health multilingual employees as well as the addition of a new pre-health class. The program will reduce barriers that may affect their employees from participating in programming by funding transportation, childcare, and technology costs for employees in environmental services and groundskeeping for career advancement and life skills.
OOB/Saco Adult & Community Education: Healthcare and Retail Career Pathways for New Mainers
Total award amount: $200,000
OOB/Saco Adult & Community Education will expand career and retail opportunities for Multilingual Learners through existing employer partnerships, and by increasing the capacity of urban programs. Participants will earn industry-recognized credentials of value in Healthcare and Retail Management.
Lewiston Adult Education: Integrated Skills-Based Pipeline Pathways to Employment
Total award amount: $200,000
Lewiston Adult Education will partner across Androscoggin and Oxford counties to expand workforce training to the healthcare, hospitality (restaurants and lodging), and manufacturing industries. Lewiston Adult Education will develop and expand adult programs for workforce training and pipeline pathways that can more effectively meet the needs of employers throughout the region. These workforce programs will prioritize the development of the foundational skills that lead to industry-recognized credentials of value, employment, and may also allow for renewal of certifications. The creation of these programs will both expand the HUB’s capacity to provide more training in these identified areas, and it will allow for the creation of new programs that are not currently part of the adult education offerings.
Mid Maine Regional Adult & Community Education: Clinical Medical Assistant Program Expansion
Total award amount: $82,650
Mid Maine Regional Adult Community Education will partner with Maine General Health to create a comprehensive, earn-to-learn Medical Assistant certification program to fill one of their largest employment gaps.
Merrymeeting Adult Education: Healthcare Certification Courses for New Mainers
Total award amount: $129,126
Merrymeeting Adult Education will prepare new Mainers with language acquisition, healthcare certification courses (CNA), and practical experiences to help learners connect with healthcare community partners and help fill the healthcare worker shortage in Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.
The Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team funded 8 projects in the first round of funding last October.
Since the Jobs Plan took effect in October 2021, the Mills Administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects around the state to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs estimated to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.
For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.