The Maine Department of Education (DOE)’s Adult Education team recently launched a Career Advancement and Navigation Specialist initiative to build workforce skills across Maine. The four state Career Advancement and Navigation Specialists work in different regions of Maine and serve people with the next steps in their careers. They help people explore career options, create impactful resumes, apply for positions, seek further career and skills training, obtain translator services, and connect them with community support resources.
Through Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP) funding, Career Navigators have already helped more than 450 workers across the state with their career goals, including a new Mainer who sought a second shift position to support his family. The Career Navigator was able to help him find a position that fit his experience and needs and supported him in the process of getting translation services, applying, interviewing, onboarding, and orientation. Another worker was able transition from a food delivery position to a new job in the court system through his work with a Career Navigator.
Maine’s Career Navigators support workers in their communities, at Adult Education sites and through community-based organizations, by partnering with other agencies including the Career Center and FedCAP Rehabilitations Services, and through a network of relationships with employers in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and hospitality. To learn more about the Career Navigators, click here.
Career Navigators share their experiences:
“I spoke with a local recovery group about the ways I can help them when they’re ready for employment. At the end of the conversation, the facilitator said, ‘Normally when we talk about employment, the conversation feels stressful and difficult. This is the first time it feels hopeful.’ The best part of this job is being able to help people see hope and help them work towards a different future,” said Kate Points, Career Navigator for York County.
“The work of the Career Navigator in local communities means being able to meet people where they’re at, personally and sometimes even physically. Many of our potential clients have access barriers, both physical and mental. They lack transportation, communication skills, technology access, or not only the knowledge, but the tools or the executive function required to access those resources. Many have experienced shame in asking for help previously and they need an advocate who can provide the kind of high touch service and support that puts them and their needs first when it comes to accessing education and employment. In this way, the impact of Career Navigator services are immeasurable,” said Cassie Robichaux, a Career Navigator for Waldo, Knox, Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties.
“The diversity of the people coupled with how resilient they are in my community amazes me. Although the amount of people I serve is high, I’m driven to help more people because getting to know more wonderful people in my community has been so meaningful,” said Karen Morin, a Career Navigator for Kennebec County.
“Sometimes things get in the way and what was once a clear track becomes riddled with obstacles. Career Navigators help people overcome the obstacles encountered when they are looking for employment and the next step in their career journey. That, to me, has always been a great distinction and huge benefit of career navigation through adult education: we can still support you, even after you’ve graduated and whether you’re affiliated with an educational institution or not,” said Frank Spurr, a Career Navigator for Androscoggin and Oxford Counties.
Since the Maine Jobs and Recovery 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.