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  • II. Strategic Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system.  The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs to support economic growth.  Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs. 

II. a. 2. Workforce Development, Education and Training Activities Analysis

The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the workforce development activities, including education and training in the State, to address the education and skill needs of the workforce, as identified in (a)(1)(B)(iii) above, and the employment needs of employers, as identified in (a)(1)(A)(iii) above.  This must include an analysis of—

  • A. The State’s Workforce Development Activities

    Provide an analysis of the State’s workforce development activities, including education and training activities of the core programs, Combined State Plan partner programs included in this plan, and required 6 and optional one-stop delivery system partners.7

    [6] Required one-stop partners:  In addition to the core programs, the following partner programs are required to provide access through the one-stops: Career and Technical Education (Perkins), Community Services Block Grant, Indian and Native American programs, HUD Employment and Training programs, Job Corps, Local Veterans' Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program, National Farmworker Jobs program, Senior Community Service Employment program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (unless the Governor determines TANF will not be a required partner), Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, Unemployment Compensation programs, and YouthBuild.

    [7] Workforce development activities may include a wide variety of programs and partners, including educational institutions, faith- and community-based organizations, and human services.

  • B. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Workforce Development Activities

    Provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce development activities identified in (A), directly above.

  • C. State Workforce Development Capacity

    Provide an analysis of the capacity of State entities to provide the workforce development activities identified in (A), above.

Current Narrative:

II.(a.2) Workforce Development, Education, and Training Activities Analysis

Maine has a variety of programs and activities to address the skilled workforce needs of employers that focus on developing the skills, abilities, and credentials of the population, including those with barriers to employment. The aggregate public investment in these activities is significant, totaling more than $500 million. Developing greater levels of coordination and alignment among programs is an integral component of this unified plan and essential to navigating Maine’s many workforce development challenges.

The tables in II.(a.2.a.) provide an analysis of Maine’s workforce development, education and training activities that receive regular public funding. For the purposes of this analysis, programs and activities are grouped into four categories: WIOA core partner programs, other publicly funded employment and training programs, other publicly funded education programs, and additional programs.

Note:  These tables do not include public investments in K-12 education (although secondary career and technical education is included), nor does this analysis represent a comprehensive view of DHHS training programs.

 Funding levels vary with a range of factors and are subject to yearly change, and allowable expenditures are governed by federal and state laws and policies.

II.(a.2.A)The State’s Workforce Development Activities

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Core Partner Programs

The WIOA core partner programs: adult, dislocated worker and youth programs; employment services, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and adult and basic education served more than 90,000 participants and represented $56.9 million in public investment in fiscal year (FY) 2019 (58 percent of which was federal, 24 percent state and 18 percent local funds). This information is displayed in Table 5, below.

The MDOL oversees administration of the Title IB adult, dislocated worker and youth programs and the Title III employment services program. In program year 2018 (PY18), 542 adults, 264 unemployed workers and 402 youth were served by these programs. On average, 75.2 percent found jobs. During the year 4,819 job seekers received individualized career services and 42,700 participated in labor exchange services.

MDOL’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) works to bring about full access to employment, independence, and community integration for people with disabilities. While under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Education, BRS operates within the offices of MDOL at CareerCenters and provides VR services through its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI). The co-location of VR and employment services offers greater opportunities for aligning programs and services. During PY18 BRS had 3,773 new applicants and served 6,968 individuals through plans for employment.

Maine Adult Education (hereafter, Adult Education) is part of the Maine Department of Education. Service providers are housed within nine educational programming areas (hubs) and consist of 67 local providers aligned with local school districts statewide. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, over 17,000 individuals participated in high school completion, workforce training, and college transitions programming. Of those, 5,830 participated in federal programs directly linked to high school equivalency completion, entering employment, and entering postsecondary education.

Over 23,000 people also participated in lifelong learning classes such as health and wellness, political awareness, personal finances, and other community enriching courses.

Maine’s unified plan emphasizes greater levels of integration, alignment and coordination among core programs and one-stop partners.

In 2016, Adult Education began implementing Integrated Education and Training (IET). The passage of WIOA in 2014, enabled Adult Education to use federal literacy funds to support training when combined with education. Integrating relevant reading, math, and comprehension instruction, occupation training, employability skills, and English language acquisition as needed is a training model with proven effectiveness. Another key piece of an IET is the earning of a credential of value. Combining these elements compresses learning time frames and accelerates entry into the workplace. While IETs are successful, they are expensive to develop and run, making cost-sharing with partners essential. The IET programs offered are based on identified local workforce board needs, and on collaboration with employers, other service providers, and postsecondary institutions. From the initial six programs, the number of IETs has grown to 402 in FY19. The goal is to increase the number of adults receiving credentials through an IET to 800. IET is a proven training model that enhances learning comprehension by integrating classroom and occupation training and often compresses learning time frames. Based on identified local workforce needs, the pilot projects were developed with extensive employer engagement and the involvement of support service providers and a variety of educational institutions. Since then, IET programming has been rolled out statewide and is a required programming element for each adult education hub.


Maine’s Public Sector Investment (in Millions) in Workforce Development; WIOA Core Partner Programs

Program Federal State Other  SFY19 Funding Overseeing Agency Program Description
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title IB $7.20     $7.20 MDOL WIOA Title IB provides employment and training services to adults, dislocated workers, and youth who meet priority and eligibility criteria. IB programs overseen by three local workforce boards and delivered through four service providers served a total of 1,230 participants. Of those who exited the programs an average of 75.4 percent were employed. Of those who participated in classroom training, 63 percent earned a degree, diploma or credential.
Employment Services
$3.60     $3.60 MDOL WIOA Title III amends the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933 and provides employment and labor exchange services to individuals and employers. Over 42,700 job seekers accessed the Maine JobLink labor exchange system in which 5,408 employers posted 31,464 jobs. Individualized career services were provided to 4,819 job seekers who required more intensive assistance finding employment.
Rehabilitation Services
$18.50 $8.20 $0.50 $27.20 USDOE/ MDOL The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people with disabilities: The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation helps individuals with a range of disabling conditions to achieve or retain employment; the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides services to individuals who are blind or have low vision; and the Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened assists individuals with hearing loss. During PY18, BRS had 3,773 new applicants and served 6,958 individuals through plans for employment.
Adult Education
$1.70 $6.00 $11.17 $18.87 MDOE Maine Adult Education promotes programs that help adults get the foundational skills they need to be educated and productive workers, family members, and citizens. The major areas of instruction and support are adult basic education, adult secondary education (high school completion), English language acquisition, college transition, and workforce training. These programs emphasize foundational skills such as reading, writing, math, English language competency, career awareness and exploration, workforce training, and problem-solving. In FY19, adult education served 17,640 adults in academic and workforce programs, including 5,830 participants in federal funded programs. An additional 23,150 adults participated in self-sustaining personal enrichment courses.


  Federal State Other Total    
Totals in millions $31.0 $14.2 $11.7 $56.9    
Percentages 55% 25% 21%      


Other Publicly Funded Employment & Training Programs

A wide range of employment and training activities in Maine occur outside the core WIOA programs. Many of these activities are described in Table 5, below. These programs are supported by $45.2 million in public funding (see Table 6) and deliver employment and job training services to a variety of population groups including veterans, dislocated workers, youth, and individuals with skill deficiencies and other barriers to employment. Programs are accessible through Maine’s one-stop CareerCenters administered by local workforce boards in three regions.

In addition to the programs displayed in Table 6, a variety of other employment and training activities are funded through discretionary grant awards to the state of Maine. Such grants include, but are not limited to H1B grants, Youth Build, and Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Training (TAACT) grants.

Maine’s Public Sector Investment (in Millions) in Workforce Development; Other Publicly Funded Employment & Training Programs

Program Federal State Other  SFY19 Funding Overseeing Agency Program Description
Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) $0.80     $0.80 MDOL Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) funds are allocated to state workforce agencies from the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) in direct proportion to the number of veterans seeking employment within their state. The grants support two principal staff positions: disabled veterans' outreach program specialists, and local veterans' employment representatives. This grant provides funds to exclusively serve veterans, other eligible persons and, indirectly, employers.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) $2.80     $2.80 MDOL The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is a federal program that provides a path for employment growth and opportunity through aid to US workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. The TAA program seeks to provide these trade-affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, resources, and support they need to become reemployed. 
Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) $0.08     $0.08 MDOL The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.
ReEmployment Services & Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 MDOL The ReEmployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program assists unemployed workers to return to work more quickly by delivering and services to those claimants profiled as “most likely to exhaust” and all transitioning veterans receiving unemployment compensation. Targeted claimants will be provided relevant reemployment services and eligibility review interviews. Services will be delivered through group workshops, one-on-one meetings, and other methods allowing individuals who would not be able to attend for various reasons to attend.
CareerCenter General Funds   $0.50   $0.50  MDOL The Maine CareerCenter provides a variety of employment and training services at no charge for Maine workers and businesses.
Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (CSSP)   $2.60   $2.60 MDOL  The Competitive Skills Scholarship (CSSP) helps workers learn new skills and succeed in a changing economy. The program is open to all qualified Maine residents and pays for education and training for high wage jobs in demand in Maine. The number of new CSSP applicants accepted into the program each year is based on available funding and allocated by county.
Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP) and Apprenticeship Expansion Grant $0.70 $0.50   $1.20 MDOL Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP) and Apprenticeship Expansion Grant helps mobilize Maine's workforce with structured, on-the-job learning in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, as well as emerging industries such as healthcare, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more. Registered apprenticeships connect job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers looking for qualified workers, resulting in a workforce with industry-driven training and employers with a competitive edge.
WIOA Title ID National Dislocated Worker Grants (NDWGs) $1.10     $1.10  MDOL National dislocated worker grants (NWDGs) provide additional assistance to support employment and retraining efforts for dislocated workers displaced due to mass layoff or natural disaster. USDOL offers access to these funds through a competitive process to address other issues affecting workers such as the opioid crisis or need for technology upgrades. Maine is in the process of implementing a single portal from which job seekers can access the services of all core partners. The portal allows information to be shared between the information systems of each partner upon request from the job seeker, saving the customer from answering the same questions multiple times.
WIOA Title IC:
Penobscot Job Corps Center
$9.40     $9.40 Boston Regional Office of Job Corps Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the USDOL that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. The Job Corps program is authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The Penobscot Job Corps Center is operated by Career Systems Development Corporation for the USDOL.
WIOA Title IC:
Loring Job Corps Center
$9.50     $9.50 Boston Regional Office of Job Corps See above
Maine Conservation Corps (MCC)  $0.40 $0.09 $0.70 $1.40 Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry The mission of Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) is to accomplish conservation initiatives that inspire individuals and enhance communities. The MCC is a state AmeriCorps program, comprised of members who undertake conservation projects while completing job readiness training and achieving personal development goals. Service inherently includes the distillment of personal responsibility, accountability, teamwork, communication, problem solving, as well as many other appropriate workplace behaviors and attitudes. Members also engage in career research, goal setting, resume and cover letter writing, develop interview skills, and earn certifications as part of their AmeriCorps terms. 
New Ventures Maine (NVME) $0.20 $0.90 $0.70 $1.80 UMA/ UMS New Ventures Maine (NVME) is a statewide community outreach and education program of the University of Maine at Augusta/University of Maine System. NVME provides in-person and online training and individual coaching in career planning, entrepreneurship, and financial education and asset building. For Mainers in life and career transitions, NVME provides an empowering environment for participants to define and achieve goals. NVME helps individuals recognize strengths, overcome barriers, access resources, develop a plan and take action towards their goals--finding good jobs, furthering their education, starting a business, managing their money and building savings and assets.
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) $1.90     $1.90 USDOL/ A4TD The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based training program for unemployed, low-income persons over the age of 55 with barriers to employment. Authorized by the Older Americans Act (Title V), the program provides subsidized, service-based training by placing participants in paid internships at 501C3 non-profit and public agencies. Participants are also able to participate in workshops that improve their job search skills and job readiness. Individuals train for an average of 20 hours per week and are paid minimum wage. The community service training serves as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities.
Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) $4.00 $3.50 $3.30 $10.80 JMG Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) partners with public education and private businesses to offer results-driven solutions to ensure all students graduate, attain post-secondary credentials and pursue meaningful careers. JMG is hosted in Maine's public middle and high schools, and community college and university systems. JMG reaches more than 10,000 students throughout all of Maine’s 16 counties. JMG programs are led by JMG specialists who serve as mentors and educators. The JMG model integrates competency-based learning strategies with career exploration. JMG helps students overcome academic, financial and social barriers to help students reach their fullest potential. JMG increases high school graduation rates, post-secondary persistence, and degree attainment.
WIOA Title ID YouthBuild Portland (YBA) $1.00     $1.00 USDOL Youth Building Alternatives (YBA)  program serves teens and young adults who struggle to find their way in the traditional education system. Since 1994, high school dropouts aged 16-24 were assisted in successful transition to adulthood through an alternative education model that includes HiSET exam preparation, construction skills training, leadership development, job skills, and life skills. Through YBA, young adults obtain important certifications including NCCER, OSHA-10, ServSafe, and more. Most advance toward postsecondary education or career-oriented employment. In addition to the program itself, one year of follow-up services support graduates’ transition to education and work.
WIOA Title ID National Farmworker (NFJP) $0.20     $0.20 USDOL The National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) provides  workforce development services and training assistance to migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their dependents.
WIOA Title ID Indian and Native American (INA) Program $0.20     $0.20 USDOL The purpose of WIOA Indian and Native American (INA) programs is to support employment and training activities in order to: develop more fully the academic, occupational, and literacy skills of such individuals; make such individuals more competitive in the workforce and to equip them with entrepreneurial skills necessary for successful self-employment; and promote the economic and social development of INA communities in accordance with their goals and values.
Federal Bonding Program $0.30     $0.30 USDOL The USDOL established the federal bonding program in 1966 to provide fidelity bonds for “at-risk,” hard-to-place job seekers. The bonds cover the first six months of employment at no cost to the job applicant or the employer.
  Federal State Other Total    
Totals in millions $32.6 $8.1 $4.9 $45.6    
Percentages 71% 18% 11%      

*Program funding is sporadic.

In addition to core partner programs and other employment and training programs, the University of Maine System (UMS), the Maine Community College System (MCCS), Maine’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Maine Quality Centers (MQC) provide education programs to prepare participants for success in careers and the workforce. As shown in Table 7, below, these programs represent more than $440 million in annual public funding, 80 percent of which are state funds.

With seven campuses and annual enrollment of more than 40,000, the UMS represents a foundational component of the state’s postsecondary education system. The university system offers associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees as well as a selection of specialized undergraduate and graduate certificates. See Appendix D for a list of Maine’s public and private colleges.

Maine’s network of seven community colleges has a combined enrollment of more than 18,000 of which 94 percent are Maine residents. 65 percent of these students attend part time. The MCCS offers certificate, diploma and associate degree programs directed at the educational, occupational, and technical needs of Maine residents as well as the workforce needs of employers. The goals of the MCCS are to create an educated, skilled, and adaptable labor force responsive to the changing needs of the economy, and to promote local, regional, and statewide economic development. See Appendix D for a list of Maine’s public and private colleges.

The UMS and MCCS have been working together to develop an ecosystem around micro-credentials/digital badges which are employer recognized. With the support of MDOL and other partners, the UMS received a $350,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to enhance this ecosystem and focus on engaging people of color, low income, Native Americans and incarcerated individuals.

Additionally, the UMS and MCCS have been engaged in a regional and national project to improve the transparency of available credentials and educational opportunities through a searchable, centralized credential registry, Credential Engine. New England Board of Higher Education received a grant of $650,000 to launch High Value Credentials for New England (HVCNE) in partnership with Credential Engine. HVCNE will provide individuals, institutions, state policy leaders and employers the tools to:

  • Develop a common language to describe credentials
  • Evaluate credentials’ value
  • Identify critical education and employment pipelines
  • Understand the skills and competencies obtained in earning a credential

The mission of Maine’s CTE program is to ensure that students acquire the high-quality technical skills that will prepare them for postsecondary education, entry into an ever-changing workplace and society, and to meet the rigorous academic standards of Maine's Learning Results. Students benefit from this integrated system of academic and applied learning.

MQC provide customized workforce training grants to employers who are either seeking to locate or expand their operations in Maine or who are interested in providing training to their incumbent workers. Training programs are coordinated and delivered through Maine’s seven community colleges, and other service and training providers as needed.

In conjunction with the MCCS and MQC, Bath Iron Works (BIW) established a tuition-free training program at the former Brunswick Landing Naval Air Station. Using one of the former airplane hangars, participants get training and exposure to the facets of welding, pipe fitting, insulation and painting in the ship building industry. Acknowledging the difficulties of transportation for some students, housing for the four-week program can also be provided on site. BIW has an agreement to interview successful Maine Job Corps welding students for positions at BIW as they prepare to transition out of Job Corps.

Addressing the workforce development challenges that confront Maine will require coordination and partnership across employment and training programs and education institutions, as well as a commitment to measuring the employment outcomes of program participants. Recognizing the need for greater levels of alignment, the UMS, MCCS and MDOL formed a data sharing partnership to evaluate the employment outcomes of college students. As part of this relationship, the university and community colleges send student records to MDOL where they are matched with  corresponding wage records. MDOL then formulates employment and wage outcomes by credential, area of study, and school. These efforts, funded by grants from the USDOL and Maine Department of Education, have resulted in the development of Maine Education and Attainment Research Navigation system or MaineEARNS. This system has since expanded to include Adult Education and vocational rehabilitation programs. MaineEARNS is expected to play an integral role in measuring and providing outcomes information that drives program evaluation and policy decisions.

Maine’s Public Sector Investment (in Millions) in Workforce Development; Other Publicly Funded Education Programs

Program Federal State Other  SFY19 Funding Overseeing Agency Program Description
Career and Technical Education (CTE) (secondary) $2.30 $56.50   $58.80 MDOE As part of the Maine Department of Education's ongoing commitment to support all learners, Maine Career and Technical Education (CTE) aims to ensure that students acquire the high-quality, industry-recognized technical skills and related academic standards that will prepare them for postsecondary education and entry into an ever-changing workplace and society.
University of Maine System (UMS) $54.50 $230.90 $28.80 $314.20 UMS The University of Maine System (UMS) offers associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees (including the JD degree) as well as a selection of specialized undergraduate and graduate certificates. The UMS currently is developing a series of micro credentials specific to 21st century work ready and technical skills and is working across the state to develop a statewide approach to this. The UMS features seven universities —some with multiple campuses—located across the state, as well as eight University College outreach centers, a law school, 31 additional course sites, and Cooperative Extension. It has an annual enrollment of nearly 30,000 students in credit bearing programs and serves over 500,000 individuals annually through educational and cultural offerings, including non-credit continuing education and professional development programming.
Maine Community College System (MCCS) $4.70 $70.00   $74.70 MCCS The mission of the Maine Community College System (MCCS) is to provide associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs directed at the educational, occupational, and technical needs of the state’s citizens and the workforce needs of the state’s employers. The primary goals of the MCCS are to create an educated, skilled and adaptable labor force responsive to changing economic needs and to promote local, regional and statewide economic development. 
Maine Quality Centers (MQC)   $0.90   $0.90 MCCS The Maine Quality Centers (MQC) program funds customized workforce training delivered through Maine’s seven community colleges. MQC grants are available to fund pre-hire, post-hire, and incumbent worker training. The program is designed to ensure that businesses have the qualified workers they need to succeed. Grant limits for incumbent worker training are based on company size. Employers with 1-50 employees may apply for 100 percent funding. Employers with 51-100 employees may apply for 75 percent funding, with a 25 percent company match. Employers with 101+ employees may apply for 50 percent funding, with a 50 percent company match. Other customized training is provided at no cost to either the business or trainee.
  Federal State Other Total    
Totals in millions $61.5 $358.3 $28.8 $448.6    
Percentages 14% 80% 6%      


Additional Publicly Funded Programs

The state correctional system, and Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment (ASPIRE), and Food Supplement Employment & Training programs provide workforce development activities to inmates, manufacturing employers and low-income adults. Details of these programs are provided below. Please note that the following table does not represent all publicly funded DHHS programs for employment supports with individuals with significant disabilities.

Maine’s Public Sector Investment (in Millions) in Workforce Development; Additional Publicly-Funded Programs

Program Federal State Other  SFY19 Funding Overseeing Agency Program Description
State Correctional System $0.20 $3.20 $1.30 $4.70 MDOC Provides programs and services to reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) $9.40 $3.60 $0.20 $13.20 U.S. Dept. of Commerce Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) leverage a vast array of public and private resources and services that are available to every manufacturing enterprise in Maine. The nationwide system of MEP centers is linked through the U.S. Department of Commerce - National Institute of Standards and Technology, with the common goal to strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers. MEP's mission is to become the state's premier provider of growth-based solutions for Maine's small and medium sized manufacturers; and its vision is to create profitable growth opportunities for small and medium sized manufacturers by helping them become more efficient, productive and globally competitive.
Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment (ASPIRE) $20.10 $7.10   $27.20 DHHS DHHS’s  Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment (ASPIRE) program is the training and employment program serving TANF recipients by developing individualized employment plans and providing supports which lead to successful transition to employment. 
Food Supplement Employment & Training (FSET) $0.80 $0.50   $1.30 DHHS DHHS administers Maine’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), including employment and training activities (E&T) provided by MDOL at CareerCenters. Maine’s E&T program is known as the Food Supplement Employment and Training (FSET) Program.
Higher Opportunity for Pathways to Employment (HOPE) $2.20 $0.10   $2.30 DHHS Higher Opportunities for Pathways to Employment (HOPE) is administered by DHHS to assist low income families. HOPE provides financial assistance and campus-based navigators to support families and help them to achieve education goals leading towards employment.
  Federal State Other Total    
Totals in millions $32.7 $14.5 $1.5 $48.7    
Percentages 67% 30% 3%      

***National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP)


Maine’s Public Sector Investment in Workforce Development; Summary

  Federal State Other Total
Core Partner Programs (in millions) $31.00 $14.20 $11.67 $56.80
Other Publicly Funded Education and Training (in millions) $32.58 $8.09 $4.91 $45.58
Other Publicly Funded Education and Training (in millions) $61.50 $358.30 $28.80 $448.60
Additional Public Funded Programs (in millions) $32.70 $14.50 $1.50 $48.70
Totals $157.78 $395.09 $46.81 $599.68

II.(a.2.B)Strengths and Weaknesses of Workforce Development Activities

Strengths and weaknesses of Maine’s workforce development activities are discussed below. These attributes and characteristics reflect the views of the core partners and the WIOA Steering Committee.


  • Commitment and willingness among the core partners and other stakeholders to build a better workforce development system. Partners are committed to continuing and enhancing coordination and integration so that the people of Maine are better served. This commitment to bring the shared vision to fruition is foundational to repositioning Maine’s workforce development system
  • Quality of service, programs and operations
  • Accessibility to stakeholders, business leaders and key decision makers. Collaboration and partnering are core strengths of Maine’s workforce development system activities. Maine’s close-knit workforce development communities foster an environment where business relationships can be easily maintained, resources mobilized quickly and access to key decision makers is abundant. This is a state with relatively little bureaucracy, which fosters access to decision makers and resources
  • Apprenticeship program is successful in expansion by working with industry organizations to reach large and small businesses statewide
  • Maine’s relatively small population and lean infrastructure enables collaboration between service providers without layers of bureaucracy. For example, Bath Iron Works has been working with the Maine Community College System and Maine Quality Centers in the development of welding programs and guarantees an interview to anyone who completes the program.


  • Maine’s large geographic size and dispersed population present barriers to the efficient delivery of services. Rural communities in Maine struggle with higher than average unemployment rates. Delivering services to these rural areas is a challenge. Moreover, limited public transportation networks make it difficult for many to access employment opportunities.
  • Maine’s workforce development, education and training activities are governed by multiple state and federal agencies. This often results in coordination and alignment challenges. Maine is taking steps to better coordinate activities, starting with the creation of a statewide vision and goals for the workforce development system
  • Individual and employer awareness of the workforce system and available opportunities, as well as how to access them continues to be less than desirable
  • There are misconceptions about Maine’s demographic challenges and the future workforce needs. While Maine is projected to have relatively flat job and workforce growth through 2026, there will be an estimated 73,000 jobs openings in Maine each year, largely to replace others as older Mainers leave the workforce
  • Most stakeholders recognize the importance of using valid and reliable information to drive decision making, program evaluation and to support policy initiatives. Unfortunately, the core partners are currently working with three separate and discreet management information systems. The realities of current financial constraints leave the state without the means to develop a robust system for integrating data.
  • Maine has limited financial resources with which to address its many workforce development challenges. WIOA program funds are allocated to states based on population size and unemployment levels. Maine’s outlying counties are geographically large with comparatively small populations that are struggling with unemployment considerably higher than the state average rate. Delivering needed services to these individuals is costly and not effectively supported in the funding model. In addition, program administration funds are capped at 5 percent resulting in low levels of funding to cover fixed costs required to remain in compliance with administrative activities. Rural, less populous states such as Maine are at a “small state disadvantage.”: they receive substantially fewer funds to support system costs comparable to large states and higher delivery costs.

II.(a.2.C) State Workforce Development Capacity

The range of workforce development programs and activities previously described represent a significant investment of both human and capital resources into Maine’s workforce development system. Since the implementation of its unified plan, the state has made concerted efforts to increase interagency collaboration to better coordinate federal employment services and training for adults, dislocated workers and youth, and adult education, as well as create additional access points for vocational rehabilitation services. These activities resulted in a developed network of physical assets, including strategically located one-stop affiliate centers; seven community colleges and seven university campuses. In addition, Maine’s workforce development system includes 76 local adult and basic education sites across the state.

While Maine’s workforce development system contains a robust network of partnerships, it must continue the development of additional partnerships in order to reach people and businesses for which the distance to an access point is prohibitive. Two strategic partnerships are with the DHHS, which provides TANF services across the state, and with the network of libraries, which consists of approximately 260 public libraries across the state. By partnering with these entities, Maine’s workforce development system will be able to reach more communities, people and businesses in the next four years.

In addition, technology will facilitate service delivery. Maine’s economic strategic plan calls for the substantial expansion of broadband. Once implemented, this will enable Maine residents and businesses to access workforce and other online services that will allow them to thrive. More specific to the workforce development system, three of the core partners have jointly developed Workforce Opportunities, Referrals, and Knowledge Services (W.O.R.K. Services), an online portal that will allow people, either independently or with staff support, to assess their employment needs, research next steps, and find services in their area. At launch, information on services include: job matching, resume and interviewing preparation, services for veterans, services for people with disabilities, and, training through adult Additional partners will be added, with a vision of being a one-stop online portal for all workforce development system services.