Mobilize Maine breaks down barriers between workforce and economic development systems
Since its official kickoff, the Mobilize Maine effort has produced a number of notable successes, according to Mark Ouellette, Director of Business Development, State of Maine, Department of Economic and Community Development. None has been as significant as the alignment of workforce and economic development systems in two regions that cover over 50% of the state. For the first time, workforce development and economic development barriers are being broken down to build additional capacity and efficiencies, while delivering better service for job seekers and employers. Nationwide, only six other districts have achieved similar results, according to Mr. Ouellette.
In the most northern part of the state, Northern Maine Development Corporation (NMDC), the federally designated economic development district (EDD), has taken over the fiduciary responsibility of the Department of Labor Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB). In addition, the state is undertaking a realignment of the EDDs that, in Northern Maine, will combine the NMDC’s and the LWIB’s area of jurisdiction.
In the eastern-central part of the state, the federally designated EDD, Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC), and the local Department of Labor LWIB have created what may become a national model. In addition to having the EMDC act as the fiduciary of the LWIB, the LWIB has contracted with EMDC to deliver workforce development programs and services. Several Labor Department representatives have visited Maine to monitor and ask questions about this model.
According to Mr. Ouellette, these developments are a direct result of VE’s work with the Mobilize Maine process in these regions.