VE Workforce Model Deployed in Maine

The VE Workforce Center of Excellence (WCOE) Short Term Training Model has been deployed in Northern and Southern Maine to quickly address immediate industry workforce shortfalls. Unfilled positions have been a challenge across the entire country, resulting in lost business revenues and regional GDP.

The WCOE model address immediate industry workforce needs by taking an aggregated approach that include education providers, prospects and businesses. The key component of the model is the definition of a “qualified prospect,” which creates a prescreen filter and the four-week training curriculum. Business, education and workforce providers collaborate to provide funding, facilities, training design, support and employment.

In York County, Maine, the VE WCOE model worked with 10 employers, the York County Community College, the Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB), Maine Quality Centers and regional adult education providers to initiate and execute a 10-Week manufacturing training program for those employers.  After two training rounds, more than 25 completed the program and all but two were hired.

“Working with Mobilize Maine and the WCOE that ViTAL Economy provided, we have a program that we are making a permanent part of the YCCC curriculum,” commented Paulette Millette, YCCC Director of Community Education and Career Training.

In Aroostook & Washington Counties, the LWIB adopted this model and deployed a short-term training plan for the forest product industry sector.  Partners, including the Maine Department of Labor, Aroostook County Action Program, Maine Department of Health & Human Services, Northern Maine Community College, Adult Education and others worked closely with industry professionals to define a qualified prospect description for potential hires.  Two positive recruitment events were held to assess and screen interested applicants.

Currently, the community college is developing a training program with one of the companies to provide employees with requisite skills.  Approximately 30 individuals will receive training provided through a Maine Quality Center grant. NMDC is working with the company to obtain a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant matched by a company contribution of $51,000 to help train 60 individuals at a new mill.  The WCOE model is an excellent way to break down silos among workforce partners and promote effective collaboration to ensure that employees have the right skill set.

“When we have all of the parties together at the same ‘table’ with common goals, we are successful.  When we have everyone working within their ‘silos’ and competing for some imaginary benefit, everyone loses,” said Torry Eaton, Aroostook Community Action Partnership.