Our own Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) has introduced a measure to strengthen employment opportunities for workers in the state. The bill would expand and improve the Maine Apprenticeship Program, a successful, nationally recognized workforce development initiative.

 “A well-trained workforce is essential to economic development for our state, and apprenticeship is an effective strategy for targeted workforce development and investment,” said Senator Vitelli. “Because apprenticeships are built around labor market demand and employers’ needs, they ensure the development of skilled workers in emerging and growing industries.”

 The Maine Apprenticeship Program is a formal, employer-provided, nationally recognized workforce training program that combines specific on-the-job skill building with formal course work. On average, the Maine Apprenticeship Program leveraged nearly 111 times its taxpayer investment. Apprentices who completed their programs during 2012 saw an average wage increase of 62% from program start to program end.

 Senator Vitelli’s bill would strengthen the Maine Apprenticeship Program’s outreach efforts to recruit new employers and inform unemployed and other workers about apprenticeship opportunities.

 The measure would also create a stakeholders group to study best practices around the country to avoid layoffs and propose a comprehensive strategy for Maine.

 “While we are doing many things right to help people keep their jobs, there is always room for improvement,” added Senator Vitelli. “We have much to gain from studying other state efforts.”

 The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee will hold a work session on the bill, LD 1658, “An Act To Expand and Improve Employment Opportunities in the State,” later this session.


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