Governor Mills Announces $25 Million Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to Provide Paid Work Experiences for Maine Students

Career Exploration Program to Connect 6,000 Youth to Paid Opportunities with Maine Employers to Strengthen Maine’s Workforce

Bath, MAINE Governor Janet Mills today announced the Maine Career Exploration program, a two-year, $25 million initiative of her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to connect 6,000 Maine youth to future career opportunities by funding lifelong learning experiences. paid work with employers across the state.

By providing paid work experiences to Maine youth ages 16-24, the Maine Career Exploration Program will connect thousands of students to the workforce in the fields that interest them through work opportunities. with Maine employers. In addition to work experience, students can also earn college credits through the program.

The Maine Career Exploration program is a recommendation of Maine’s 10-year economic development strategy (PDF), unveiled by Governor Mills in 2019, to support Maine’s goal of adding 75,000 workers to the workforce. Maine’s work by 2030. The program is led by the Department of Economics and Community Development in partnership with the Department of Education, Department of Labor and the Governor’s Office for Children.

The Governor today announced the Maine Career Exploration program at Morse High School in Bath. Schools in Bath, Brunswick and Topsham have used employment plan funds to create a regional internship program, in partnership with the Midcoast Chamber of Commerce, to provide students with on-the-job learning experiences in local businesses.

“Through the Maine Career Exploration Program, high school students will gain meaningful, hands-on work experiences at local businesses that will prepare them for success in careers right here in Maine, strengthening our workforce. long-term work, said Governor Janet Mills. “My administration will continue to address Maine’s longstanding labor shortage by ensuring our students have the skills and our businesses have the workers they need to succeed.”

“Our state needs to add 75,000 new workers by the end of the decade to keep our economy strong. Preparing Maine students to succeed in the job market is key to achieving this goal,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Ministry of Economic and Community Development. “Maine Career Exploration will introduce thousands of Maine students to future employment options, giving them real-world work experience and supporting our business community at the same time.”

“By expanding the real world and engaging learning opportunities with Maine employers, the Career Exploration Program will help students explore career options, develop essential work and life skills, and plan for their future. “, said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Ministry of Education. “These opportunities are also important for strengthening Maine’s workforce and building connections between schools and local businesses.”

“JMG’s mission is to identify students who face barriers to education and guide each on a successful path to lifelong education, meaningful careers, and productive adult lives.“, said Craig Larrabee, President and CEO of JMG. “Our commitment is to equitably expand opportunities for students who need it most, especially those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With this funding, JMG will support more than 4,000 high school and senior students , in all sixteen counties of the state, by engaging with Maine employers to gain meaningful experience in the labor market.”

“This funding will significantly improve the quality of our Mt. Ararat High School Community Pathways program. Most importantly, we will be able to provide many more meaningful and engaging learning experiences to help students pursue their dreams, interests, passions, and aspirations,” said Douglas Ware, community learning coordinator at Mt. Ararat Secondary School in Topsham.

“Governor Mills and her administration saw the need for workers, heard the businesses and schools, and made the incredible choice to invest in some of Maine’s best problem solvers – our teachers, administrators and CEOs”, said Cory King, executive director of the Midcoast Chamber of Commerce. “Investing in this program through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan helps make this concept of paid, meaningful work for students a possibility.”

The career exploration program has three main components:

Awards to Schools and School Districts

The Maine Department of Education has awarded more than $5.6 million to 26 school districts, schools, adult education programs, and colleges create or expand extended learning opportunities for students, which include paid work experiences.

Here are some examples of these efforts:

  • The Aroostook County Action Program and the Eastern Maine Development Corporation will provide paid work experiences for youth in northern and eastern Maine. Career exploration funds will be used to strengthen and expand existing workforce and training programs through new partnerships with employers, reaching students who do not qualify for existing programs, and providing support services to meet transportation and technology needs.
  • In RSU 13 in Rockland, students will explore different career paths and learn basic job search skills and financial literacy. Following these courses, students will participate in 10-week internships in local companies.
  • Telstar Middle High School in Bethel will develop workforce opportunities for students in grades 9-12. These include job shadowing, professional immersions with employers, credit-generating experiences, career camps during school holidays, and local internship programs.

Jobs for Maine Graduates

  • Career Exploration Program funding will support the expansion of extended learning opportunities, paid work experiences, and coaching now offered by Jobs for Maine Graduates for rising juniors and seniors at 90 Maine high schools .

Community organizations

  • Through the Governor’s Office for Children, five community organizations in Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Penobscot and Aroostook counties will help disadvantaged youth access paid work opportunities and valuable work experience.

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine residents and families, help businesses, create well-paying jobs and build an economy. ready for future prosperity.

In the past year since the jobs plan took effect, the Mills administration has provided direct economic assistance to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects throughout the to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs that are expected to provide apprenticeships, career and educational advancement, and job training opportunities for 22,000 people in Maine.

Read a full report of the jobs plan investments over the past year here. To learn more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit

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