Gov. Janet Mills announces $12.3 million expansion of statewide apprenticeship programs

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Jun. 4—LEWISTON — Gov. Janet Mills on Friday announced $12.3 million in grants to 14 organizations to expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs across Maine.

At a stop at Lewiston Adult Education, one of the grantees, Mills said the funding comes primarily from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The money is expected to more than double the number of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship slots in the state to 3,000.

Mills called the programs a "win-win" for the state. "They're a win for our working people, they're a win for employers, they're a win for our economy," she said.

Apprenticeship programs offer young adults the opportunity to learn a skill or trade through paid, on-the-job training combined with classroom instruction in areas, including health care, construction, plumbing, heating/ventilation/air conditioning, welding, shipbuilding and marine, and engineering.

"Apprentices in Maine, who completed their program in the last two years increased their wages, on average, by nearly 40%, even during the height of the pandemic," Mills said.

She added that 94% of apprentices stayed with the employer who sponsored them after graduating. The executive director of the AFL-CIO pointed out that at the end of an apprenticeship, individuals have little or no debt, they earn a degree or certification and have a good-paying job.

The funding is also expected to add 150 new employer sponsors, more than doubling the number in existence. The 14 organizations awarded funds will partner with the Maine Department of Labor's Registered Apprenticeship Program to expand or develop new apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. One such expansion is the addition of the state's first roofing and siding apprenticeship, which will be established and run by Industrial Roofing Co. based in Lewiston. Other new areas of training include hospitality and culinary arts and health care.

The 14 organizations awarded grants are:

Associated General Contractors of Maine: It will develop a pre-apprenticeship immersion program, designed for local graduating high school students as an introduction to trades, as well as expand apprenticeship programs for new crane operator, heavy highway construction laborer, commercial carpenter and electrician.

Educate Maine: In partnership with Jackson Laboratory, Hancock County Technical Center, MDI Adult Education and Regional School Unit 24 Adult Education in Sullivan, Educate Maine plans to develop infrastructure pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to lead into occupations such as HVAC technician, maintenance mechanic and stationary engineer.

Foster Career and Technical Education Center: The Farmington school plans to become an intermediary sponsor of apprenticeship to serve high school students through the development of a new pre-apprenticeship program that will include core academics and basic skill-building and connect to registered apprenticeship opportunities under development with local employers in construction, health care, manufacturing and culinary arts.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works: In partnership with Southern Maine Community College, BIW will expand its manufacturing technician pre-apprenticeship program to increase the pipeline of individuals for its apprenticeship programs.

Gorham School District: Gorham School District plans to expand its training programs for current high school students into pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship offerings for certified nursing assistant, commercial driver's licensed driver and early childhood educator programs.

HospitalityMaine Education Foundation: It aims to develop seven new apprenticeship occupations for the hospitality industry, including event planner and manager, kitchen manager, lodging manager and accounting technician, and increase the uptake of apprenticeship opportunities within the hospitality industry by supporting several employers in becoming sub-sponsors of apprenticeship.

Industrial Roofing Co.: The Lewiston company will establish a new registered apprenticeship program in roofing to certify trainers as National Center for Construction Education & Research instructors to deliver NCCER training and certification for new apprentices.

Lewiston Adult Education/Lewiston Public Schools: Plans are to become a registered intermediary apprenticeship sponsor and create pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades and health care occupations, including personal support specialist, certified nursing assistant and medical assistant.

Maine AFL-CIO: In partnership with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1253 in Newport, New England Laborers Training Academy, Maine Building and Construction Trades Council and Regional School Unit 19 in Newport, Maine AFL-CIO plans to develop three new pre-apprenticeship programs focused on providing multicraft core curriculum.

MaineHealth: MaineHealth will develop pre-apprenticeship tracks for phlebotomy, certified nursing assistant and medical assistant and expand outreach to increase enrollment in apprenticeship programs.

Portland Adult Education: It will create pre-apprenticeship opportunities in health care and clean energy in partnership with ReVision Energy, MaineHealth, and Northern Light Health, with a focus on providing opportunities for nonnative English speakers.

ReVision Energy: An apprenticeship sponsor since 2019, it will expand apprenticeship programming through enhancing its existing electrician apprenticeship program and expanding into three new occupations: customer service, technical sales and operations management through partnerships with Portland Adult Education and Learning Works.

Somerset Career & Technical Center: It will hire an apprenticeship navigator to expand apprenticeship programming and develop a new pre-apprenticeship program that will enable more students to be hired as apprentices in banking, insurance, HVAC, business management, and other fields.

Washington County Community College: It will hire an apprenticeship navigator to expand apprenticeship capacity and support apprentices and pre-apprentices in many fields, including aquaculture, retail and health care.