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Governor Mills Announces New Maine Jobs and Stimulus Package Initiative to Strengthen Maine’s Healthcare Workforce

New $21 Million Healthcare Training for ME Program Expands Availability of Free, Low-Cost Skills Training for Healthcare Workers and Employers

Governor Janet Mills today announced the launch of Healthcare Training for ME, an initiative of her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to strengthen Maine’s healthcare workforce by expanding the availability of free job training and low cost to help healthcare workers advance their careers, meet the workforce training needs of healthcare employers, and attract new workers to fast-growing fields.

Through the new Healthcare Training for ME website, individuals and employers can connect to training from employers and education partners, such as adult education programs, community colleges and the university system. Individuals and employers can then apply for tuition assistance to enroll in training programs or provide training for their employees at little or no cost.

The initiative is a partnership between the Maine Department of Labor, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Community College System, and the University of Maine System. It is supported by $21 million from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which includes $8.5 million allocated to the DOL and $12.5 million allocated to the Maine Community College System for workforce training.

“The health care sector is one of Maine’s largest employers, putting thousands of Maine people to work in well-paying jobs that protect the health of Maine residents. But for a long time, healthcare facilities across the state have faced a shortage of workers, and the pandemic has only made the problem worse,” said Governor’s Mills. “These new training programs will make it easier and cheaper for people, especially young people, to pursue health careers and move up the career ladder into better paying jobs, which supports our employers around the world. health sector and strengthen our health workforce. long-term.”

“The Maine Department of Labor is committed to connecting the people of our state to well-paying, in-demand jobs. This new partnership and centralized website will be an essential resource for healthcare employers and employees looking to advance their skills and those of their workforce,” said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. “Healthcare training opportunities can now be found in one easy-to-navigate place, and healthcare workers can potentially access career advancement training at little or no cost to them or their employer.”

“The health of the people of Maine and the health of our economy depends on a strong, high-quality health care system,” said Jeanne Lambew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “The cornerstone of our health care system are skilled professionals whose knowledge, training and compassion keep the people of Maine healthy. The Healthcare Training for ME program will attract more people to these valuable professions and help them advance in their careers, a central goal of Governor Mills’ strategy to strengthen Maine’s healthcare workforce now and in the future. the future.

“We are proud to join in this effort to provide additional pathways for those wishing to pursue careers as healthcare professionals. Maine’s adult education programs have years of experience providing industry-recognized training and opportunities to launch healthcare workforce careers,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education. “Healthcare Training For Me helps streamline access to these trainings and opportunities while expanding collaboration with employers and higher education programs to provide more advanced training and employment opportunities.” By working directly with healthcare employers in areas such as long-term care, emergency services, hospitals, behavioral health and dental care, Healthcare Training for ME aims to improve the training of workforce and retention rates. For current healthcare workers, the program provides free or low-cost pathways to new skills and advanced credentials, particularly through short-term training options. Future healthcare workers can access information, training and other support to start their careers.

Starting today, healthcare employers with fewer than 100 employees in their system who accept MaineCare can apply for training funds to address staff recruitment and retention issues stemming from the pandemic. All employers and individuals can begin applying for training funds on May 2, 2022.

Leaders from Maine’s healthcare industry, colleges and universities hailed the launch of Healthcare Training for ME as a vital and innovative program to help strengthen Maine’s essential healthcare workforce following the disruption of the pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the value of Maine’s hospital workforce and the benefits of healthcare professions,” said Steven Michaud, president of the Maine Hospital Association. “Across Maine, hospital staff have saved lives and provided high-quality care to their local communities. The HealthCare Training for ME program will help attract more people to these occupations and retain current workers, as part of of the Mills administration’s broader strategy to invest in and strengthen Maine’s health care workforce.

“The two most important indicators of pandemic recovery in Maine nursing homes and assisted living communities are strong staffing and occupancy,” said Angela Westoff, president and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association. “COVID-19 continues to strain these related factors and our members remain concerned about staff burnout, staff turnover and a mass departure from care delivery. The MHCA is pleased to partner with the administration on concrete recruitment and retention solutions, such as Healthcare Training for Me, that will encourage, inspire and cultivate the next generation of Maine healthcare professionals.

“As the largest producer of professional healthcare personnel in the state, the University of Maine system looks forward to this partnership,” said Dannel Malloy, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “The new Healthcare Training for ME initiative will help more Mainers pursue well-paying jobs caring for their communities through high-quality healthcare education and training that improves their own social mobility and health outcomes. healthcare in rural Maine.”

“Maine’s community college short-term health care programs were designed in partnership with medical partners across the state, ensuring learners acquire exactly the skills needed for today’s workplace. Not only do we have great nursing programs and other 2-year programs, but we are using Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan funds to significantly expand our short-term healthcare training courses,” said Dan Belea, director of workforce development at the Maine Community College System. “The Healthcare Training for ME program exemplifies the response needed to provide a skilled workforce for high-demand healthcare positions, and the need to act quickly and collaboratively. Our short-term training includes real-time opportunities and the fast track where learners can earn a valuable degree and enter the workforce within months.

“The past few years have been truly unprecedented in the growth and complexity of needs in the behavioral health field. Clinicians and staff had to work long hours and carry heavy loads all over Maine,” said Malory Shaughnessy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services. “Alliance members are encouraged by the Mills administration developing and advancing new workforce initiatives in the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. Looking forward, we hope these new training resources in ME healthcare for providers and staff will meet current needs and solve our long-standing labor shortages. We are delighted to work with the administration on this and with their broader efforts in matters of health personnel.

Healthcare Training for ME is part of a series of initiatives from Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to invest in the state’s healthcare workforce. Upcoming programs include scholarships and student loan relief for people in health professions; new recruitment efforts to encourage young people to pursue careers in health care; and the creation of healthcare career navigators to help those interested in healthcare fields determine the career path that is right for them.

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.

It draws heavily on the recommendations of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the state’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, turning them into concrete actions to improve the lives of Maine residents and strengthen the economy.

To learn more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.

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