Four recent employer-led professional development initiatives bridge the gap between education and employment, drawing Maine people of all ages toward high-demand competencies and careers that match their interests and passions.
Leadership Maine -- Maine Sparks
Leadership Maine is an annual program of the Maine Development Foundation. In 2012, the workforce team proposed a data-driven, crowdsourced campaign to help Maine people find high-demand careers that match their interests.
- Website: mainesparks.net
- In-depth insights: Campaign Proposal | Sample videos
- Opportunity: A website, mobile app, and a network of professionals sharing their career passions to help Maine people align education and employment with interests
In 2013, leading Maine employers launched a data-driven campaign to expand the network of computing and IT professionals in Maine. In the first 3 years, the program expanded from higher education to K-12 and adult education.
- Website: projectlogin.com
- In-depth insights: Introduction | Report to the Maine Workforce Board | Competencies for College, Career, Community | US/Maine DOL Data on Computing Occupations
- Opportunity: Further develop the model and apply it to high-demand professions
TechHire Designation and Grant
In 2015, the White House recognized Maine as a leader in education-employer partnerships in its second round of TechHire designations. In 2016, Maine received a $4 million grant to implement the curiosity-to-career model through employers, workforce agencies, non-profits, and educational institutions.
- Websites: techhire.org | projectlogin.com/techhire-maine
- In-depth insights: Project Login Invited to White House for TechHire Designation
- Opportunity: Grow connections with organizations and employers around the country
UNE Academy of Digital Sciences
In 2016, UNE brought the curiosity-to-career approach to the Portland campus and, in less than a year, launched the non-credit Academy professional development program for non-traditional learners in southern Maine and remote learners in other regions of Maine. The one-year pilot drew 72 course enrollments in six 8-week sessions.
- Websites: une.edu/academy | uneacademy.org
- In-depth insights: Orientation Guide
- Webcast: Talent Development and the Future of Work (ATD, excerpts)
- Opportunity: Replicate and scale to students of all ages across regions for multiple high-demand occupational groups
Featured image by Bhushan Sadani on Unsplash