From Curiosity to Career, Passion to Profession

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:
  • In-depth insights: Campaign Proposal 
  • Opportunity: A website, mobile app, and a network of professionals sharing their career passions to help Maine people align education and employment with interests

Project Login

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.

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.

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.