BANGOR, Maine — Jobs Now for Maine Vets, a new private-sector job training initiative, kicked off with a video presentation to business leaders at the Maine State Chamber of Commerceâ€™s annual awards dinner. Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber (http://www.mainechamber.org), announced the initiative as a partnership between his organization and the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Maine MEP; www.mainemep.org).
Speaking to an audience of more than 400 business leaders at the Bangor Civic Center, Connors stated that workforce development would be a key issue for the Maine State Chamber in the coming year. As part of its commitment to strengthening Maineâ€™s economic growth, the Chamber is co-sponsoring the Jobs Now for Maine Vets (www.jobsformainevets.org) initiative. He called upon businesses throughout the state to join the Chamber in supporting the initiative.
The Maine State Chamber plans to focus particular attention on the problem of unemployed veterans.
But the current economic climate has created problems for Maine veterans as they attempt to transition back to the civilian workforce.
The unemployment rate for veterans is significantly higher than for the general population. For younger veterans, the job challenges are particularly severe. In September 2011, more than one-third of all veterans under age 25 were out of work, as the nationwide unemployment rate for this group topped 35 percent.
As a condition for utilizing the training program, the employer must agree to extend an offer of employment to all successful graduates. The trainees then enter an intensive two-week targeted skills training program aboard a high-tech mobile classroom brought to the employerâ€™s place of business. Upon completion of the training class, the trainees graduate and immediately enter their new full-time jobs. On-the-Job training and mentoring by the M.O.S.T.Â® team for an additional six months develops employee proficiency and helps ensure a high job retention rate, which is critical to employers.
This customized mobile training program has proved to be a success in states where it has been implemented, with a training completion rate of 97 percent, a job placement rate of 95 percent; and a job retention rate after six months of 91 percent. These results far exceed the placement and retention rates of traditional job training programs at only a fraction of the cost per job.
The Maine State Chamber President noted that the Jobs Now for Maine Vets initiative will complement a national initiative sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to encourage companies to step up and hire veterans.
â€śThe Maine State Chamberâ€™s co-sponsorship of Jobs Now for Maine Vets is one way in which weâ€™re supporting the national initiative to Hire Our Heroes,â€ť said Connors.
Hiring our Heroes (www.uschamber.com/veterans) is a nationwide program launched earlier this year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Working with state and regional chambers, it hosts job fairs for veterans and military spouses in an effort to encourage companies to hire veterans. Its goal is to match veteransâ€™ talents with career opportunities in the private sector.
The program has now begun working with manufacturers to identify job training needs and is calling upon companies across the state to provide financial support for the initiative.
For more information about the Jobs Now for Maine Vets,Â contact the Maine MEP by calling 623-0680, or by visiting www.jobsformainevets.org.
Contact Name: David Bragdon or Muriel Mosher, Maine MEP
Telephone Number: (207)623-0680