Internship and Apprenticeship Opportunities May Help to Curtail Great Resignation’s Impact in Maine

Brian Whitney MTI President

Happy New Year!

We have heard a great deal over the past couple of years about the “Great Resignation,” what the Wall Street Journal recently referred to as the term that applied to record levels of unfilled jobs in the pandemic era. Hiring managers across Maine and the nation are searching for solutions to help them find, attract, and secure the much-needed talent to sustain and grow their enterprises.  While there are no silver bullets, there are several resources that employers can access to help them develop the talent pipeline they need.  And, the deadline for participation in those programs is approaching quickly. So, don’t delay.

First, I would encourage employers to look at the Innovate for Maine Fellows Program.  The Innovate for Maine Fellows Program offers paid summer fellowships to college students with the goal of “growing Maine companies and a talent pool who can see a future in Maine and are invested in creating it.”  The program is open to any student that attends a Maine college or university, as well as Maine residents who are attending a college or university outside of the state.  Students of any academic major and class year are eligible to participate.

Host companies interested in employing fellows need to apply by March 7, 2022.  Students interested in becoming a fellow for the summer also need to meet the March 7, 2022 application deadline.  For more information on the program, please check out the Innovate for Maine website.

The University of Southern Maine also offers a Career Exploration internship.  These are research-based internships in industries and businesses that fall within the state’s seven targeted technology sectors. “The MEIF-Supported Internship Programs are intentionally-designed learning experiences that integrate knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in professional settings with host site community partners.”  Employers may be able to access an intern for between 300-360 hours (12-15 hours per week) during the coming academic year (September 2022 – May 2023).  While working at the business, the student would be employed and paid by USM.  Applications for the program are due by February 18, 2022.  For more information, please click here.

Another really interesting opportunity to help Maine employers access talent was announced Tuesday by the Governor and the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor.  $12 million in funding is “available to help businesses expand apprenticeship programs, train workers, and strengthen Maine’s economy.” Grants that range from $250,000 – $3 million may be available for businesses, labor unions, community-based organizations, or industry associations to partner with the state’s Registered Apprenticeship Program to develop new, or expand existing, apprenticeship programs.

According to their website, “the Maine Apprenticeship Program assists in setting up structured, yet flexible training programs designed to meet the specific needs of Maine employers through on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction. Apprenticeship Programs can be sponsored by employers, employer associations, or labor/management groups that can hire and train in a working situation.  Interested applicants can find more information, including eligibility requirements, and apply” by visiting the Division of Procurement Services website.  Proposal submissions must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on February 23, 2022.

Without question, hiring managers and employers need to avail themselves of all options to help them attract the talent they need.  These programs, while not necessarily a cure-all, offer meaningful options and incentive to help connect employers with their workforce of the future.

Stay warm during these raw January days and stay safe during Saturday’s forecasted winter storm!