BANGOR – The Central Western Maine Workforce Development Board and Eastern Maine Development Corporation announced the launch of Maine’s “Connecting with Opportunities Initiative,” funded by a $6.2 million federal grant secured by Maine’s Department of Labor in partnership with EMDC, the Board and other collaborators.
The new statewide initiative provides hope and opportunities to people directly or indirectly impacted by opioid use disorder, and to others who wish to work in occupations needed to mitigate the opioid crisis, including jobs in the healthcare and substance use disorder treatment fields. Through financial support and individualized guidance, eligible individuals will have access to education, training, employment and supportive services.
“While the pandemic has created social stress for all, we have not lost sight that Maine remains in the midst of a worsening opioid crisis that ends or diminishes thousands of lives in our state each year,” EMDC President and CEO Lee Umphrey said. “EMDC was pleased to help secure the grant and is working to be part of the solution by providing services for vulnerable individuals, families and communities.”
In partnership with the Board, EMDC is implementing the Connecting with Opportunities Initiative in the central and western Maine counties of Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford and Somerset counties. EMDC is also implementing the initiative in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties. Other workforce development agencies are providing services elsewhere in Maine.
Specifically, EMDC and the Board will identify and serve individuals through partnerships with organizations, government agencies, and businesses, including: Maine’s Adult Drug Treatment Courts, community recovery centers, recovery residences, correctional facilities and non-profits providing services to the impacted population.
An information session for interested organizations will be held Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. via Zoom. Those interested in registering to learn more about the initiative are asked to contact Doug Dunbar at EMDC by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (207) 299-5626.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a national opioid-related public health emergency in 2017. In doing so, funding was made available through the U.S. Department of Labor to address workforce needs resulting from the opioid epidemic.
EMDC is a non-profit headquartered in Bangor providing economic development resources and services in counties across the state. It is the workforce development services provider for the Central Western Maine Workforce Development Board, having recently been selected to administer the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programming in the Board’s five county region.