AUGUSTA, Maine — Governor Janet Mills signed an executive order Monday allowing Maine Quality Centers (MQC) to swiftly address the changing demands in Maine’s job market due to widespread economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Mills’ order suspends certain restrictions, on an as-needed basis, on job training funds managed by the Maine Community College System’s MQC program. Suspending those restrictions, such as eligibility and employer matching funds, gives the MQC program more flexibility to rapidly provide free online training to people who have been displaced by the recent effects of COVID-19.
“Maine’s Community Colleges have always played a critical role in providing training and skills to strengthen our workforce. With the State battling COVID-19, that work is more important than ever,” Gov. Mills said. “This Executive Order provides our Community College System with the flexibility it needs to enhance their workforce development efforts and help fill vital jobs, such as those in the health care field, as quickly as possible.”
“We are grateful the governor acted decisively so that Maine Quality Centers can get to work immediately, training people online to meet the incredible, sudden demands of our changing economic landscape,” Maine Community College System President David Daigler said. “So many people have lost their jobs because of COIVD-19. But overnight there is a huge demand for workers in certain jobs, such as medical assisting and pharmaceutical technicians. We need to give people the training and skills they need to step into those jobs as quickly as possible.”
MQC is working closely with workforce training professionals at all seven of Maine’s community colleges across the state to develop and implement free online training programs. MQC is coordinating its efforts with the Maine Department of Labor and other workforce agencies for the recruitment and screening of participants in the new online programs.