Regional Workforce Board Opposes Program Consolidation
Members of a regional board designed to help re-train workers for new jobs say a plan by the state to change the current workforce system is a bad idea. The Maine Department of Labor has a plan to do away with the four regional workforce investment boards and replace them with a statewide board, based in Augusta.The executive director of the Tri County Workforce Investment Board, Joanna Russell, is concerned about this centralized board representing all of Maine.”You’ll have Augusta making the decisions for the entire state, so if they have projects they want to incorporate, they’ll make policy and decisions that cover the whole state without recognizing the differences between northern Maine and southern Maine,” said Russell.But a Department of Labor representative said local areas will have more of a say in this plan because the board will have input from each of Maine’s eight tourism regions. Julie Rabinowitz, Director of Communication at the Maine Dept. of Labor said,”We would actually increase local input by expanding outreach to interest groups like trade associations and professional associations that can tell us exactly what their individual needs are and we would know on a more local level what the specific needs are in each county in the state.” The plan was created to help save the state money by cutting down on administrative costs.The Department of Labor and the State Workforce Investment Board want your input on the proposal. You can e-mail your comments until midnight on Sunday to SWIB.firstname.lastname@example.org.