Press Herald, Mainebiz report UMaine to participate in pilot program for in-state workforce development program
Portland Press Herald and Mainebiz reported the University of Maine is one of several Maine colleges and universities to participate in a pilot program designed to connect college students to employers and keep them in the state after graduation. The program, led by workforce development groups Live and Work in Maine and Educate Maine, seeks to reduce the number of Maine college students who leave after graduation by addressing Maine’s escalating labor shortage through creative methods, the articles state. This approach includes hiring student interns to conduct “guerrilla marketing” activities at Maine colleges and universities, including disseminating information about Maine employers, networking with campus organizations, and helping coordinate events where students can meet employers, learn about job opportunities and forge connections to start their careers — and these events will be tailored to match the individual needs and characteristics of the student body of a specific campus, Press Herald reported. “One of the things we can do is bring that point of access to these smaller employers, midsize employers, who may not have the time or capacity to engage one-on-one with the career office at a university,” said Nate Wildes, executive director of Live and Work in Maine. The program also is collaborating with Spencer Wood, UMaine graduate and founder of Tip Whip, a ride-sharing app for students that is popular at UMaine and has become available on more than a dozen campuses nationwide since its creation in 2014. Tip Whip also features a weekly electronic newsletter for users of the app, which provides an outlet for the partnership, according to the Press Herald. “Their hardest challenge is getting in front of the students and getting their message to them,” said Wood. “We’re essentially collecting the masses and then we’re delivering the message for Live and Work in Maine and Educate Maine directly to the students.” The organizers of the program also hope to collect student feedback about the barriers that might prevent them from considering Maine as their prime choice for settling down, having a career and raising a family. “This partnership … is really about increasing awareness of college students of great opportunities for employment here in the state,” said Jason Judd, executive director of Educate Maine. Husson University, Thomas College and University of Southern Maine also are involved in the pilot program, according to the articles.