Maine Department of Labor Encourages Employers to Evaluate Hiring Strategies to Remove Barriers

MDOL’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation partners with employers to match them with Maine’s underemployed

Eric Vorous in his Sodexo uniform.
Photo: Eric Vorous in his Sodexo uniform.

AUGUSTA– Designed to meet Maine’s immediate and ongoing workforce needs, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is helping Mainers with disabilities seize job opportunities and employers find the talent they need in this tight labor market. September is Workforce Development Month, and it comes at a time when the country is experiencing a challenging labor market.

“As the economy continues to improve, the Maine Department of Labor is focused on connecting employers with the jobseekers they need to thrive, including those who have often been left on the sidelines,” said MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman. “I encourage businesses to have equal and inclusive hiring policies, to re-evaluate hiring barriers that have often prevented applicants from consideration, and to consider working with our Department. There are many people who are eager to gain employment and contribute to their communities, yet hiring barriers prevent them from doing so.”

Maine’s Department of Labor announced in July that 16,300 jobs had been added since the beginning of 2021, yet many employers are struggling to fill vacancies. The program’s goal is to connect employers to historically underemployed Mainers to gain new traction and ease the labor challenges Maine businesses are facing.

DVR matches employers with employees through informational interviews, job shadows, paid work experiences, and on-the-job training. With today’s immediate need for workers, the state’s goal is to facilitate relationships with employers as they navigate a tight labor market, and to create opportunities for Mainers with disabilities to establish viable career pathways.

In 2020, DVR served over 9,000 individuals through job placement and training, continuing education, and on-site job support.

“This program is a win-win,” said Dan Roy, District Manager for Sodexo, a global food service provider, and a large Maine employer. “Sodexo is committed to long-term team building ­– DVR’s program helps with our retention efforts and also positions new employees for continued professional growth.”

“Sodexo made the hiring process simple for me. They’ve been great to work with,” said Eric Vorous, who was recently hired as a barista at the University of Maine at Farmington café through the DVR program.

Businesses interested in partnering with the Department of Labor to participate in this program and create new employment opportunities can call 1-855-ALL-HIRE.

More information is available at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Photo: Eric Vorous in his Sodexo uniform.