AUGUSTA, MAINE – The Maine Business Education Partnership (MBEP) has been selected as one of the six organizations to receive funding from the Maine Department of Labor’s ‘Industry Partnership Workforce Development’ grant. The grant provides funding “to create a pipeline of workers through structured career pathways within sectors that can continually provide businesses with employees and Maine people with good-paying job opportunities.”
The Retail Career Pathways Partnership initiative, which is initially fully funded by the grant for two years, offers the National Retail Federation’s RISE Up credential programs to Maine residents who are currently (or aspire to be in) the retail industry, while providing the new English Language Acquisition course and Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) best practice training to employers, and oversees the facilitation of statewide retail career exploration field trips.
NFR’s four RISE Up credentials that are being offered include Retail Fundamentals, Customer Service & Sales, Business of Retail: Operations & Profit, and Warehouse Inventory & Logistics. Each course offers skills, information, and best practices that will aid in the development of an array of transferable skill sets. The credentials are available to retail partners’ employees and students across the state at no charge. In addition, the grant provides for a stipend for retail employees who complete the course.
The Retail Career Pathways Partnership is multifaceted and includes strategic collaborations amongst the business and education sectors. Two key trade associations, the Retail Association of Maine and the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association, are foundational partners and will leverage their retail and food & beverage connections to promote the grant funding programming. Collaboration is imperative to the campaign’s success; employers are encouraged to sign-on as official partners to capitalize on the opportunity to get their staff certified with one, or all four, of NRF’s Rise Up credentials.
The grant funding is part of Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to develop initiatives that help Maine businesses recruit and retain employees.
The Retail Career Pathways Partnership will create retail-focused career maps to further demonstrate the breadth of job opportunities within the sector. The maps will become assets on the state’s WorkSource platform which serves as a fully comprehensive recruitment tool for Maine’s workforce.