The Maine Department of Education’s adult education team recently launched a Career Advancement and Navigation Specialist initiative to build workforce skills across Maine. The four-state Career Advancement and Navigation Specialists work in different regions of Maine and serve people with the next steps in their careers.
They help people explore career options, create impactful resumes, apply for positions, seek further career and skills training, obtain translator services, and connect with community support resources.
Through Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan funding, career navigators have helped more than 450 workers across the state with their career goals since 2021, including a new Mainer who sought a second shift position to support his family.
The career navigator was able to help him find a position that fit his experience and needs and supported him in the process of getting translation services, applying, interviewing, onboarding, and orientation. Another worker was able transition from a food delivery position to a new job in the court system through his work with a career navigator.
Maine’s career navigators support workers in their communities at adult education sites and through community-based organizations by partnering with other agencies including the Career Center and FedCAP Rehabilitations Services, and through a network of relationships with employers in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and hospitality.
“The work of the career navigator in local communities means being able to meet people where they’re at, personally and sometimes even physically. Many of our potential clients have access barriers, both physical and mental. They lack transportation, communication skills, technology access, or not only the knowledge, but the tools or the executive function required to access those resources,” said Cassie Robichaux, a career navigator for Waldo, Knox, Sagadahoc, and Lincoln counties. “Many have experienced shame in asking for help previously and they need an advocate who can provide the kind of high touch service and support that puts them and their needs first when it comes to accessing education and employment. In this way, the impact of career navigator services is immeasurable.”
Since the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan took effect in October 2021, the Mills administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects around the state to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs estimated to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.
For more information, go to maine.gov/jobsplan.