State Bills Aim to Boost Immigrant Success in Maine’s Workforce

In the 130th State Legislature, MeBIC will be actively working for passage of at least three bills that will help ensure that Maine’s immigrants can reach their full potential in Maine’s workforce.

Two bills that have not yet been printed, LR 1095 and LR 1773, are an update to LD 647, which had been approved by both the state Senate and House chambers during the previous legislative session, and was close to receiving funding when the Legislature adjourned early due to COVID-19.  LR 1095 would fund increased English as a Second Language (ESL) capacity at adult education programs and create new combined ESL/job skills training classes offered in collaborations between adult education programs and employers.  LR 1773 would create Career Advancement and Navigation Specialists within adult education programs to help guide Mainers, including immigrants who may additionally need help with gaining recognition of their education and skills acquired abroad, through the steps needed to reach their career goals.  MeBIC will provide updates on these bills once they are printed.

A third bill is  LD 149, An Act to Facilitate Licensure for Credentialed Individuals from Other Jurisdictions.   This bill would give the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation new discretion and flexibility to allow those who move to Maine from other states or other countries to get temporary licensure, in certain cases, while they are going through the often lengthy process of applying for permanent professional licensure.  This will help prevent qualified people from being unproductively sidelined while they work to gain appropriate licensure in Maine.  The bill would also provide more flexibility in certain cases regarding recognition of education and skills acquired abroad.

These three proposals address some of the barriers that result in “brain waste” and underemployment of  immigrants as raised during the work of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee, and recently highlighted in this recent Portland Press Herald article.

Please contact MeBIC if you’d like more information about these bills.