Eastern Maine Community College & Eastern Maine Development Corporation train former Verso workers to prepare for new jobs

Twelve dislocated workers, including 10 people laid off from the Verso Mill in Bucksport, are being retrained in a customized fine woodworking and cabinetmaking program at Eastern Maine Community College.

The program is the result of a collaborative effort between EMCC, Eastern Maine Development Corporation and Maine Quality Centers to train dislocated workers for fine woodworking careers, primarily in the boatbuilding industry.

Upon completion of the program in July, participants will have earned 14 college credits and a variety of industry-recognized skills certifications. Courses include beginner, intermediate and advanced fine woodworking as well as computer aided drafting and design.

“We have seen an increasing workforce need in Eastern Maine’s boatbuilding companies, as well as fine furniture and cabinetmaking businesses,” said Matt McLaughlin, director of Business & Industry for EMCC. “This training program will help former Verso workers get the education and skills needed to break into this strong labor market.”

Local boatbuilding companies, such as Hinckley Yacht, were consulted in the development of the training program and have made commitments to interview and potentially hire trainees.

“Our goal is to connect business and workforce development to ensure that businesses have available to them a workforce that fits their needs. We are happy to be part of the fine woodworking training program as it does just that,” said Hook Wheeler, deputy director, Business and Workforce Development for Eastern Maine Development Corporation.

Eastern Maine Community College is a two-year college that provides the highest quality post-secondary technical, career and transfer education and serves as a dynamic community and economic development resource. In addition to its Bangor campus, the college has three off-campus higher education centers in Dover-Foxcroft, Ellsworth and East Millinocket.

Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) is a private nonprofit organization providing business, community and workforce development programs throughout the state of Maine. Last fiscal year, EMDC provided $2.74 million in capital to businesses to start or expand their business, provided 374 individuals with workforce training and career assistance and provided 19 communities with planning and development assistance.

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