House Speaker Sara Gideon is proposing that the Legislature bolster two job training programs in January.
Gideon says the state must do more to train low-income Mainers to fill needed jobs. She says two programs in particular are now underutilized, and should be expanded.
“What we tried to do in this bill is, actually, go after both of those challenges and address them together," Gideon says. "We want to lift people out of poverty and we want to get the workforce trained.”
The Freeport Democrat says the Parents As Scholars program which pays for college-level programs, has only has 52 trainees but is authorized for 2,000 slots.
Gideon's other proposal is to expand a job training program for those on food stamps, and include expenses like child care and travel to work.
“Somebody who is receiving assistance for food might be somebody who has children at home who, in order to work, needs to make sure their kids are in child care, that they can get to child care and the person is able to get to work," she says.
There is plenty of surplus money in the TANF program to pay for the expansion, Gideon says.