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Business and Economy

Federal labor grants will go toward improved job training in Maine

Biden Infrastructure
Susan Walsh
/
AP file
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022, on the six-month anniversary of the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Maine is one of seven states receiving federal labor grants aimed at providing better job training opportunities to historically underserved groups.

Maine will receive nearly $3 million in a grant funded by the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress last year.

Federal Labor Secretary Marty Walsh says the money is meant to reach many groups, including "women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, members of religious minorities, LGBTQ+ community, and people with limited English proficiency, formerly incarcerated, low-wage earners and individuals living in rural areas."

Walsh points out Maine has done well in restoring the jobs lost in the early weeks of the pandemic. He says the state now has 99% of the jobs it had pre-pandemic. But many of those jobs are vacant, meaning there are job opportunities for those with the skills needed to do them.

Walsh says the grant to Maine and the other states will improve outreach to those groups and get people the job training they need. And he says he's not worried about the impact of inflation and the Federal Reserve's efforts to fight it by slowing the economy on the job market.

"You can't assume that we're going to have unemployment; high unemployment numbers. You can't assume we're going to go into a recession," he says.