Employers Supporting Education
Next Step Maine Employers’ Initiative
Advancing the Educational and Skills Attainment of Maine’s Employees
Next Step Maine provides Maine’s public and private employers with informational assistance, resources and training on strategies for providing educational support services in the workplace, and statewide recognition for taking steps to promote educational, skills, and career advancement opportunities for their employees.
The primary focus of this statewide initiative is Maine’s employers and their key role in encouraging and supporting employees to complete their degree and/or continue their learning through training, professional development and certifications.
Next Step Maine works with employers to
- Raise awareness of the value of increased educational attainment to the individual, organization, and community
- Provide resources for navigating going back to school, completing a degree or credential, and finding the program that best fits the individual and the organization
- Connect stakeholders across the state to share resources, promote educational pathways, and inspire collaborative efforts
At the Maine Development Foundation, we believe that training, education, and workforce development are not only important for us as individuals, but also critical to the economic strength of our state. Research shows that when employers demonstrate their support for higher education or skills training/development and engage with employees — whether that is sponsoring a training program, providing flex time for classes, or helping to pay for tuition or certificate programs — employees are far more likely to take action.
Become a Next Step Employer and Join Other Committed Maine Employers Leading the Way to Increase the Skill & Knowledge Levels of Maine Workers. Next Step Maine Employers benefit from tuition discounts, scholarships for employees, public recognition as a committed employer, and connections to resources and best practices—not to mention the most important benefits: increased value and productivity of the workforce and higher retention rates and employee loyalty.
You’ll join a growing network of employers around the state who are working together to improve Maine’s current and future workforce. Learn more.
By joining the Next Step Maine Employers’ Initiative, your organization will be recognized as a leader in supporting employee education.
“Efforts to improve employee skills create employees who work smarter, do better and who cope well with change in the workplace. Moreover, these efforts improve productivity, increase output and improve union-management relations.” – The Conference Board, 2011
“It is more cost-effective to develop your present high potential employees . . . [and] allocate money to develop current employees than it would be to spend it on recruitment.” – Catherine Lamson, MEMIC
When you as an employer actively support employee education, you send the clear message that your employees are an important part of your organization’s success and, because of this, the company will invest in their education and skill development. It also assists in the development of a qualified pool of talent, building bench strength, while also engaging the employee in their own development.
“Keep in mind that [everything] you are able to do to support your employees will be returned in strengthened employee loyalty and a better-skilled workforce.” – Andrew Paul, Pratt and Whitney
- Promote your educational benefits to remind employees of their options.
- Inform employers about Next Step Maine Employers’ Initiative tuition discounts and benefits available to them.
- Submit company training programs to be considered for certification for college credit.
- Publicly recognize employees who have completed a degree or class.
- Incorporate educational goal setting into employee yearly performance discussions.
- Allow employees to use computers, internet access, printers or other resources to support their studies.
- Allow flexible scheduling to employees to attend classes offered during work hours.
- Invite local colleges and universities to share adult-friendly program options and to speak with employees about Prior Learning Assessments – the process of receiving college credit for learning gained outside of the classroom.
- Offer payroll deduction for 529 college savings plans.
- Distribute information about the Alfond Scholarship: $500 for every baby born in Maine
Learn more about current tuition discounts and educational benefits.
According to the most recent US Census numbers, Maine has over 187,000 people over the age of 25 who have some college credit but no degree. This population has tried college before, with some college credits under their belts, and has work experience. Addressing this group’s educational needs and aspirations is both a challenge and opportunity to start changing the workforce story in Maine and changing the individual stories of each one of these adult learners.
In order to address the quality of the workforce, we need to be mindful of regional and local needs, where people are currently at in their understanding of those needs, and the importance of individual identification with current job needs and aspiration levels for meeting those needs. This requires a multi-faceted approach involving the full education pipeline from K-12 and institutions of higher education, to job skills development, placement programs, and on the job training.
At MDF, we believe that training, education, and workforce development are not only important for individuals, but also critical to the economic strength of our state. A skilled and educated workforce is critical to individuals improving the quality of their lives and to our economic growth. Increasing degree completion for adult learners in Maine is essential for meeting current and future workforce needs.
Enhancing the quality of Maine’s workforce is a Maine Development Foundation strategic priority.
Join the statewide initiative to enhance the educational attainment of Maine’s employees. Become a Next Step Employer and support the advancement of your employees learning.
A first-in-the-nation model, this initiative was designed to focus directly on working with employers to encourage them to take “one more step” to support their employees’ educational goals and provides public and private employers with informational assistance, training, and statewide recognition for making a commitment to support educational opportunities in the workplace.
Our Next Step Maine Employers – committed employers who have joined the initiative – are taking new steps, such as mentoring employees on education, setting educational goals in performance reviews, increasing tuition assistance, and celebrating educational successes, to advance the skills and educational attainment of their workforce. The typical committed employer is highly supportive of the effort, experiencing a 25% increase in the number of employees furthering their education as a result of the program. View current Next Step Maine Employers.
In 2012, this initiative expanded to include an online resource for adult learners seeking adult-friendly degree programs, professional development training, and resources for continuing their education.
In 2014, our two program components merged under Next Step Maine, providing both employers and employees with resources for promoting educational attainment in the workplace.
Next Step Maine thanks our major funders for their support: