Thursday, February 7, 2008

Expanding Maine's workforce

As Maine’s population grows older, employers will have to come to terms with ever-increasing shortages of talent. Some hold the opinion that our state has an abundant pool of labor. It would seem to me that those people aren’t paying attention to demographic trends, or the data coming from various staffing firms, or HR organizations.

This issue will continue to be debated. As I’ve written about before, the challenge becomes, for those of us in workforce development, as well as the employer community, where are we going to find our future workforce, especially when baby boomers retire?

There are a number of groups around the state that are trying to raise awareness about the benefits offered by Maine’s disability community. Recently, I became aware of a group that is championing those benefits. Working Together is coalition of Maine businesses seeking to expand the employment of people with disabilities. Their belief is that this expansion benefits Maine's business community, as well as promoting a positive economic future for the state.

I’ve long held the belief that doing the right thing benefits businesses and their bottom line. This particular group recognizes that more and more, Americans prefer socially responsible businesses.

A 2006 study, compiled by the University of Massachusetts/Center for Social Development & Education found that 92 percent of consumers surveyed felt more favorable toward companies that hire individuals with disabilities and 87 percent said they would prefer to give their business to such companies. Among those surveyed, hiring people with disabilities ranked third behind offering health insurance to all employees and protecting the environment as an indicator of a company’s commitment to social justice.

For more information about the many benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, I encourage you to visit Working Together’s informative website.


real world employment said...

I, too, believe that doing the right thing will always have long term benefits. It seems that there may be considerable opportunity in Maine for people with disabilities, particularly in the tele-sales industry which has been growing over the last decade across the state with companies like Bank of America (formerly MBNA), T-Mobile, and others. However, I believe that for the public to truly embrace the investment in developing a solid program to facilitate this process, there needs to be an increase in mid-level income jobs for people to grow into. I would like to see the state support the work of Maine and Company to attract more businesses to the state, and ramp up recruiting efforts nationwide, to attract more young families, who are looking for a better way of life. Just my two cents...

bizdirector said...


Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Sounds like you and I share many of the same values about jobs and the type of economic strategy that lifts all boats.

Hope you'll make Working in Maine a regular stop.