MHCA participates in Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan press conference on health care workforce initiatives

On Monday, MHCA joined several health care associations to offer comment and support for Governor Janet Mills' slate of initiatives from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to encourage people to pursue health care jobs in Maine and strengthen the state's health care workforce, including new programs that make it more affordable to become a health care professional and make it easier to advance in their careers once they do.

The Administration is pursuing tuition support programs for health care professionals. Backed by $4 million from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the programs will provide financial support, through scholarships and student loan relief, for example, to allow more people to become doctors, nurses, behavioral health specialists, long term care professionals and others starting at the end of this year.

The Governor also announced a program to help people who work in the health care field gain skills and advance with their employer. Backed by $8.5 million from the Governor's Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the new “tuition remission” program provides financial support to help employees attain advanced health care credentials. The ability to earn credentials while on the job will allow health care workers to advance in the profession, leading to better paying jobs for them and improved health care services for Maine people.

The Governor also announced that her Administration is launching a new $1.5 million recruitment effort, with $1 million dedicated to promoting the value of work in health care and encouraging young people to enter careers in health care, and the other $500,000 dedicated specifically to promoting direct care worker jobs, such as aides for older Mainers or individuals with disabilities. This effort will be supplemented by another $600,000 to launch Maine's Health Care Career Navigators, who will be charged with helping people interested in health care jobs figure out the best career path for them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a tremendous strain on Maine's nursing homes and assisted living communities and has made longstanding workforce shortages worse,” said Angela Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association. “Our members are very concerned about staffing shortages as more burned-out caregivers exit the profession and fewer people enter it. MHCA is pleased to partner with the Administration on tangible solutions that will encourage, incentivize, and cultivate the next generation of Maine's health care professionals.”

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor's plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to achieve three goals: immediate economic recovery from the pandemic; long-term economic growth for Maine; and infrastructure revitalization.

Some press coverage of the announcement follows:

Gov. Mills announces $14 million plan to strengthen health care workforce (
Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan includes health care initiatives |

Staff contact: