Governor continues his pursuit of defunding training center for foreign-trained workers

AUGUSTA–Senate President Justin Alfond released the following statement in response to the LePage administration’s proposal to defund the newly created Welcome Center. Many showed up to the public hearing today to speak in opposition to the funding cuts.

“The Welcome Center provides opportunity for hundreds of foreign-trained professionals who are starting a new life here in Maine,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “Any cuts to the Welcome Center would be shortsighted and detrimental to our economy.”

The Welcome Center is a two-year pilot program geared toward quickly integrating highly skilled foreign trained workers, such as doctors, engineers, and lawyers, many of whom are asylum seekers, into the Maine workforce.

During the passage of LD 90, the first-of-its kind workforce development bill unanimously recommended by the Workforce Committee, Governor LePage publicly opposed the Welcome Center and frequently threatened to veto the bill.

The Welcome Center was passed by the Legislature’s special workforce committee and was funded as part of the biennial budget which allocated $75,000 for the pilot project.

Details of the administration’s report can be found here.