Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) and Maine’s Opioid-Recovery ‘Connecting with Opportunities Initiative’ Receive National Association of Development Organizations’ 2020 Impact Award

Posted on November 12, 2020 | Success Stories

Connecting with Opportunities Initiative only Project Recognized in New England; New Statewide Workshops to Promote Initiative Begin November 18th

WASHINGTON, DC and BANGOR, ME – Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) has received a 2020 Impact Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for the state’s Connecting with Opportunities Initiative.

EMDC partnered with the Maine Department of Labor and the state’s three workforce development boards in 2019 to develop a strategic plan and proposal seeking $6.2 million from the federal government to deliver resources and support to individuals impacted—personally or indirectly—by the opioid use disorder and to non-impacted people who want to make a difference in the fight against the opioid crisis.

The U.S. Department of Labor approved Maine’s proposal and awarded funding earlier this year. The state’s Connecting with Opportunities Initiative is underway and helping individuals across the state move forward in life through education, training and meaningful employment. Significant supportive services are available to participants to enhance the likelihood of success.

“This Impact Award recognizes EMDC’s effort to make a difference for people in recovery,” said Lee Umphrey, President and CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corporation. “This is especially crucial while our communities endure the isolation and enhanced social stress during the pandemic.”

“Through partnerships with the Maine Department of Labor, the Governor’s Office on Opioid Response, the Northeastern Workforce Development Board, the Central Western Maine Workforce Development Board and key stakeholders, we believe this targeted effort with resources will lessen the impact of substance use disorders while instilling hope and stability to support people in recovery.”

A new series of Connecting with Opportunities virtual information workshops begins November 18th. The public and media are encouraged to attend the kickoff 30 minute workshop. To register, please follow this link. More information about the grant is available at or by calling 207-299-5626. 

NADO is a Washington, DC-based membership association of regional development organizations that promote programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.  The association’s Impact Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. 

Award-winning projects were recognized during NADO’s virtual 2020 Annual Training Conference, held online October 20-22.  The 2020 class of award recipients consists of 79 projects from 48 organizations spanning 19 states.  These projects are presented in an interactive “Story Map” developed by NADO that includes project summaries, partners, and images.  The Story Map is available online at:     

“Our annual Impact Awards program is an opportunity to highlight the important work our members do every single day to serve their local communities,” said 2019-2020 NADO President Kevin Byrd, executive director of the New River Valley Regional Commission, located in Radford, VA.  “These projects show the best that regional development organizations have to offer and are a real testament to the value they add to their regions.” 

The NADO Impact Awards are presented in honor of the late Aliceann Wohlbruck who was NADO’s first executive director and served 24 years as a tireless champion for regional approaches to economic development in rural communities.


Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) fosters public-private relationships and leverages resources that help businesses, communities and individuals reach long-term goals and prosperity. EMDC is the only economic development company in the state that provides services to these three groups under one umbrella. Their integrated programs and individualized services accelerate economic and workforce development through this holistic approach.

Since 1967 the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) has provided advocacy, education, networking, and research for the national network of 540 regional development organizations. NADO members provide professional, programmatic, and technical assistance to over 2,300 counties and 15,000 municipalities.

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