EMDC’s Youth Workforce Academy graduation and launch of Second Academy set for Aug. 6

Posted on August 6, 2020 | Success Stories

Eastern Maine Development Corporation reimagines employment preparation for young people through innovative “Learn and Earn” opportunity during the pandemic 

Through new and continued partnerships with community organizations, educational institutions and regional businesses, EMDC launched an innovative online Young Mainer’s Workforce Academy. Aimed at keeping young people ages 16-24 in Maine, the Academy graduation is set for Thursday, Aug. 6at 11 a.m. through Zoom. The graduation will be broadcast live on EMDC’s Facebook page,, and will celebrate the first graduating class of 14 students, while ushering in the new class. 

The ongoing 7-week training Academy keeps Mainers ages 16-24 in Maine by helping them acquire skills, knowledge and insights to prepare for meaningful employment. It increases employment opportunities for young job seekers and addresses current needs of local employers. The Academy benefits the region’s economy by helping youth to succeed in the labor market, while assisting businesses and organizations in filling job vacancies with motivated and capable new workers. 

The first in an ongoing series, the Academy offers a comprehensive package of dynamic trainings, interactive instructional sessions, workplace tours and networking events. During the Academy’s seven weeks, participants are connected with paid work experiences at local employers. 

“Especially during the pandemic, an innovative approach to promote employer collaboration that engages young people was necessary,” said Lee Umphrey, president & CEO of EMDC. “The Young Mainer’s Workforce Academy is a continuation of our adapted approach into an online forum that builds partnerships between businesses and young people. This addresses the changing needs and expectations of job seekers and the business community.” 

The next seven-week Academy begins Aug. 6 and will be held Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Like the inaugural session, this Academy will focus particular attention on occupational fields with significant demand, including Information Technology (IT), Healthcare and Skilled Labor, while remaining tailored to each participant’s interests. Participants will receive in-depth training in job search fundamentals, such as resume development and interviewing, instruction in financial literacy, workplace cultures and expectations, and how to plan for not simply a job, but a rewarding career. 

“By connecting young people with employment and education opportunities right in their back yard, they learned the rewards of earning a paycheck, and now have the opportunity to land a permanent job,” said EMDC’s Senior Workforce Development Specialist, Leah Gulliver, who led the Academy. 

Partners in the initial academy included: City of Bangor, Beal College, Brewer Housing, CODE Maine, Eastern Maine Community College, Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, Maine Education Opportunity Center, Mobius, Inc., Northern Light Health, Northeast Technical Institute, Northeastern Workforce Development Board, Town of Orono, Patten Lumberman’s Museum and WINGS. More information and registration details about this outstanding opportunity for people ages 16-24 are available online at or by emailing Leah Gulliver at 
Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) ( is a non-profit that fosters public- private partnerships and leverages resources to help communities, businesses and individuals reach long-term goals and achieve prosperity.

Bangor Daily News

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