- Maine's Gov. Janet Mills has removed restrictions on certain state job-training funds to "rapidly provide" free online training to workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic via a March 27 executive order.
- The order suspends several restrictions on funds managed by the state's Maine Quality Centers program, which offers training grants to Maine employers, according to an announcement. The president of the state's community college system may suspend, for example, residency and enrollment eligibility requirements if the president "determines that training goals can be advanced thereby," according to the order.
- The order will remain in effect until amended, rescinded or Maine's state of emergency is lifted, whichever occurs first.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted most, if not every facet of talent development, and employee training is no exception.
Movement toward telework and similar web-based operations has been a key factor behind recent training announcements. CompTIA, for example, said March 23 it would offer its IT Fundamentals e-learning program for free to displaced workers, students and others seeking opportunities in the information technology field. The company's president and CEO, Ted Thibodeaux, said in a statement that the fact that millions of people would extend their hours at home played a role in CompTIA’s decision.
Similarly, employers have met what is considered to be an unprecedented moment by adopting training tools developed for turbulent times. Some have turned to Training Within Industry (TWI), a methodology credited with preparing the U.S. manufacturing industry for World War II, to support continuity during the pandemic. TWI focuses on building people skills at the frontline of operations, sources previously told HR Dive, with the goal of training supervisors to ensure consistency.
Maine's goal of improving access to training may appeal to employees, many of whom are struggling to meet basic needs and who face worsening mental and physical health during the public health crisis, according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management.