• Project
  • Northeast
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Industry Analytics and Strategy
  • Workforce Development
  • State

Transforming Maine’s Future Forest Workforce: Seamless Pathways FOR/Maine

May 23, 2024

A ForestThe Challenge

The Forest Products Sector (FPS) in Maine faces a rapidly aging workforce, and the pipeline for new workers is shrinking — between 20-40% of workers in the top occupations will reach retirement age within the next ten years.

To strengthen the labor pool, new and different communities must be engaged. However, the FPS is a heritage industry with stigmas and stereotypes about who belongs in the sector and what the career opportunities look like.

The Solution

The FOR/Maine collaborative, managed by the Maine Development Foundation, saw an opportunity for Maine FPS stakeholders to address these challenges head-on. The Foundation retained Camoin Associates to analyze the state’s FPS challenges, develop strategies to expand career pathways to in-demand jobs, recommend tactics to better engage targeted populations in these pathways, and engage employers in expanding the sector’s talent pipeline.

Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, Camoin Associates produced a labor market data analysis that identified 15 target occupations within the FPS that will be critical to the sector’s future in Maine. The team validated data and explored the nuances of FPS careers with help from over 100 experts via focus groups, interviews, industry events, partner meetings, and surveys. This information was the foundation for seven FPS career pathways that visualize how workers can grow their careers through behavioral skills, technical skills, job progression into specialized or management roles, and cross-training into new roles.

Camoin Associates also used data, engagement findings, and national best practices to develop and deliver a three-part webinar series on talent development, attraction, and retention. The series, created for employers and industry partners, was also an opportunity to exchange ideas on creating welcoming environments for workers historically underrepresented in FPS occupations.

Services Provided:

  • Career and occupation pathway analysis
  • Workforce development
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion training
  • Industry analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement