The Maine Department of Labor has released findings about barriers preventing job seekers and unemployment claimants from getting work.

The anonymous survey was done in July, 2021 with 2,600 individual responses. Some of the biggest issues about returning to work were the pandemic, lack of child care, transportation, and a lack of opportunities to match an applicant's skill set.

Responses to the survey also said some of the barriers are insufficient wages, unpredictable schedules, benefits and long-term positions.

Additional barriers were discrimination based on age, difficulty scheduling interviews with a competitive market and an economic recession challenging self-employment.

The Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said the survey points out the different issues affecting the Maine workforce. She said, "The Department of Labor will continue to listen to the voices of Maine workers as we strive to enhance our programs to ensure they are effective, both at meeting the needs of employers and employees and in contributing to our economic recovery as a state."

Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO said "The most tried and true method to recruit and retain workers is to offer good pay and benefits. We've heard firsthand from lots of Maine workers that age discrimination, COVID related workplace health and safety, reliable and affordable childcare and access to living wage jobs with benefits remain significant challenges. We must continue working together to address these systemic issues."

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The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan addresses many of the issues in the survey and has federal investments for training and building skills for the labor force. There are also workshops and other ways to connect people with employers and jobs such as Maine JobLink.

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