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Bank of America PAE Donation Helps New Mainers Realize Potential

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Bank of America PAE Donation Helps New Mainers Realize Potential
Posted on 11/10/2016
This is the image for the news article titled Bank of America PAE Donation Helps New Mainers Realize PotentialBank of America Senior Vice President Todd Beacham told a group of Portland Adult Education (PAE) students that the bank wants to bolster Maine’s workforce through its $45,000 donation to a jobs course designed to help new Mainers gain employment.

“We are pleased to be able to support this program financially,” said Beacham, who also is market manager Maine/Vermont for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, N.A.  He said the bank wants to ensure that “every person who lives in Maine, including new Mainers, has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.”

Beacham formally presented the donation – $15,000 per year over three years – to PAE on Nov. 10, at a graduation ceremony for PAE students completing the jobs course. The money will support Job Class A of the New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC), a program within Portland Adult Education that serves immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Through classes, workshops and other offerings, the program helps new Mainers, of all professions, overcome barriers in order to enter the workforce.

Jeanne Crocker, Portland Assistant Superintendent for School Management, praised Bank of America for its support. “I thank Todd and Bank of America,” she said. “To have this kind of collaboration between the Portland Public Schools and the city and a private employer is a rare and beautiful thing.”

Job Class A is an intensive 130-hour course designed for new Mainers with low to intermediate English language skills who are searching for their first job in the US.

Bridget Kahn, a teacher in the jobs course, said the students attend nearly 20 hours of classes each week and also do homework. The students, who have a wide array of professional backgrounds, are very motivated, she said. Those in the Nov. 10 graduating class included a physician and other professionals who worked in their home countries in fields such as health care, IT, engineering and accounting.

The countries they come from include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Iraq and China.

The class helps them do such things as prepare resumes and have practice interviews with human resource representatives from local companies and also the Portland Public Schools and the city of Portland. The mock interviews can lead to actual job offers. The students also learn English for the workplace, money management and about workplace culture.

The jobs course started in 2008 and now has two levels: A, for students with limited English; and B, for more advanced students.

Anita St. Onge, PAE’s Interim Executive Director, said the jobs program is “an important resource for employers as they are more and more challenged in meeting their workforce needs.”

Graduates from the program receive a certificate detailing their competency achieved for twelve employability skill standards. They also receive one-on-one job search support from their teachers and job developers from participating service agencies.
 
The Nov. 10 graduates, some of whom have already gotten jobs, applauded each other and snapped photos as they received their certificates. One of the students said the jobs program is extremely helpful because it allows new Mainers to integrate successfully into the community.
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