AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill designed to keep call centers in Maine from exporting jobs overseas is working its way through the Legislature amid concerns from opponents who say the bill would do the opposite. LD 1710, An Act to Retain Call Centers in Maine, would require the Department of Labor to keep track of call centers that have relocated from Maine to a foreign country. Employers on that list would be ineligible for state grants, loans or tax benefits for a period of five years. It would require employers who have received state aid for the call centers and moved employees overseas to repay a portion of the benefits. It also authorizes a fine of $10,000 be assessed for call center owners who don’t notify the state of a relocation within four months and requires that all call center work contracted by state agencies be done within the state. Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, who sponsored the bill, said his intent is to keep Maine jobs in Maine while protecting taxpayer investments in economic development. ”I don’t understand the opposition to this bill,” said Jackson on Tuesday. “This is about protecting taxpayer dollars. I think this makes sure we’re using companies that want to stay in Maine for a number of years.” (read more at the Bangor Daily News)
The Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary was in the Twin Villages before Route 1. It has been around for 16 presidents of the United States and 22 governors of Maine; its first, Percival Proctor Baxter, lent his name to one of the state’s most famous parks. In other words: The Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary has been around a while. The group celebrated starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 5 at St. Patrick’s Church social hall with a dinner. The dinner was free to Rotary members and $15 to guests. (read more at the Boothbay Register)
AUGUSTA—Maine’s Job Bank, at www.mainecareercenter.com, has posted about 6,900 open positions, up around 1,000 positions since the beginning of March. The job bank, a service of the Maine Department of Labor, is an online job board that is free for both employers and jobseekers.
“In addition to the openings on Maine’s Job Bank, employers are hiring at job fairs all over the state,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The Department of Labor is coordinating or participating in 13 job fairs between now and June, and more are in development. Now is a great time to get a job in Maine.”
Three jobs fairs will be held the week of March 24 in Portland, Springvale and Machias. Hundreds of employers will be hiring for both permanent and seasonal positions.
“The Department of Labor’s network of 12 CareerCenters provide free, expert assistance to job seekers who are looking for a job or need advice about their career choices,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “They also host free networking events, workshops about financial aid for education and how to start a business. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help people learn how to use a computer, create a free email address, apply for jobs online and register with Maine’s Job Bank.”
“Maine’s economy is growing, and we can make sure that you are part of that growth,” she stated. “You do not have to look for work on your own, and if your job search has hit a rut, our staff can get you back on track. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh approach and some encouragement.”
People who need to update their resume or practice their interviewing skills should contact a CareerCenter for free help. To find more information about how to prepare for a job fair, update a resume, and other job-search programs and to locate the closest CareerCenter, visit the CareerCenter website, http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
Businesses interested in participating in these events and taking advantage of other free hiring services the department provides, such as the job bank, interviewing space, and referrals, should contact their local CareerCenter.
The following job fairs have been scheduled to date around the state:
- Portland: March 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Maine Sunday Telegram/Monster Spring Career Fair at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland.
- Machias: March 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Lee-Pellon Event Center.
- Springvale: March 28, 4th Annual York County Regional Job Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Nasson Community Center, 457 Main Street.
- Lewiston/Auburn: April 4,11th Annual Androscoggin County Job Fair, Friday, 9 a.m. to noon at Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn.
- Presque Isle: April 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Northeastland Hotel.
- Calais: April 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Washington County Community College Gymnasium.
- Lincoln: April 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mattanawcook Academy, 33 Reed Drive, Lincoln.
- South Paris: April 24, 9 a.m. to noon at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in the cafeteria.
- Augusta: April 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hiring Maine’s Heroes (general public welcome) at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Ave.
- Pittsfield: May 14, Pittsfield Area Regional Job Fair, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Warsaw Middle School Gym and Cafeteria, 167 School Street.
- Farmington: May 22, Western Maine Community Job and Resource Fair, 9 a.m. to noon at the Fitness and Recreation Center at UMF, 152 Quebec St.
- Bangor: May 28, 9 a.m. to noon at the Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Rd.
- Augusta: June 17, First Annual State of Maine Government and Maine Municipal Government Job Fair for Veterans at the Augusta Armory.
CareerCenters offer a variety of workshops and services to help people find employment or upgrade skills. Each center provides several public-access computer workstations with Microsoft Office software, resume writing and cover letter software, Internet access and O’Net software for skills assessment. All CareerCenter services are free of charge.
Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
March 24, 2014
Many college-bound high school students look forward to leaving Maine and living in a big city, where it seems there’s more to offer. Tyson LaRochelle, a 2006 graduate of Lewiston High School, was no exception. “I wanted to get out of my own element and try new things. I wanted more diversity in not only the landscape, but the people too. I figured if I went to (the University of Maine in Orono) with all my friends, it would just be an extension of high school. I would just settle into the same routine, doing the same things, hanging around with the same people.” “I wanted new, fresh challenges,” he said. And like many Maine high school graduates who head out of state to college, LaRochelle developed career prospects near his college. He had internships and summer jobs with a number of large corporations while attending Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, including at Lockheed Martin, where he was involved with robotics and had the opportunity to work on high-tech missiles and firing control systems on the forefront of technology. (read more at Lewiston Sun Journal)
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – RadioShack plans to close up to 1,100 of its underperforming stores in the U.S. and reported a wider loss for its fourth quarter as customer traffic slowed during the critical holiday season. Its stock tumbled almost 21 percent in premarket trading Tuesday. CEO Joseph Magnacca said in statement that the planned store closings would leave RadioShack with more than 4,000 U.S. stores, including more than 900 dealer franchise locations. The company didn’t immediately identify what stores are being closed. The electronics retailer said that the stores to be closed are being selected based on location, area demographics, lease duration and financial performance. Magnacca said the latest quarter’s performance was also hurt by increased promotional activity – particularly in consumer electronics; a very soft mobility marketplace and a few operational issues. (read more at Kennebec Journal)
BANGOR, Maine — The owner of a local used car dealership owes $9,000 in overdue fines to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for workplace safety violations in 2012 and 2013, according to government documents. The release of information by OSHA about businesses owned by Glenn A. Geiser Jr., 48, of Brewer added to a growing list of regulatory and legal actions taken against the owner of My Maine Ride. Files obtained from OSHA through a freedom of information request by the Bangor Daily News include complaints about Geiser’s current business, My Maine Ride, and his two previous businesses, Bumper2Bumper and Bangor Car Care. The documents show the safety violations at the businesses were corrected, but most of the fines were not paid. Geiser also faced criminal charges in Penobscot County over the use of counterfeit inspection stickers and is the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by the Maine attorney general’s office alleging unfair trade practices. The used car dealer on Wednesday agreed to a 180-day suspension of his business license beginning March 1 imposed by the secretary of state’s office. On Thursday, he pleaded no contest through his attorney to 28 counts of using counterfeit inspection stickers and paid a $7,000 fine. (read more at Bangor Daily News)
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook, the world’s largest social network, agreed to acquire mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for as much as $19 billion in cash and stock, seeking to expand its reach among users on mobile devices. The purchase would be the biggest Internet deal since Time Warner’s $124 billion merger with AOL in 2001, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The accord includes $12 billion in stock, $4 billion in cash and $3 billion in restricted shares, Facebook said Wednesday in a statement. WhatsApp has more than 450 million members, with 1 million users being added daily, Facebook said. Facebook, which acquired photo-sharing service Instagram for about $700 million in 2012, is counting on applications beyond its main social network, such as messaging and news, to court more users on smartphones and tablets. WhatsApp competes with Snapchat, which rebuffed a $3 billion offer from Facebook last year, as well as services from Twitter and Kik Interactive. (keep reading at Kennebec Journal)
BELFAST, Maine — Located right next to a gleaming speciality [sic] olive oil, vinegar and wine shop and two doors down from a $300-per-night boutique hotel, the Belfast Army-Navy store on Main Street seems like a holdout from a different, grittier time. On Tuesday, men wearing Carhartt coveralls picked through the racks of balaclavas and outdoor gear. Machetes and knives were kept under plexiglas at the front counter and the windows featured an eclectic display of mannequins wearing scouting uniforms and second-hand musical instruments. Everything was on sale, because at the end of April the store will close and be reopened as a Christmas shop. “We used to be a pawn shop,” Ronald Mullen, 73, the proprietor, said Tuesday morning. “Belfast has changed a lot.” He was quick to reassure his customers that he was looking out for them as he prepares to retire. The new Christmas shop will continue to sell scouting uniforms and supplies and the Home Supply Center will stock paintball gear. But still, the change is worrisome to some locals, who fear that the city may be embracing too much gentrification too quickly, especially after watching another Main Street institution, Weaver’s Bakery, close this winter after nearly 60 years in business. The storefront, where the coffee-drinking crowd of regulars gathered in early mornings for decades to shoot the breeze and discuss city and national politics, will reopen as an environmental consulting firm. (read more at Bangor Daily News)
AUGUSTA, Maine — Attorney General Janet T. Mills has sued a Bangor used car dealer in Penobscot County Superior Court for unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with the promotion and sale of used cars. The complaint, filed Jan. 31, alleged that Glenn A. Geiser Jr., 48, of Brewer and his dealerships, Bangor Car Care Inc., Bumper2Bumper Inc. and My Maine Ride, targeted consumers with poor credit who needed financing, pressured them to buy cars that were not roadworthy and did not respond to customer complaints, according to a press release issued Friday by Mills’ office. The Consumer Protection Division of Mills’ office received 86 complaints in the last 13 months about My Maine Ride, 159 complaints about Bumper2Bumper since 2011, and 539 complaints about Bangor Car Care since 2003. The state is seeking civil penalties, which could run as high as $10,000 for each violation; a permanent injunction to bar Geiser and any entity in which he has an ownership interest from promoting, selling and/or financing used cars; and reimbursement of the cost of the litigation, including attorney and expert witness fees. (read more at Bangor Daily News)
AUGUSTA – Maine’s economy is “booming,” according to the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve. Business Insider recently highlighted the news from the Reserve’s monthly coincident index for each of the 50 states. Governor Paul R. LePage today reminded Mainers how much the State has improved its business climate since 2010 when the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in Maine and nearly 10 percent nationally.
“When we took office, Maine’s economy was a mess, workers were losing their jobs in droves, and our state budget was a nightmare after years of liberals who advocated for tax increases, out-of-control government spending and the use of one-time money from the federal government,” Governor LePage said. “We’ve come a long way in the nearly three years since then. Our economy is growing, and over 8,000 more people are working since 2011.”
The Governor notes that while this report only covers a three-month period, it is still welcome news for the State of Maine. “This is all good news, and we’re headed in the right direction, but we’re not done. Our Administration is working to reform welfare to provide Mainers with job training to enable them to become self-sufficient, and we are continuing to improve Maine’s business climate so more jobs are available.”
Recent news has shown many positive signs for Maine’s economy, including:
•Maine moved to one of the ten best in the nation in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s leading index forecast for economic growth over the next three months. The indexes are released a few days after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases the employment data for the states.
•From January 2013 to August 2013, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) certified 12 businesses anticipating 267 new jobs, generating $14.2 million in payroll and nearly $70 million in new investment.
•Over the same period in 2012, DECD certified 14 businesses anticipating 128 news jobs, generating $6.3 million in payroll and just over $157 million in new investment.
•In the first eight months of 2013, DECD’s Maine Made Program certified 61 new small businesses.
•The first three years of private-sector job growth under Governor LePage were the best three years for Maine in over a decade.
•Maine’s four-week average of initial weekly unemployment insurance claims is at its lowest level since 2008.
•Maine’s unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, below the national average of 7.3 percent.
For the complete report: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/regional-economy/indexes/coincident/
December 2, 2013