By Madelyn Kearns
December 21, 2018
There is ample opportunity to be had in Maine’s USD 1 billion (EUR 876 million) lobster industry for those who are eager and interested in the work.
That was the overarching message shared with a group of inmates at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, Maine, U.S.A. on 7 December, during a kickoff session for a new training program aimed at readying incarcerated Mainers with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to potentially land a job in the lobster industry upon release from prison.
Established through a collaboration between the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association and the Maine Department of Corrections, the certificate-earning program is comprised of a series of workshops focused on supply chain dynamics, lobster handling, packaging and shipping, and warehouse and plant safety.
Around 45-55 offenders were in attendance during the initial information session hosted in Windham earlier this month, which saw local lobster businesses such as Cozy Harbor Seafood, Ready Seafood, and Inland Seafood conduct presentations on the career paths and possibilities available within the industry.
Representatives from the companies, alongside Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association Executive Director Annie Tselikis, spoke to the attending prisoners about the troubles they’ve been facing beyond bars trying to build their workforces. Low unemployment rates and changes to the H2B visa program have presented challenges for hiring as far as lobster companies are concerned in today’s booming economy, explained Tselikis.