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Help Wanted – The Nonprofit Workforce Shortage in Maine (Part 2)

by Mary Alice Scott

In the first part of this series, we shared the data on the workforce shortage impacting Maine nonprofits. Organizations that continued to operate through the pandemic are facing multiple crises that have left them with fewer resources to operate and those who can are forced to provide services at higher rates.

It’s one thing to identify the problem, it is another thing to provide solutions. Alongside our partners at the National Council of Nonprofits, MANP is advocating in favor of the following federal reforms:

  • Extending and improving the Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Investing significantly in high-quality, affordable, and available child care options
  • Enacting the WORK NOW Act nonprofit grants and jobs program
  • Making essential reforms to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make it more accessible for nonprofit employees.

If your organization would like to join our advocacy efforts, it’s as easy as lending your organizations name to this urging Congress and the Administration to advance these policy priorities to help overcome the unique challenges you are facing as you struggle to serve our local communities through and out of the worst public-health and economic crises of our lifetimes. Sign the letter.

We can’t do this without you. That’s why the survey also allowed respondents to provide their approaches to overcoming new and longstanding challenges that have restricted funding and abilities of organizations dedicated to the public good. They included:

  • Prioritizing Equity from the Outset: Intentionally listen to marginalized communities for solutions that overcome past and current barriers blocking access to services and to support for providing services.
  • Multi-Year Agreements and Grants: Provide certainty and stability for critical programs by making agreements that extend beyond a one-year budget cycle.
  • Invest ARPA State and Local Funds: Look to charitable nonprofits as partners in investing ARPA funds to secure relief, recovery, and greater impact for the public good. (ICYMI – check out our BDN column!)
  • Out-of-Date Rates: Update reimbursement rates for vital services performed on behalf of governments and regularly evaluate and update the rates to maintain quality, promote employment stability, and secure desired outcomes.

At the state level, we are sharing your experiences with elected officials, policymakers and the press on both the problems and the solutions. Our Executive Director Jennifer Hutchins was just featured on the Portland Press Herald Business Series focusing on how nonprofits can navigate and survive the current environment.

Finally, we want to make sure your organization is taking advantage of existing relief programs. The

At our next MANP Connects on April 15, we’ll be going deeper into the nonprofit workforce shortage and what it means for Maine with special guest DECD Commissioner Heather Johnson. Register HERE. There will be an opportunity to share the unique problems faced by our sector, learn about new grant programs and ask questions directly to Commissioner Johnson.

Ultimately, the workforce shortage is threatening the ability to maintain essential services in Maine. What was initially considered a challenge has now become a workforce crisis in need of immediate remedy and commitment to overcome longstanding problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This work will continue – here’s how you can join us.

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