(l-r) Grant’s Bakery newest baker, Kierstyn O’Donnell, is congratulated by Don Grant, of Grant’s Bakery, on successfully completing her On-the-Job Training Program funded by Western Maine Community Action at the Lewiston CareerCenter. Photo courtesy of Monica Millhime.

Lewiston – Western Maine Community Action (WMCA) and Grant’s Bakery in Lewiston, recently formed a partnership to offer an On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program.  WMCA provides grant funding to qualified candidates to enter into a training program supported by various business sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and more.  Training is provided by an employer to a paid employee engaged in productive work resulting in knowledge or skills essential to full and adequate performance of the job.  “WMCA partners with the Maine Department of Labor’s Business Employment Services (BES) in order to provide services through various grants for people in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford and Somerset Counties,” shares Patti Saarinen, WMCA Program Site Coordinator in Lewiston.    On-the-Job Training is an incentive based program that reimburses up to 50% of a trainee’s wage for a specified time.  Partnerships are developed with employers in the public, private non-profit or private sector.

“Working with Monica Millhime, an Employment and Training Business Specialist, and the folks from Western Maine Community Action at the CareerCenter in Lewiston, has been a great experience,” shares Don Grant. “We needed someone to fill a baking position and had come up empty in our own search. Monica and her team referred three candidates to interview within a couple of days. Once we had determined our preference, WMCA proceeded to interview and review  our candidate was eligible and had the required skills needed to train as a baker.  Kierstyn O’Donnell was hired and trained on the job performing tasks needed to become a commercial baker. By partnering with WMCA, we were able to start Kierstyn at a wage we would have paid a trained baker to start . It would not have been easy for Kierstyn to come to work for us at a pay rate we would have started her at with no baking skills. So all in all, it was a win for everyone involved. We would do it again when it is time to hire again.”  FMI on job training sector partnerships call 753.9040 or email mmillhime@wmca.org.