For the past several years, Portland-based workforce development group Live and Work in Maine has organized a winter campaign to welcome “boomerangs,” people who grew up or spent time in Maine, left the state and then returned later.

This year, the campaign has been expanded into an initiative called Welcome Home, with events planned across the state in November and December to celebrate boomerangs as well as people who have chosen to live in Maine for the first time, with a goal of helping them make connections in their new communities.

Maine is facing a severe worker shortage that has been exacerbated by early retirements and those reluctant or unable to re-enter the workforce after being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shortage has affected restaurants, retailers, health care providers and even schools.

“As businesses in our community struggle to find the workforce they need to grow, we know that attracting and retaining people to the region is more important than ever,” Shanna Cox, executive director of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release issued by Live and Work. “These fun events are part of a key strategy to create the personal and professional relationships that tether professionals to the area, and make sure they call Maine home.”

Events are planned in Portland, Brunswick, Lewiston/Auburn, Bangor and Presque Isle. All events are free, but preregistration is required because of pandemic-related restrictions. For more details, visit liveandworkinmaine.com/welcomehome.


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