Making The New Markets Tax Credit Work In Maine

During the down side of the economy a few years ago, many businesses were forced to close of fight to remain in existence. So it was with the Woodland Pulp Company in Baileyville, Maine. The company had been the mainstay of the small town since 1905. It provided employment for the majority of people in and around the community. In more recent years, it was faced with extinction unless it could devise a plan, and come up with revenue to renovate the old mill and had a much needed expansion that would house a tissue making mill. The owners had visions of putting the mill back into better operational status, plus having the ability to train and hire many of the local residents. Their search to find the means of financing the plant and to hire and train recruits was found in the New Markets Tax Credit financing.

The Maine New Markets Tax Credit Program financing was a program that would provide funding for projects that would benefit communities and areas that were distressed economically. The Woodland Pulp Company was a qualified entity. The expansion of the mill, and the addition of the St. Croix Tissue Plant would mean hundreds of jobs for residents of the area. The mill would use the money to provide training for potential recruits. They partnered with the local community college to offer certification programs to people seeking employment at the mill and other businesses. With all of the up to date technological equipment being used in the new facility, there would have to be qualified individuals to do these jobs efficiently. They were able to work with a non profit capital management community development corporation that issues the New Markets Tax Credit financing.

With the help of the CEI Workforce development, the local community college, and the state labor department, Woodland Pulp owners had the support needed to train hundreds of people for positions at the mill. Most of the positions at the two facilities required people with specialized skills. Many of the traditional positions still remained, such as electrical positions, general maintenance, and instrumentation technicians. The also implemented a Maine Work Ready program for soft skills like communication, appearance, and behavioral qualities on the job. This is in collaboration with the ACT National Readiness Certification system. With the New Markets Tax Credit financing, the Pulp company was able to set a standard for the recruitment and training of those seeking mill, and other employment.