Maine’s future success depends on a global workforce. When we talk with Maine businesses about barriers to growth and exporting, the inability to hire enough skilled workers to fill existing orders is frequently one of the top challenges for manufacturers across industry sectors. While addressing the workforce shortage is beyond the scope of MITC, our efforts in this arena provided international business-focused training for employees or entrepreneurs and internships for college students during the past year.
Whenever possible, MITC proactively collaborates with partner organizations, such as the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT) and the World Affairs Council of Maine, to coordinate on topics, scheduling, and cross-promotion for educational offerings. In 2022, Global U virtual training with expert panelists and instructors drew over 100 attendees on the following topics: Cybersecurity Essentials for International Business, Global Cybersecurity Roundtable, Maine International E-Commerce Roundtable, Mastering Export Documentation, and USMCA Benefits for Your Business.
Internships – Future Global Leaders
MITC has trained over 200 college students and recent graduates in our paid, part-time Future Global Leaders (FGL) internship program. As a Research Assistant, MITC interns learn about international trade from Maine’s point of view, hone internet and other secondary research skills, and gain valuable insight into what real Maine companies doing business internationally need to know.
In 2022, the FGL internship program underwent significant changes to emphasize professional development, student-centered project delegation, and experiential learning outside of the MITC office. Led by Trade Information Specialist (and 2022 Future Global Leader Award recipient) Abigail Gray, the program now emphasizes student initiative, community building, and increased direct engagement with Maine companies.
Beyond technical research on trade topics to assist importing and exporting businesses in Maine, this year’s intern cohort also pursued projects according to their interests that included supporting MITC marketing projects for social media and website content development, spearheading preparation of trade show guides for 10 Maine companies participating in MEDICA 2022 in Germany, and actively recruiting future interns at local career fairs.
Last year, a total of 13 applications for internship spots were received and 7 interns were hosted representing Husson University, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs, and University of New England.