Internationally trained and educated professionals often have a hard time finding a job to match their skill set when they relocate to Maine, and unfortunately many people end up in low-level jobs for which they are way overqualified. So in 2019, the City of Portland’s Office of Economic Opportunity and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce launched Portland Professional Connections, with the primary goal of matching immigrant professionals with Portland-based professionals. The networking program has served approximately 100 people since its launch.

 More about the program: It matches internationally trained professionals with someone in Portland in their desired field (known as “connectors”) to provide information about the local job market and industry trends, and to help build professional networks. Connectors have at least five years of experience in the field in Portland. Connectors are volunteers. 

How it works: The connector and internationally trained professional meet  – it’s as easy as scheduling a cup of coffee together! 

Why a network matters: Networking gives people access to more job opportunities. A strong professional network can have a huge impact on achieving career success in Maine.  

Other program goals: The program fosters a sense of belonging, with 99% of both connectees and connectors reporting that they feel a greater sense of belonging to the community as a result of the program. 

Making a difference in gaining employment: Eighty-five percent of all jobs are the result of professional networking. When a connector sets up a warm introduction to someone in a recruiting position in a matching field, this elevates the foreign-born candidate from a faceless (and possibly unfamiliar-sounding) name on a resume to a person who is “vouched for” by a trusted professional in the community. 

How to sign up: Signing up is simple. Visit Foreign-trained professionals should click “Connectee.” Volunteers should click “Connector.”