Gov. Janet Mills speaks Saturday, May 21 during the Democratic State Convention at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Credit: Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald via AP

LEWISTON, Maine — Fourteen organizations will receive $12.3 million in grants to expand apprentice programs, Gov. Janet Mills announced Friday.

The funding is expected to provide more than 3,000 Mainers with apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship opportunities, more than doubling the number of apprentices, the governor said.

“These grants reflect the state’s commitment to making strategic investments that benefit both those who are searching for good-paying careers, and employers needing a pipeline of skilled workers,” said Laura Fortman, commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor.

The announcement was made at Lewiston Adult Education, one of the grant recipients. The funding consists of $11 million from the governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Jennifer McKenna, chair of the Maine Apprenticeship Council, said apprentice programs are a win for employees and employers.

“Apprenticeship is a career opportunity for all Mainers, it is an earn-while-you-learn career pathway that connects real people with highly skilled jobs that exist now,” she said.