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November 11, 2021

MaineWorks, a Portland-based B Corp, expands into Massachusetts

File Photo / Tim Greenway Margo Walsh is the founder of MaineWorks, an employment firm that was founded in 2011 and places workers at jobs on construction sites.

MaineWorks, an employment company that helps those struggling with substance abuse disorders get back on their feet through steady jobs, has expanded into Massachusetts.

Following the successful expansion into New Hampshire in 2019, MaineWorks has moved into Massachusetts to work on major construction projects from the edge of New Hampshire into the core of metropolitan Boston.

MaineWorks has about 10 workers in Massachusetts, 20 in New Hampshire and 45 in Maine, said Ben Klebe, MaineWorks’ general manager for operations. 

“Every state presents a new set of challenges and needs and demographics. A kid who grew up in South Boston may have different challenges than someone seeking sober living in Portland. We’re seeing younger and younger workers,” Klebe said. 

“We’re adapting to the needs of the workforce in each state. Thankfully, in New England, the construction industry and sober community know our brand and we’re piggybacking off our success in Maine to grow where our clients need us,” Klebe said.

MaineWorks, created in 2011, is a for-profit B Corp that meets strict standards of social accountability. 

Maine Recovery Fund, a separate nonprofit created in 2017, provides MaineWorks employees the basics such as toiletries, steel-toe boots, safety helmets and goggles and the necessities for starting a labor job. 

Maine Recovery Fund also provides assistance with emergency dental care, sober living sites and rides to work, which has been difficult during the pandemic amid rising transportation costs at companies such as Uber, said Margo Walsh, founder and owner of MaineWorks. 

The “social impact staffing company” is currently looking for office space along the I-495 corridor in Massachusetts, but for now is running the Massachusetts operations out of its New Hampshire office, Klebe said.

The name MaineWorks and its bridge logo are being used in other states because the company has worked to establish a brand name and has recognition among large clients, many of which also work in multiple states. 

“The bridge logo is a representation of helping people move from broken and not working to purposefully engaged and working,” said Walsh. 

Klebe said MaineWork’s bright yellow coats recently attracted a client’s attention in Boston. The client said they had worked with MaineWorks in Maine and now wanted to work with them in Massachusetts.

“The brand is actually well known. That MaineWorks name recognition and brand actually makes it easier for us to expand than adopting a new name and trying to establish a new brand,” Klebe said.  

Walsh said a conservative approach to growth is the best plan for MaineWorks. Portland will remain the hub of the business.

“In the 10 years since we started, I would never have imagined the connections we have now with the mega-contractors and construction companies,” Walsh said. 

MaineWorks clients include AlliedCook Construction, Cianbro, Zachau Construction, Consigli Construction and the Penobscot Co., Walsh said.

The passage of the federal infrastructure bill will open up more opportunities for work as more money is spent on infrastructure and construction projects, she added. 

MaineWorks has worked with the Associated General Contractors, a construction industry trade group, on a pre-apprenticeship program to help MaineWorks employees build skills and records of the work they’ve done and skills they’ve mastered.

"People who work at MaineWorks are the most easily exploited of the industry because they are the laborers. Tons of money goes to resume writing, but who has a resume? These people are broken open and need help getting on their feet,” Walsh said. “If they do six hours of framing on a job, they can get a card or a record saying they’ve done that and know how to do it for the next job.”

"We're the little darlings of the construction industry," Walsh said.

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November 12, 2021

Congrats Margo and Maine Works! Doing well by investing in, employing and giving purpose to those in need!!!

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