What is the Working Communities Challenge Initiative?

The Working Communities Challenge advances local collaborative efforts that build strong, healthy economies and communities in Maine’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. Launched in 2020, the initiative supports local teams working together to improve economic outcomes for all people in Maine’s towns, cities, and rural communities.

Sagadahoc County Working Communities Team

Youth Action Board Members
Katie Joseph, Asst Supt, RSU1
Claire Berkowitz, President, Midcoast Maine Community Action
Deborah Hagler, MD, Mid Coast Hospital
Julie Kenny, Bath Tech
Melissa Fochesato, Mid Coast Parkview Health
Emily Ruger, City of Bath
Chris Ouellette, Bath Iron Works
Amy Holland, HUB Coordinator
Kirsten Latter, Midcoast Youth Center
Matthew Goodman, Southern Maine Community College
Dawn Wheeler, Merrymeeting Adult Education
Sara Cunningham, CEI
Jenn Dobransky, Midcoast Youth Center
Jamie Dorr, Midcoast Youth Center
Allen Lampert, Merrymeeting Adult Education
Amanda Pleau, Maine Maritime Museum

Caitlynn Chubbuck, Goodwill Workforce Solutions
Emily Bollman, Showing Up for Racial Justice
Hannah Lackoff, Patten Free Library
Hannah Rose, Big Brothers Big Sisters
Jean Guzzetti, Community member & parent
Jeffrey Martinelli, Goodwill Workforce Solutions
Katie Ramirez, SASSMM
Lauren O'Reilly, Chocolate Church
Michael Walton, First Federal Savings
Nicole Evans, United Way of Mid Coast Maine
Samantha Hallowell, Midcost Maine Community Action
Wendy Ault, Melmac Foundation
Doreen Fournier, United Way of Mid Coast Maine

Sagadahoc County Youth Action Board

Jeppie P
Isabella S
Elliot D
Leo H
Shavelle K
Braeden C
Aqil A
Riley H

Sagadahoc County Compelling Cause

Create a comprehensive web of education, mentoring, training, jobs, and programs that decrease the rates of hopelessness among youth and young adults and improve projected lifetime health and economic outcomes by 15% in 10 years, especially for those with low to moderate income.

We are very excited and honored to be part of the Maine Working Communities Challenge.

Bath is home to a rich maritime history, our downtown area is ranked one of the best in the country, and we are home to one of Maine’s largest employers. If you happened to be here last weekend for Winterfest, you might have wondered if you had just stepped into a real-life Hallmark movie!

Yet, when we look to our youth and young adult community – we see a disengaged population, struggling to find success in school or in the workplace, with high rates of depression and anxiety, substance use, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. Our youth are struggling with homelessness, they are losing their parents to the opioid crisis, and we are losing them to violent crimes, overdose, and suicide.

Our initiative will focus on reducing the rate of youth hopelessness by 15% over the next 10 years by creating a comprehensive web of support that includes education, mentoring, training, jobs, and healthcare; so that one call for help unlocks, and sets into motion, a wide range of support systems and removes the numerous barriers often faced – especially by families with low-to-moderate incomes, families of color, and members of our LGBTQ communities.

In ten years, our vision is for Sagadahoc County youth to be thriving, well-equipped, and eager to enter the workforce, resulting in a flourishing local economy and a healthy community. With your support, we believe we can begin to unravel these complex issues for sustainable systems change throughout the Midcoast region.

Six Working Communities Principles

  1. Cross-sector team of leaders from private, public, non-profit, and community working toward an ambitious shared goal;
  2. Engagement of community members in setting direction and decision-making;
  3. Economic inclusion, racial equity, and diversity across age, gender, and sexual orientation an important part of process and shared goal;
  4. System solutions, not just programs, to achieve team’s shared goal;
  5. Learning and adaptation through research, data, and peer exchange,
  6. Connections to ideas, people, and markets within and across local economies and communities.