STATE OF MAINE Department of Economic and Community Development RFP# 202402023 Workforce Attraction Marketing Services

RFP Coordinator

All communication regarding the RFP must be made through the RFP

Coordinator identified below.

Name: Phoenix McLaughlin Title: Director of Strategy Implementation

Contact Information:

Proposals must be received by the Division of Procurement Services by:

Submission Deadline: June 28, 2024, no later than 11:59 p.m., local time.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to:


A. Purpose and Background

The State of Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (Department) is

seeking workforce attraction marketing, outreach and support services as defined in this

Request for Proposal (RFP) document. This document provides instructions for submitting

proposals, the procedure, and criteria by which the awarded Bidder will be selected, and the

contractual terms which will govern the relationship between the State of Maine (State) and the

awarded Bidder.

1. Overview

The Department is seeking proposals from full-service marketing, communications,

advertising, and public relations firms to develop and implement a 2-year, $2.5 million

campaign to brand and promote the State of Maine as a place to work and live.

The campaign will support the goals of the State’s 10-year Economic Development Plan

(2020-2029), particularly as it relates to attracting new talent to the Maine workforce and to

build upon the work done to date by various other State agencies, including the State of

Maine’s Office of Tourism, and other State agencies. (Bidders can learn more about Maine’s

10-Year Economic Development Plan at

The awarded Bidder will develop and execute a marketing campaign to brand and promote

Maine as a desirable place to work and live – from north to south, cities to rural parts of the

state – with national and regional outreach components. In addition, the campaign will

provide support through the development of tool kits for Chambers of Commerce, Maine

businesses and trade associations, individual businesses and nonprofits seeking employees,

educational districts and institutions, and other relevant stakeholders within Maine working to

promote and enhance Maine’s image as a great place to live and work as part of their ongoing efforts to attract job seekers.

2. Current Context

The median age in Maine is 44.6 years, compared to the national average of 38.1 years.

Among a variety of factors, most noticeably, the aging of Maine’s population may result in the

loss of an estimated 65,000 from our workforce over the next 10 years. Maine has

committed resources and initiatives to address this in a myriad of ways within two of the most

prominent strategies in Maine’s 10 Year Economic Plan: Grow Local Talent and Attract New

Talent. In Grow Local Talent, Maine is committed to tackling this issue through internal efforts

to better engage with Maine residents of working age but not currently in the labor pool.

Attract New Talent Maine is focusing its efforts to capitalize on the positive net-domestic “inmigration” of workers of the recent years.

As outlined in our 10-Year Economic Development Plan, the goal is to attract 75,000 people

to Maine’s talent pool between 2020 and 2029. At the end of 2022, the “in-migration” number

was 11,600 people aged 25-54, and Maine attracted ~13,000 to Maine’s total talent pool

through our Grow Local Talent and Talent Attraction efforts.

While there are several outreach efforts to increase labor force participation among existing

residents, this RFP focuses on attracting talent, retaining students, and the relocation of

individuals and families currently working and residing in other States to Maine. The Federal

ARP funds made available for this program are provided to reinforce the state’s workforce by

attracting workers into Maine to fill critical positions in the State’s key industries most

impacted by the pandemic including healthcare and social assistance, construction,

transportation/warehousing, manufacturing, education, information, clean energy and

agriculture, fishing and forestry.


A. Objectives

The awarded Bidder will recommend and include reasonable, attainable, and measurable

objectives of the campaign which will result in higher domestic migration numbers into Maine

and joining Maine’s talent pool. The awarded Bidder will be designated as subrecipient of

funding pursuant to Federal ARPA guidelines.

B. Target Audiences

While virtually any worker in the United States could potentially move to Maine, in this effort,

the focus is on the following target audiences:

1. Workers and Families with Existing Ties to Maine: Whether they have vacationed or

visited Maine before, attended college at one Maine’s higher education institutions, know

other friends and/or families living in Maine, those with prior or existing ties to Maine are a

likely target to return as workers.

2. Young Families: Families with young children may be attracted to Maine’s sound school

systems; its Alfond 529 grant, which provides $500 to every baby born in Maine; its low

crime levels; and the possibility of remote work within a state that has so much to offer.

3. Remote Workers: In today’s mobile society, remote workers can choose to live in one

state while working for an organization in another state. With all Maine has to offer, it is an

attractive option for remote workers, who may move here while working for an out-of-state

firm but may ultimately seek employment with a Maine-based company.

4. New Americans, Skilled Workers, and International Trained Professionals living in

other U.S. States: Growing Maine’s racial, ethnic, and multilingual workforce is key to

achieve our overarching talent attraction goal, particularly among workers with easily

transferrable skills. Furthermore, this campaign seeks to pay special attention to the twoplus million college-educated (or beyond) immigrants in the United States who underemployed and are not able to optimize their academic and professional background with

their current occupations in states outside of Maine. Maine is putting forth an array of

coordinated initiatives to ensure internationally trained workers and professionals are able

to reach their optimal career potential in Maine.

5. Recent College Graduates: Maine has several programs, such as the Student Loan

Repayment Tax Credit, which reimburse college debt for recent college graduates living

and working in Maine. College graduates in and around New England are likely targets for

Maine’s workforce, especially in the bioscience and technology sectors.

6. Transitioning Military personnel and their Families: Every year, approximately

200,000 men and women leave U.S. Military service and return to life as civilians. Efforts

over the past several years have proven that Maine is a great location for transitioning

military members and their families.

C. Geography

The awarded Bidder will provide grounded, clear recommendations on reaching the most

likely prospects within the Department’s six target audience groups – whether within other

New England States, key metropolitan areas/states in other parts of the country, or via

recommendations other than geographic location.

D. Strategies

The awarded Bidder will assist the Department in achieving its objectives by:

State of Maine RFP# 202402023

1. Creating a Brand that is flexible enough to stand on its own in national/regional

education, outreach, and promotion efforts as well as be used by in-State organizations,

businesses, institutions, and State agencies in their workforce recruitment efforts.

2. Creating a Campaign that supports or can be layered thematically with other current

workforce attraction campaigns conducted by organizations within the state. This new

campaign must also leverage the Office of Tourism campaign, which will run concurrently.

3. Using Highly-Targeted Paid Advertising to reach those easiest to reach low-hanging

fruit in our target audiences. Given the budget for this project, the Department believes

exploring digital re-targeting ads, other forms of digital advertising (YouTube,

apps/games, podcasts), as well as appropriate and targeted sponsorships will prove most

effective. However, the Department is open to all suggested approaches.

4. Maximizing Public Relations efforts to effectively reach these audiences, including

traditional print and broadcast outlets, social media outlets, websites, blogs, podcasts,

and other online outlets.

5. Creating a Tool Kit of materials that make it easy for Maine businesses, educational

institutions, nonprofits, trade and professional associations, State agencies, and other

groups interested in hiring employees/expanding workforce capacity to help spread a

consistent message about the advantages of living and working in Maine. The contents of

this kit shall support the effective recruitment of out-of-state workers to work and live in

Maine – all parts of Maine, particularly to rural areas.

6. Designing a Website to maximize the connection with other campaign elements. The

successful Bidder will ensure that all messages and materials are available via a

standalone website specific to this effort. The website shall feature highly interactive

features and functionality to facilitate connections with other related campaigns; act as

one stop shop for interested parties seeking to move to Maine and a virtual resource hub

or portal for Maine employers to retrieve resources as needed.

7. Creating, Leveraging and Attending Events to generate interest in relocating to Maine.

Transitioning Military and graduating students are examples of audiences where creating

events or attending specific events could generate interest in the opportunities Maine has

to offer.

E. Brand and Campaign Theme Creation

The awarded Bidder will create a brand, brand persona, and campaign theme for Maine’s

campaign to attract workers to the State based on career options and lifestyle choices. This

brand must be developed within the context of how it is integrated into national and regional

(external) promotions as well as used by Maine businesses, organizations, cities, and

geographic regions for their workforce attraction campaigns within their own unique needs at

the local, regional, or state level. All areas of the state must be represented. The State of

Maine and the Department are specifically interested in focusing on Maine’s more rural

areas, particularly the least populated counties.

Creative concepts and creative messaging for positioning Maine authentically and

compellingly are encouraged. The awarded Bidder will be responsible for conducting all

necessary research critical to developing their concepts and creative messaging materials.

F. Market Analysis and Recommendations

The awarded Bidder will identify target groups from within the Department’s requested target

audience categories, and conduct primary research as needed, such as segmentation

research, analysis of market trends, analysis of website trends, ad testing, web user

experience testing, capturing, and understanding target audience insights and data. This

information will be used to develop targeted, effective, measurable outreach.

The Department is currently conducting research to better understand the domestic migration

patterns that emerged post pandemic and the year 2020. In 2021, Maine jumped from 42nd to

the 14th State in overall net-domestic migration. Additionally, it was 7th in the nation in

domestic net migration in 2021 and 10th in 2022. The awarded Bidder will be supplied with a

copy of the research results to aid in developing this stage.

G. Workforce Attraction Tactical Campaign Plan

The awarded Bidder will develop and implement a 2-year workforce attraction plan.

H. To accomplish the outcomes described above, the awarded Bidder must provide the

following services:

1. Creative Services

For all recommended tactics, provide creative services including but not limited to

graphic design, copywriting, advertising development – print (including

printing)/broadcast/digital – video production, photography, stock photography,


All original advertising material, layouts, copy, photography, illustrations, sketches, and

storyboards created by the awarded Bidder will become the property of the State of

Maine/Department once contractor charges are fully paid. If necessary, the awarded

Bidder will negotiate the transfer of rights from any subcontractor to the Department.

should a subcontractor be used to provide any creative services.

2. Media Services

For planning, negotiating, purchasing, and placing all media. Including tracking and

reporting on campaign performance, evaluating analytics, checking all media for

accuracy, appearance, and quality, and verifying all paid media ran as scheduled.

3. Public Relations Services

For implementing all recommended public relations tactics, including article writing,

pitching, placement, scheduling of appearances for the Department staff on podcasts,

TV, broadcast opportunities, scheduling of Department staff to speak at national,

regional, and/or statewide meetings and conferences.

4. Web Services

For creation of a standalone website with linkable elements to the Department’s site and other sites/portals in the workforce attraction space as appropriate.

This website must include a level of functionality to support what is described under

Strategies in Part II D of this RFP.

5. Account Management Services

For a day-to-day point of contact for Department staff and overall account

management, including contracts, budgets, billing, quality control, and project

management to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget. Attend and

present at Department steering committees, related conferences, and events as

needed. Work with any business or trade associations, as directed by the Department,

to co-present on the use of tool kits.

6. Event Management and Attendance

Identify, create and/or attend hiring events or specific target audience events.

Providing workforce attraction campaign materials.

While the awarded Bidder is not required to have an office in Maine, it is very likely

that the Department will require the awarded Bidder to attend in-person meetings and

hiring events in Maine and the New England region to conduct presentations or meet

with stakeholders. Therefore, the Bidder shall be prepared to travel to Maine and the

surrounded New England region as needed.

7. Reporting

The awarded Bidder will provide a monthly report on key performance indicators

(KPIs) for review by the Department.

I. I.T. Policies

1. Digital Accessibility

2. Social Media for State Business

3. Domain Name Policy and Procedure

A waiver for domain naming is possible but will need to have a request submitted to

the MaineIT Enterprise Architecture Team once the proposed domain name has been


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