John Dorrer

Director, Labor Market and Workforce Research, Jobs for the Future
Chapter Member: Boston SSN, Maine SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About John

Dorrer is a national workforce development expert focused on labor market research, evaluation of education and training programs, and alignment of education and training with regional economies. He has served in government as Acting Commissioner, Chief Economist and Research Director of the Maine Department of Labor; in the non-profit sector at Jobs for the Future, the National Center on Education and the Economy, and the Training and Development Corporation; and in education as Adjunct Faculty member in the Departments of Economics and Public Administration at the University of Maine. Dorrer serves on the board of the New England Federal Reserve Bank, New England Public Policy Institute, Labor Market Information Training Institute, Maine Center for Economic Policy, and Mid Coast Regional Redevelopment Authority. He also advises the Governor’s Office, the state of Maine, Jobs for Maine Graduates, and the University of Maine system on workforce issues.

In the News

Opinion: "Desideratum: Heading Off the Prospects of a Dark and Tumultuous Future," John Dorrer (with Luisa S. Deprez), Common Dreams, October 13, 2020.
Opinion: "Commentary: Retooling Maine’s Displaced Workers," John Dorrer (with David Vail), Portland Press Herald, July 1, 2018.
Quoted by Anthony Brino in "These Aroostook County Employers Who Can’t Fill Jobs are Asking How to Recruit Immigrants," Bangor Daily News, April 5, 2016.
Opinion: "A Rough Ride for Mainers over the Next Four Years of LePage," John Dorrer (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, November 11, 2014.
Opinion: "Signals from the Labor Market: Is Anybody Listening?," John Dorrer (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, August 20, 2013.
Opinion: "To Draw Students, Raise Pay for Tech Jobs," John Dorrer, Portland Press Herald, March 19, 2013.
Opinion: "Investing in Maine's Future: The Case for the Competitive Skills Scholarship Program," John Dorrer (with Sandra S. Butler and Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, February 26, 2013.
Opinion: "Join the Union Club: It's a Good Bargain," John Dorrer (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, December 25, 2012.
Opinion: "What is Maine's Vision for Work Force Development?," John Dorrer (with David R. Clough), Bangor Daily News, December 9, 2011.
Interviewed in "Maufacturing Jobs on the Rise in Maine," Maine Public Broadcasting Network, April 19, 2011.
Research discussed by Ben Hanstein, in "New Initiative Looks to Connect Emerging Workforce with a New Economy," The Daily Bulldog, April 4, 2011.
Interviewed in "Unemployment Rates in Maine," Maine Public Broadcasting Network, May 17, 2010.


"Investing in Human Capital in Difficult Times: Maine’s Competitive Skills Scholarship Program," (with Sandra Butler, Luisa Deprez, and Auta Main), Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, University of Maine, 2010.

Evaluates an innovative program designed to develop the competitiveness of low-wage, low-skill workers. Found positive labor market outcomes and set the stage for ongoing evaluations in order to build evidence-based strategies for program improvement and expansions.

"The U.S.: Managing Different Levels of Accountability" in Managing Decentralisation: A New Role for Labor Market Policy, edited by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, December 2003).
Offers a U.S. perspective on labor market policy where accountability is invested in multiple levels of government, i.e. federal, state and local. Explores the challenges of developing and managing accountability measures and systems with multiple funders and stakeholders.
"From Welfare to Work: Prospects for Transition," Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, University of Maine, 1995.
Analyzes some of the major labor market challenges that Maine policymakers needed to prepare for in implementing new welfare legislation. As federal welfare policy moved towards increasing requirements for work, there was little evidence available at the state level on the challenges that clients would face in rural labor markets where employment opportunities were scarce and low wages prevailed. This report addressed these issues.
"Job Training 2001: A Case Odyssey," National Youth Employment Coalition/William T. Grant Foundation, Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship, 1992.
Provides a case study of how a client might actually experience the (then) new job training system of one-stop career centers. In considering reforms for federal job training policy, policymakers traditionally focus on governance and the allocation of financial resources. This paper, collected after its presentation in "Making Sense of Federal Job Training Policy: 24 Expert Recommendations to Create a Comprehensive and Unified Federal Job Training System," encouraged policymakers to look at reforms from the perspective of individuals who would be served and the needs they have.
"Connecting Policies and Programs: Potential of JTPA at the State Level" Focus: Journal of Employment and Training 1, no. 2 (August 1985).
Offers the perspective of a practitioner long frustrated with the disconnect between local program operations and federal policy for federal job training programs. As policymakers vehemently argued the pros and cons of state versus federal control in job training programs, this article argued for client-centered policy and program development.