AUGUSTA — Maine’s public universities need to work together more closely, more actively tout their importance, maintain world-class facilities and make sure a college education is affordable.

The future of Maine’s economy depends on it.

That’s the message of a report released Wednesday that assesses the role of the University of Maine System in fostering economic growth in the state.

“The engine of growth is our people,” said Laurie Lachance, president and chief executive officer of the Maine Development Foundation and the primary author of the report. “The higher the education of our people, the more powerful that engine will be.”

The Maine Development Foundation and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, which partnered to produce the report, released the publication at a Wednesday event at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center on the University of Maine at Augusta campus.

The report is available on the University of Maine System’s website.