Gov. LePage released some good news Friday on a subject where good news has been hard to come by. There are plenty of jobs available in Maine — good-paying , technical jobs — that could take a serious bite out of the state’s unemployment rate. But the bad news is that we don’t have the people to fill them.

According to LePage, who conducted a jobs summit with two dozen employers representing a broad range of industries, there are 21,000 job postings in the state, with most requiring post-secondary degrees or expertise in a particular trade. Since about 24,000 Mainers are collecting unemployment, LePage said, Maine could nearly eliminate its employment problem if people had the right skills.

But filling all those jobs is not as easy as it sounds. It’s a long-term fix, that involves K-12 education, vocational schools, adult education programs, community colleges and the state university system. It will also require public and private employers providing training opportunities for current members of the work force to update their skills.

But as difficult as it will be, it offers a different way to look at economic development. Rather that looking solely for strategies of luring businesses into the state, efforts should also focus on helping Maine residents fill the jobs that are already here.

The work force development conference should provide support for something that was a signature issue for LePage during his run for the Blaine House last year — the optional fifth year of high school. Students in a five-year program would graduate with an associate degree in addition to a high school diploma. That could mean an affordable head start to a four-year college, and an entry to the work force with the right credentials.

To address the skill gap, education programs should coordinate with businesses to make sure the future workers are graduating with the right skills.

The puzzle of matching the skill level of the work force to available jobs is not a new problem or one unique to Maine. It won’t be solved by business, government or the workers on their own, but will require all three to work together – and a conference like Friday’s is a good place to start.