PORTLAND — Gov. Paul LePage called for improvements in Maine’s vocational and technical schooling programs at an education symposium this morning at the Portland headquarters of the Unum Group.

LePage said companies need workers trained in technical jobs, such as those involving construction and heavy equipment operation.

“The more choices the better. Not every child is born for academics,” LePage told a crowd of about 200 people at the Sixth Maine Symposium on Higher Education. 

He also stressed the need for quality teachers.

“I am looking to find all of the teachers of the year and the candidates for teacher of the year, to find common denominators of what makes a good teacher,” he said.

LePage added that teaching techniques should be flexible so to benefit students with different learning styles, and he said test results aren’t an accurate measure of academic success.

Other speakers at the symposium said Maine has a lower percentage of adults with higher education than other New England states, which hinders the ability of Mainers to make higher incomes. Experts say 60 percent of jobs will require a college degree by 2018.

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