On April 5, Fred Webber commented on Maine students’ readiness for the workforce, noting that only 50 percent are proficient in reading and writing skills (“Letter to the editor: Skilled workforce starts with schools”).

He is correct that our school systems must do a better job of preparing student for the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood.

However, this statement has been made many times recently, with no short-term solutions offered. Instead, the public school system is blamed, usually with a political agenda barely hidden beneath the rhetoric.

Many companies have recently complained about the lack of qualified candidates available for hire. I have two solutions for their concerns.

First, when supply is low, cost increases, and the best way to attract trained, competent workers is to offer competitive pay and benefits. If no one wants the job that you’re trying to fill, there is a reason.

Second, if you cannot locate the candidate you desire, then hire the best available worker and train her yourself.

There are rarely optimal solutions to any problem encountered while managing a business; the best companies confront their problems and create innovative solutions. Training and retaining a quality workforce don’t require innovation – just the desire to excel.

Mark MacLeod