AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine House Speaker Mark Eves’ jobs bill is getting support from several logging groups, several manufacturers, education leaders and the Maine Chamber of Commerce.

Democrats want to invest $5 million over five years in at least 10 public-private regional partnerships like the one between York County Community College and Pratt & Whitney and several dozen other businesses that are using a machinist-training program to help fill 1,200 jobs.

Eves says such investments represent “a good down payment on growing the middle class.”

Jim Nicols, who owns the Nicols Brothers’ logging company, said that even logging has become high tech. He said workers need “extensive training on complex machines.”

The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee could vote on the bill later this week.

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