As outlined so well in the Making Maine Work report your paper recently covered, Maine’s next governor and incoming legislators must prioritize growing Maine’s economy by improving the skills of our workforce if our people are to succeed and our state is to stay competitive. The recommendations included in the report are spot-on, particularly when it comes to education efforts to strengthen Maine’s future workforce.

One recommendation – and one of the surest ways to improve the skills of Maine’s workforce and help people succeed in life – is to reach kids during the first years of learning, through Early Head Start, Head Start and other quality pre-K programs.

Nearly half of Maine’s kids qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch. Maine needs to invest in these kids early on to help them develop the skills they need to be strong learners and get on a solid path to productive lives, including employment.

Maine also needs to invest in making sure our students are achieving proficiency throughout school. We must make sure that there are pathways to success for different kinds of learners. And Maine must continue its commitment to the MaineSpark initiative, whose partners are dedicated to making sure 60 percent of Mainers have a degree or credential of value by 2025.

The priorities in Making Maine Work must be adopted by Maine’s incoming leaders if our state and our people are to succeed. Thank you to the Maine State Chamber, Maine Development Foundation and Educate Maine for their collaborative work in identifying goals and recommended solutions to address Maine’s most pressing economic challenges.

Jim Clair

The Clair Group of Companies;

member, ReadyNation; co-chair, Maine Early Learning Investment Group


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