Bruce Wagner’s Aug. 10 Maine Voices column (“Invest more in successful programs to energize Maine economy”) is an insightful follow-up commentary on Maine’s current and future workforce challenges and how those will impact our economy as highlighted in the new Making Maine Work report.

The biggest and most recurring topic that the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and our partners Educate Maine and the Maine Development Foundation, heard from the more than 1,000 business and professional leaders who provided input into this new report is about Maine’s workforce challenges. The report echoed so much of what many of us have been thinking about and taking action on through our collective work with the MaineSpark coalition.

We are working harder than ever before to connect Mainers with the education, training, jobs, programs and resources they need to thrive in Maine’s changing economy. We all share a common goal: that by 2025, 60 percent of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position them for success. Currently, only 42 percent of Mainers hold such credentials, so there is much to be done.

Our strategies include both the in-migration of skilled talent and expanded workforce participation by growing the skills of current Mainers through postsecondary training at all levels and across many fields.

Maine has great potential for its future. Like Mr. Wagner, I believe that Maine cannot make continued economic progress without forceful actions on workforce development. There are few places in the world that have our combination of talents, resources and natural beauty. If we take action together, we can make Maine work for the prosperity of all.

Dana F. Connors

president, Maine State Chamber of Commerce


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