Maine is an aging state in need of young blood and skilled workers. With this in mind, I would suggest the following actions to help the refugees and the people of Maine.

First, screen out all the health care workers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Send them to one of the universities in Maine that gives degrees in these fields. Send the refugees there under contract, to learn English and relearn their skills to our standards in exchange for a five-year commitment to serve in an underserved rural community. At the end of the five years I suspect they will be members of the community.

I should note that when relocating to the rural community, it is important to not isolate the individual or families. So a doctor and a nurse or other assistants should be assigned together. This has been shown to improve successful integration of refugees.

Second, screen for other professions and do likewise. Bath Iron Works and Cianbro, to name the most prominent, could offer a similar training program for engineers, etc.

Farmers, herders and other agricultural workers could be partnered with local farmers, to enable them to start their own farms. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry should step up to the plate. We have seen local settlers create successful farms growing vegetables new to us but familiar to them, and create a new market for their produce in the process.

Such a welcome would benefit the people of Maine by bringing in needed workers with skills, and enhance the refugees’ chances of becoming citizens of the United States and the great state of Maine.

Charles Robertson


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