From left, Devin McNeil from Flowfold, Carolyn Brodsky from Sterling Rope Company, and David Koorits from Good To-Go, sign the Pledge to America’s Workers with David Bernhardt present. (Courtesy Meagan Cooper photo)

BIDDEFORD — Three Maine companies signed the Pledge to America’s Workers at Sterling Rope Company in Biddeford with Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt present last Wednesday.

The Pledge to America’s Workers is a commitment to expanding programs that educate, train and reskill American workers from high school to later in their careers, according to Bernhardt.

It is part of the National Council for the American Worker, an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in 2018.

Carolyn Brodsky, founder and president of Sterling Rope Company, which designs and produces climbing equipment, said that she is pledging to retrain and find opportunities for 20 to 30 employees within the next five years.

“This actually is all about you guys, so it’s really cool that you’re here,” Brodsky said to the company’s employees before signing.

Representatives from Flowfold and Good To-Go, who were also in attendance, made pledges to their employees.

According to Bernhardt, nearly 280 companies nation-wide have signed the pledge.

Bernhardt congratulated the companies on the dedication they have made to Maine’s economy and outdoor recreation.

“I want to thank folks for doing their best and really for signing this pledge,” Bernhardt said. “What a joy it is today to speak about my two favorite things on the planet: one being outdoor recreation and two being American entrepreneurship.”

Brodsky said that the Department of the Interior is vital to the products that Sterling Rope Company produces.

“Basically, the Department of the Interior helps us and what we do in maintaining facilities,” she said.

According to Bernhardt, the United States has been creating more jobs than ever.

“What we’re seeing right now is a very good economy across the country,” Bernhardt said. “One of the results of that is, I think, since January of 2017 we’ve added about 6 million jobs across the country. Unemployment is at record lows throughout the country in all demographic groups.”

Bernhardt added that a challenge will be to maintain these jobs and keep growing as a country.

“That is really great,” he said, “but that also means that there’s a need to be committed, reaching out to folks who aren’t yet employed, finding ways to get them into the employment ranks, committing to retrain or train people and committing to fostering economic opportunities for folks from high school to much later in a person’s year.”

Besides maintaining jobs in the outdoor and recreational industry, Bernhardt said that he is dedicated to keeping Maine’s national parks a place for citizens to visit and enjoy.

“We have great places throughout the country to come for recreation and Maine ranks way up there in terms of national parks service,” he said.

— Catherine Bart can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9029.

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