I want to thank Jason Judd of Educate Maine for his Aug. 28 opinion piece regarding the MaineSpark coalition, an initiative working to make sure that 60 percent of Maine adults have a post-secondary credential of value by 2025. MaineSpark is addressing significant workforce challenges that also have implications for U.S. armed forces recruitment.

Recruiting young people to serve in the military is a challenge today. Most are not equipped to join the military for reasons that include drug use or crime histories, poor academic achievement and challenges with physical fitness. This is a looming problem for our nation’s security.

Each of the four tracks MaineSpark targets – beginning at birth through high school and beyond – is critical to developing adults who are ready to participate in the workforce and are prepared for military service if they choose that path, as I did.

Reaching kids very early in life helps build a strong foundation from which they can stay healthy and succeed in school. Helping youth stay on a solid path throughout school helps make sure they steer clear of crime and drugs. Together, this helps prepare youth for a breadth of promising options beyond high school, including exciting careers in the military.

MaineSpark should be proud that they are already seeing solid progress in the percentage of Maine adults who are achieving credentials of value beyond high school. This initiative is crucial to solving Maine’s and the military’s workforce challenges.

Bill Libby

major general, U.S. Army, retired

Old Orchard Beach

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