County Business Report: 5.28.2021

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 8:01 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -A report looking at the trends of workforce development throughout the pandemic and into Maine’s future reveals some changes that need to happen in higher education. Shawn Cunningham has the story in this week’s County Business Report.

The group Educate Maine and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce released a new policy report called “Higher Education in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities for Maine.” Kathryn Johnston the Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives for Educate Maine says explains how the report explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education in Maine and provides recommendations on a focused direction toward effective and equitable access to post-secondary education for everyone who wants it.

Kathryn Johnston Educate Maine, Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives

“this brief really speaks to that very concretely so where’s our education system right now its in a huge state of flux and how does this impact whether or not Mainers are getting the skills they need to do the jobs in the economy.”

Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP


One important aspect of the brief reaffirms what state education officials, business leaders and community stakeholders have been saying for the past fw years...stressing an importance of workforce development and ensuring Main’s laborforce is educated and skilled.

“what’s really important is when I’m talking about college I’m not just talking bachelor degrees I’m talking about in general any degree or credential of value so I’m talking about training programs especially through the Maine Community College system they have some really great training programs for a whole range of industries.”

Dana Connors, president and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce says the quality of our workforce has always ranked high among Maine’s assets. The brief offers four broad recommendations with targeted components that can help Maine achieve its goal of ensuring at least 60% of its population has a degree or credential of value by 2025.


They include Make online learning high quality and accessible to all.

Encourage innovative credential pathways and partnerships that align higher education and business.

Consider higher education a strategic asset.

Keep equity at the forefront.

“so the point is we can’t afford to put this on hold we need to do everything we can to make sure the systems are working to meet people where they are...’

The policy brief can be found at Shawn Cunningham, NS 8.

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