Report: Maine's workforce needs to be better prepared | News

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Report: Maine's workforce needs to be better prepared

WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A new report released Monday found the quality of Maine's workforce needs to improve in order for the state's economy to remain strong into the future.

Maine Development Foundation put together the report. For the past several years, the foundation has been working with business and political leaders, looking at Maine's future. The nonprofit focuses on a productive workforce with the idea that educated, health and innovative workers can help Maine's longterm economic status. Using data based on the changing industries throughout the state and country, the group has mapped out what the state will need for a strong economy.

The group recommended that educational institutions collaborate more with business to determine what skills students need to succeed in a rapidly changing job world. According to a recent study, educators found 72 percent of their graduates were ready for the workforce, while businesses found that only found 42 percent actually are.

"We really need to have employers at all levels talking to educational institutions. Higher education down to the high school level, to make those engagements early on," said Ryan Neale, one of the study's authors.

The University of Southern Maine is looking to change its educational model to a "Metropolitan University." President David Flanagan said the ultimate goal is for USM to provide an education that will fuel Maine's economy and provide fiscal sustainability for the university. The five year transition will change the focus from research and in classroom education to more real life learning within the Portland community.

Authors are hoping the report will be used as guide by all stakeholders who are concerned about the future of Maine's economy.


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