Maine Business Leaders Urge Support for Innovative Education Models
New research report points to large skills gap and importance of CTE and quality post-secondary education
On October 1, business executives, education leaders, and students from across Maine gathered to discuss the state’s looming skills gap and urge investments in career and technical education. That morning, ReadyNation released a new research report, “Who Will Be the New Business Leaders in Maine?” highlighting the serious challenges facing Maine’s workforce. If current trends hold, Maine will have a shortfall of 158,000 appropriately skilled or credentialed workers by 2025.
From a business perspective, American companies and Maine companies need a prolific feeder system for skilled workers to fill both existing jobs and the jobs of tomorrow.
ReadyNation member Deanna Sherman, CEO of Dead River Company and Chair of Educate Maine Board of Directors
The ReadyNation event was held at Lewiston Regional Technical Center where Culinary Art students prepared lunch for all the participants. The event focused on an innovative program called Bridge Academy, a cutting-edge career and technical education (CTE) program that provides high school students with an early college experience and the skills needed to graduate workforce-ready. Bridge Academy students attend their regional CTE school, where they participate in technical education in a field of their choice, which, in many cases, have college credits available.
Three ReadyNation members spoke at the event, emphasizing the need to strengthen CTE and high-quality postsecondary learning. A Bridge Academy graduate and her mother also shared their direct experience with the program. The Honorable Brian Langley, Executive Director of Bridge Academy Maine, highlighted the amazing success of the program, and how it’s helping the state reach the MaineSpark goal of 60 percent of Maine adults achieving meaningful postsecondary training or credentials by 2025. Addressing many small business owners’ concerns of succession plans, Langley said, “Students in the Bridge Academy are on track to be our future business leaders as they are gaining real world technical skills and rigorous academic skills in order to have that complete package.”
Maine cannot continue making economic progress without forceful actions on workforce development. That is the challenge of our generation.
ReadyNation member Jason Judd, Executive Director of Educate Maine