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  • Lawmakers meet with business and education leaders in Waterville, Maine

    Speaker of the House, Mark Eves at Thomas College with Rep. Hink from Augusta looking at some of the students great work. Lawmakers want more funds for workforce training and education.

    By Ramona du Houx

     Lawmakers met with area leaders in higher education and businesses on Wednesday as part of the Central Maine stop of the statewide jobs tour led by House Speaker Mark Eves.

    “Maine’s comeback story depends on growing good jobs and strong wages for the middle class all across the state,” said Eves. “The goal of the jobs tour is to talk to employers and workers about how to best to grow good- paying jobs, including the best ways to invest in workforce training and to grow public-private partnerships.”

    About 30 people participated in a roundtable discussion at Thomas College. The discussion covered regional workforce training needs, particularly in the areas of trade and technology, sustainable agriculture and health care, and the importance of public-private partnerships.

    “For 120 years, Thomas College has been preparing young people to launch successful careers in Maine and beyond. With our laser-focus on career preparation and a unique and powerful set of guarantees, we are thrilled to partner with local, regional and state leaders as well as the other dynamic colleges in the region to catalyze economic growth in Central Maine,” said Thomas College President Laurie Lachance.

    Lawmakers toured Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow. The company grows some of the most sought after seeds in America They are also reseraching and growing different varities for sustainablity.

    “It was exciting to bring together so many leaders from Central Maine,” said House Majority Leader McCabe. “We saw so much enthusiasm around how education, business and the public sector can work together to boost our region’s economy. Our discussion showed how much educational institutions can do for both workers and employers, whether we’re talking about associate degrees and skilled trades or four-year and graduate programs related to a host of other high-demand fields.”

    Eves is proposing a statewide investment of $5 million over five years to create at least 10 public-private partnerships to support job training in high-demand fields. The measure would also fund scholarships for workers and students to gain the skills they need to fill jobs in growing sectors, including agriculture, high skilled manufacturing, information technology and health care.

    The event at Thomas College followed a tour and discussion at Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow earlier in the day.