State lawmakers will tour a career and technical school and a thriving logging company on Monday, as part of the statewide jobs tour led by House Speaker Mark Eves.
“Our next stop will help lawmakers understand how new technology is transforming Maine’s traditional logging industry and its workforce,” said Speaker Eves of North Berwick. “By investing in education and training for workers, we can ensure Maine loggers can get good paying jobs in a critical growing industry in our state.”
The jobs tour gives lawmakers the opportunity to talk to workers, employers and community officials about growing good jobs and strong wages. This latest stop in Western Maine at the Career and Technical Education School of Applied Technology and Nicols Brothers Logging company will showcase what’s in store for the future of logging and forest products industry jobs in the area.
“If we want our economy to succeed, we have to stand up for our workers,” said Senator John Patrick of Rumford. “Workers are the backbone of our state and our products are only as good as the hard-working people who make them.”
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.
“Investing in our workers is the right way to grow our economy. It’s a win for workers and a win for our businesses,” said Rep. Matt Peterson of Rumford. “It is great to have lawmakers come to our area to highlight the growing industry and the hard - working people who punch a time-clock each day.”
Maine’s economy lags behind the nation, with a significant jobs gap and stagnating wages. Maine would have 19,000 more jobs now if the state were keeping up with the national recovery. Maine’s wages are 20 percent lower, on average, than wages across the United States – even those states with similar demographics like Vermont and New Hampshire have higher average wages.