Help Wanted: Manufacturing Jobs Available In Maine Part Two 

In part one of our special report, we showed you there are good paying jobs available in Maine. That is primarily because manufacturing in Maine has changed, and with that transformation so too has the skill set employers are looking for. “I said to someone before, if you work with your hands you’re a laborer. If you work with your hands and your head, you’re a craftsman. If you work with your hands, your head, and your heart, you’re an artist. And we really need artists.” Those are the words of Bruce Tisdale, President of Mountain Machine Works. Community Colleges all over Maine are training those artists every day. At Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, where they currently have 16 first year and 16 second year students of all ages and backgrounds, students learn their craft under the watchful eye of John Godin.Godin worked as a machinist for years before getting into teaching. Students in his class should have no problem finding a job in Maine when they graduate. The job placement rate in the precision machining department at KVCC? 90%. “They’re at entry level position,” Godin said. “They could go in to any shop and work safely, understand the work practices and with a little instruction as far as how their own company works they could do very well.” Tisdale says there’s a job waiting for them at Mountain Machine Works when they graduate. “What does that education cost? I think it costs $4500, or call it $5000 a year, for two years is $10,000,” Tisdale said. “And he would start out here at $15 an hour with great benefits.”Employers like Wick Johnson at Kennebec Technologies in Augusta is on multiple advisory boards and maintains continuous dialogues with community colleges, even donating equipment for students to train on while in school. He wants to make sure graduates are ready for work on day one. “I think the community college system does an excellent job,” Johnson says. “I mean we’re always pleased with the graduates of their programs who come to work here. We do a great deal of training in house. We expect to train we have people training every week. We pay tuition for our employees who get higher education, get more education including community college.”Those who choose precision machining as a career path learn quickly that the technology behind manufacturing has changed. “We’re looking at a whole new definition of manufacturing,” says Maine Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette. “Right now you can go into manufacturing companies and you could eat off the floor. They’re pristine. They’re high end. They’re high technology.”Those at the Maine Department of Labor see this as an opportunity to get unemployed or under-employed men and women in maine back to work. “That’s what we really want to focus on is making sure that we are up-skilling people no matter what their age in order to take those jobs that are in demand,” Paquette said. “Some of it is on the job training. Some of it is going back to school to learn what the new machines require.”Helpful Links:Maine Department of Labor Machine Works: Technologies: County Community College Maine Community College: