LePage Announces Plan To Promote Manufacturing Jobs To Maine Students 

More than half of all manufacturing jobs in Maine are considered high tech jobs, many commanding salaries of $50,000 a year or more. More than 1,000 of those jobs in Maine are currently unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers to fill the openings. “It’s the schools,” Governor LePage said Monday. “Our schools have been in denial on what’s been available out there. We’ve taken an approach, 25 years ago, of pushing every child to college. Not every child is going to go to college and we have a responsibility to our children to provide them with the opportunities for a good education.” Monday, in Augusta, Governor LePage introduced a new plan he hopes will get Maine students interested in the field of high tech manufacturing.The governor announced the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development will invest $50,000 to launch a new statewide marketing campaign aimed at educating Maine students, parents and the public about modern manufacturing opportunities in the state. LePage said he will visit schools himself to spread the word. “This outreach campaign is going to be statewide. We look forward to working with the manufacturers association to make this happen.”The governor was flanked by students from Messalonskee High School in Oakland and members of the business community who hope this new initiative will help them rejuvenate their workforce. “Our work force is aging. As they retire, there is not necessarily a sufficient pipeline of skilled workers coming up behind them. It is critical that we start to cultivate this pipeline and cultivate this pipeline now,” said Alexandra Ritchie of New Hampshire based Cate Street Capital. The governor also took the opportunity to fire another shot across the bow of Maine’s current education system, who he accused of not doing enough to educate students about the manufacturing careers available in the state. “60% of seniors graduated in Maine this year,” LePage said. “That’s not good. So that’s a problem. And I’ll tell you the position that the K-12 system has taken is not defensible.”LePage says we owe it the students to let them know what’s out there. “A good education is a game changer for everyone. I believe if we provide them with the resources these kids they’re like sponges, they learn.”