Governor Mills: Building the workforce that Maine needs in the decades ahead

October 24, 2022

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

Well this week, I joined graduates from Eastern Maine Community College to celebrate an important milestone in their lives and careers.

Each of them graduated with an important new set of skills — skills that Maine employers are looking for. These people worked hard and earned a credential proving that they are prepared to take on an in-demand job in our economy, a job that Maine people rely on.

Some of these individuals will be collecting blood, phlebotomists, providing support to doctors and nurses and patients. Some of them will be doing the technical work that keeps our health system running smoothly. Every day, their work will help keep Maine people healthy.

Some students will work in energy, inspecting, maintaining and operating propane delivery trucks, filling propane storage containers, and making customer deliveries. Every day, their work will help keep Maine families warm.

Some of them will work as Learning Facilitators. Now that’s a program our Department of Education created with Eastern Maine Community College during the pandemic. It’s a program that supports teachers in classrooms all across the state. Every day, their work will help provide a quality education to our children.

It takes courage to be willing to learn a new skill. Some of these individuals are young single moms. Some are older workers looking to increase their skills and increase their opportunities and their pay. Look, I am proud of each of those graduates, and I know that their friends, family, and faculty are proud of them too.

I am also proud that the State of Maine was able to help. We invested $35 million in the Maine Community College System, through my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan as approved by the Legislature, to provide free or low-cost trainings like these that the graduates at Eastern Maine Community College have just finished.

Combined with a $15.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, over the next few years, the Maine Community College System will train 24,000 skilled workers, ready to work. That will go a long way toward helping us build the workforce that Maine needs in the decades ahead.

Separately, through my supplemental budget, we have also invested in free community college for recent high school grads to further build out Maine’s workforce. Earlier this week, we learned that enrollment in the community colleges in Maine is up 12 percent this year!

I want all Maine people to be able to experience a graduation ceremony like the one I just attended – a celebration of a new skill they someone has that will provide a better life for themselves and their family. A milestone that marks a more skilled workforce and a stronger economy in the State of Maine.

In partnership with our community college system, the state legislature, and others, my Administration will continue to push to make that goal a reality.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.