Weekly Democratic Radio Address by Sen. Seth Goodall (Sagadahoc): Putting Mainers back to work, helping businesses grow is a shared priority

Posted on May 11, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall with MPBN News's AJ Higgins

Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall with MPBN News’s AJ Higgins

Last year, more than 4,000 Mainers were turned away from Maine’s community colleges.

More than 200,000 Mainers started college but left before they completed their degree.

And, within a decade, 4,000 jobs could go unfilled if Mainers aren’t trained in high-demand fields like information technology and precision manufacturing.

This is just some of the news lawmakers in Augusta learned about the state of Maine’s workforce and business needs.

Good Morning this is Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond.

When we were on the campaign trail, we heard Mainers say that they want to be able go to work, pay their bills, and enjoy their family—and know, that we, as lawmakers, are doing our job— by working together to get results and move Maine forward.

And that is why, four months ago, a new legislative committee was formed to find solutions to close the skills gap and address the workforce needs of our businesses.

From the start, lawmakers on this committee got to work in partnership with economic, education, business, and labor leaders from across our state.

United in our goal, we sought to target our investments in a way that would strengthen the backbone of our economy: Maine workers and small businesses.

Just this week, we celebrated an achievement for our state.

The committee is proud of its work—unanimously passing a first-of-its-kind measure that will transform Maine’s workforce.

This measure is an investment that will grow Maine’s economy in the short-term while also building it to last beyond the needs of today.

Now, with passage of this measure, if you want to earn a computer science degree and you live in Washington County, or if you live in Presque Isle and want to be an electrician, Maine’s community colleges are working to come to you.

If you’re a company that employs fewer than 50 people, community colleges will work with your business to design worker training tailored for your specific needs–at no cost.

If you’re one of the 150 businesses that participate in the Apprenticeship Program, your workers can “learn while they earn.”

With the best trained workers, businesses can innovate and remain competitive in their industry.

These are just some of the highlights of more than a dozen parts to this bill–all of which are a win-win for Maine people, Maine businesses, and ultimately, Maine’s economy.

The success of this measure is borne out of the input from education, labor, and business leaders.

Putting Mainers back to work and helping businesses find the talent they need to grow is a shared priority.

While political divisiveness might exist elsewhere, Democrats, Republicans and Independents worked together to strengthen our middle class and grow our economy.

Community College President, John Fitzsimmons said that in his twenty-five years of working with the Legislature, this measure is the result of some of the most impressive and thoughtful work he’s seen come out of Augusta.

That’s something to be proud of.

However, we know that a skilled workforce isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take a sustained and focused effort. But, this is a great start to getting workers on a road to economic security and helping businesses remain competitive and grow.

Our priority will continue to focus on helping our economy grow so that people can get back to work, businesses can grow and every Mainer has the opportunity to succeed.

I am confident that as we near the conclusion of this legislative session in June, that with the passage of this measure, Maine’s workers and Maine’s businesses are one step closer to being on the high road economy where we all thrive.

Thank you for listening. This is Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall. Have a great weekend.

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