Maine Governor Paul R. LePage joined with business leaders of the Manufacturers Association of Maine (MAM) to launch a statewide outreach campaign aimed to attract more youth and job seekers to careers in technology and manufacturing.
MAM partnered with the Office of the Governor and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to develop the two-year outreach campaign.
It will focus on students, parents, teachers and the general public to promote manufacturing-related job opportunities located in Maine.
MAM has set a fundraising goal of $300,000 for the campaign, of which $30,000 from the private sector has already been raised within the past few weeks. The Governor announced that DECD will provide $50,000 to support the effort.
“Manufacturing is critically important to Maine’s economy. Manufacturing companies employ over 51,000 workers in high-tech, high-skilled jobs in Maine,” said Governor LePage. “They pay well too. Wages in manufacturing are 28 percent higher than all industries in Maine. An average salary in production is about $46,000 per year. Average engineering wages are $62,000.”
Even so, MAM has identified approximately 1,000 jobs unfilled because of a skills gap. Many Maine students and workers do not see manufacturing as a viable career option.
“We will use existing organizations and resources to make stronger connections between Maine manufacturers and schools to help students understand what companies need and to build the applicant pool with qualified young people,” said MAM executive director Lisa G. Martin.
The campaign will highlight on the contrast between dirty, noisy and sometimes dangerous mills and factories of previous generations as opposed to the fact that today’s manufacturing facilities are clean, well-lit, safe and state of the art. More than half of all manufacturing careers in Maine are now considered high-tech jobs.
McKenzie Brunelle, a junior at Oakland’s Messalonskee High School, was one of those attending the announcement. She told the crowd that she enjoys math and science and would like to stay in Maine.
“I want to find a job I love and I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing today because I know there will be opportunities for me when I graduate,” said Brunelle.