MaineSpark Project Looks To Educate Maine’s Workforce

Sep 28, 2017

Nearly 500 Mainers engaged in workforce development met at the Bangor Cross Insurance Center Thursday as part of the recently formed Maine Workforce & Education Coalition.

Educate Maine Director Ed Cervone said his organization, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System the Finance Authority of Maine and more than 25 other coalition members have launched the coalition’s MaineSpark project to enroll more Mainers in programs that award postsecondary school degrees or professional credentials.

He said several state groups have already accumulated a significant database on workplace needs and the average skill sets for Maine grads.

“But we need to align it, we need to organize it together around a common destination, and then what we need to do is the real hard part and be really honest and ask are we getting there or not,” Cervone said.

The coalition hopes that to raise the number of workers with postsecondary degrees or professional credentials to 60 percent of the workforce by 2025. That number currently stands at 42 percent.

“If we can address the attainment level of Maine citizens, such that we bring that attainment level up to a place where we can encourage more of them to be in the workforce and succeed in the workforce and to do that not just in Maine but nationally, I think that’s the key to all of this work that we’re trying to do,” said Rosa Redonnett, chief student affairs officer for the University of Maine System.