Gov. Mills eyes $20 million investment for ‘critical’ Career and Technical Education Centers

Sat, 05/15/2021 - 1:00pm

FARMINGTON — During a Friday tour of Foster Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center in Farmington, Governor Janet Mills highlighted the importance of Maine CTEs in training skilled workers and spurring economic recovery and long-term growth from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maine’s public education system has 27 CTE schools that provide Maine students with training for careers, including in welding, nursing and emergency medicine, computer programming and pre-engineering, electrical, heating and cooling systems, building trades, early childhood education, marine trades, automotive technology, horticulture, hospitality and culinary arts, among others.

Governor Mills has proposed investing $20 million for program, equipment and facility upgrades for the state’s 27 CTEs as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, her proposal to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Maine CTEs have not received a significant investment from the State since 1998, according to a news release. 

“Jobs in the trades bring with them good skills and good pay, as well as stable, life-long careers, but it’s been decades since we’ve invested in the upgrades our career and technical education centers need to train students to fill those jobs,” said Governor Mills. “Investment in Maine’s CTEs is critical to our economic recovery and long-term growth. With newly available funds, now is the time to make that investment to connect our students with rewarding careers and the businesses that are waiting to hiring them.”

“Governor Mills’ support for Career and Technical Education Centers will help Maine’s CTEs unleash the potential of Maine’s young people, help fill Maine’s high-growth careers, and create sustained economic growth,” said Dave Keaton, CTE Director of Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton and incoming the Executive Director of Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE). “The investment from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is long overdue, and will provide Maine students with exceptional learning opportunities and prepare them for future success as skilled members of Maine's workforce.”

“The relationship between Maine employers and the state’s Career and Technical Education Centers is important for Maine’s economy to ensure our students are learning the skills needed to thrive in skilled trades, health care, biotechnology, and more,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. “The workforce investments of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which total more than $100 million, will create new economic opportunities for Maine students and employers.”

As Attorney General, Governor Mills used funds she obtained through a settlement with Bath Fitter to create plumbing programs at several CTEs in Maine, including Foster CTE Center. In 2019, as Governor, Governor Mills also proposed a $5 million bond to support equipment upgrades at CTEs. The proposal was rejected by some members of the Legislature at the time despite bipartisan support.

Governor Mills has presented the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to the Legislature and will travel the state in the coming weeks to discuss it in more detail with the people of Maine.