Sen. Curry introduces bill to study workforce development needs in Waldo County

Fri, 04/23/2021 - 3:45pm

AUGUSTA — Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, introduced Friday a bill to study workforce development needs in Waldo County, and to identify solutions to meet those needs.

LD 814, “Resolve, Directing the Maine Community College System To Evaluate the Need To Expand Workforce Training Options in Waldo County,” was the subject of a public hearing in front of the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

“All across Waldo County, I hear from businesses that can’t find qualified candidates, and job seekers who can’t find jobs,” said Sen. Curry. “So many of the industries where people can build successful careers require very specific education, training or certifications, but right now there are few ways to get that training in Waldo County. By providing local training for local jobs, we help our families, small businesses and communities succeed.”

The bill directs the Maine Community College System to evaluate the need for additional workforce development resources for key industries hiring in Waldo County. These industries include the electrical trades, carpentry, nursing, HVAC and more.

The study will also recommend the best methods for expanding workforce training options in Waldo County, including a timeline and associated costs and facility needs.

The Maine Economic Development Strategy identifies two workforce development strategies necessary to build a diverse and sustainable economy: growing local talent and attracting new talent.

“As our economy changes, we know that most jobs will require more than a high school diploma,” a news release stated.

Forty-four percent of the state’s workforce currently has credentials beyond a high school diploma, with a goal set in statute of 60 percent by 2025, per the release.

These credentials may be a two- or four-year degree, a license in the trades or a professional certificate, with the purpose of building a skilled workforce that can find employment in good-paying, in-demand fields.

LD 814 faces further action in committee.