To The Editor:
I was disappointed to read that my State Representative, Paula Sutton, will not be voting in favor of the bond issue to improve the educational programs at all seven Maine community colleges.
As a life-long teacher and educator, as well as a father of a former community college student, I have experienced first hand the value of the high quality, low cost education and training available through the Maine Community College System. These institutions provide a gateway to good jobs for thousands of students, ensuring that they have the necessary skills for the 21st century economy. Too many bright, striving Mainers are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them and it’s not smart for our state’s future.
Community colleges provide affordable, flexible, meaningful, hands-on training to high school graduates without the finances for a higher education who can postpone taking on big loans and find the classes that will redefine their life’s work. Veterans, mothers, single parents and workers who are out of the job market can become nurses, firefighters, IT professionals, accountants, chefs, plumbers, electricians, or automotive technicians. Many lives are changed.
According to a 2017 scorecard from CNBC for America’s Top States for Business, Maine ranks 50th in the “workforce” category. The report cited a lack of a “skilled, productive workforce, “ which is a huge disadvantage to Maine’s economy and our ability to attract and retain healthy businesses. That’s one of the many reasons I am voting for Bill Pluecker for my State Representative on November 6. While Ms. Sutton is against giving all the funding necessary to this life-changing college opportunity and investing in the future of Maine’s economy, Bill is committed to ensuring that policymakers see that supporting community colleges is fundamental to local economic development and keeping our communities strong. Bill understands that education is the key to building a stronger and more competitive workforce. He believes that having affordable, accessible training will provide employers with the highly skilled and well-prepared employees that are ready to contribute to their field. Bill is dedicated to a stronger future for Maine.