Industry leaders in Maine worry about skills shortage

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The current gridlock in Washington has caused a skills gap in the nation that is detrimental to the marine industry work force.

That’s according to an op-ed that ran Monday in the Bangor Daily News by Maine Marine Trades Association executive director Susan Swanton and Front Street Shipyard  CEO Tuesdi Woodworth, which commends U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for efforts to dedicate federal funding to the creation of industry-led partnerships that would better align employment and job training services with the needs of in-demand industries.

“Maine could face a greater skills shortage if we don’t act soon. According to the National Skills Coalition, middle-skill jobs — positions that require more than a high school diploma, but not necessarily a four-year degree — make up nearly half of the jobs in Maine, but only 44 percent of workers have the skills to fill these jobs,” the opinion piece stated. “These make up the largest portion of the jobs in the marine trades. Boatbuilding and other marine trades require advanced training and certifications that are costly for Mainers and their employers. But we’re taking the helm and figuring out ways to work together to address these skills challenges.”

Collins is co-sponsoring the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success, or Sectors Act, in the Senate.

“Businesses need lawmakers in Washington to work together and pass the Sectors Act, a proven solution to aligning employment and training programs with the skills businesses need,” the piece read.


4 comments on “Industry leaders in Maine worry about skills shortage

  1. Bob

    When did it become the government’s job to churn out these “middle-skilled” workers? If the salary is sufficiently high enough, then people will obtain the training necessary for these jobs. If these positions are not being filled, then the salaries being offered are not great enough. If your business can not afford the salary to attract the necessary talent, then you need to re-examine your business plan.

    I just don’t understand why people want the government to get involved on both ends of this equation. We need the government to get out of the way. We don’t need to give the government more opportunity to mess things up.

  2. CubeFlyer

    While I agree with Bob’s comment, part of the issue is that a lack of skilled workers presents a hurdle for any company seeking to make investments. The object of any business is “dollars & cents”–a hard concept for some to grasp, it seems and yet we all knew how to count money at a young age. There are many factors when considering states/locations to invest in but generally speaking those that produces the greatest profit for the least expense will be selected–simple “mathimagics”. Quite simply, Maine is not business (tax) friendly… If Maine wants good paying jobs, it must create a business (tax) friendly atmostphere first–my 37.5 cents ; )

  3. CAPT. Bill

    Having lived in Maine my whole life , but worked mostly outside of it.
    Maine is not a business friendly state, ranking 4 years in a row with the
    highest place for operating a business.
    They need to make business easier and less government. Let the people get their own education and less government interference.
    By the way Maine is the second most tax state on it’s business’s and individuals !

  4. marriner


    A possible reason that you “don’t understand” is that your assumptions lie outside the so called “public private partnership” paradigm, a position that is not amenable to the continuance and growth of the symbiotic relationship that exists between politicians (tax) and electorate (spend)…

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