As Maine emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, our state’s enterprise, training and civic leaders are grappling each day with methods to make the best choices to make sure future well being and financial prosperity. From my vantage level, knowledgeable by roles in each enterprise and training, it’s clear that training is without doubt one of the most necessary investments Maine could make for the way forward for our individuals and our collective financial restoration.
Financial development is dependent upon a talented workforce with the coaching and credentials required to satisfy the wants of our state’s present and future employers. Maine is dealing with a workforce scarcity throughout a lot of necessary industries, together with well being care, building, expertise and training. A lot of elements are contributing to this scarcity, from our growing old workforce reaching retirement, to sluggish inhabitants development, to the evolution of conventional industries adapting to rising international markets. Maine has an instantaneous want to draw, retain and domesticate a talented workforce by leveraging each alternative to interact new residents and construct expertise starting with our youngest residents. Instances of disaster can spur the form of innovation and collaboration that maintain large promise to adapt training fashions to satisfy the wants of our time.
What are some potentialities on the horizon? Now that increased training needn’t be rooted in a single place, anticipate to see elevated flexibility and non-traditional studying modalities. On-line studying opens the door to achieve ever extra Maine individuals, whether or not by two- and four-year diploma applications or short-term trainings knowledgeable by real-time employer wants. Campuses all through the College of Maine System and the Maine Neighborhood School System can push ahead on efforts to hyperlink studying pathways and improve transportability of credit, solely additional enhancing the accessibility and worth of our public establishments. The Roux Institute’s shut partnerships with Maine companies and emphasis on new applied sciences may even broaden the array of wealthy studying experiences statewide. It’s no accident that the state’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy and the report from the 2020 Economic Recovery Committee put expertise growth on the forefront of methods for Maine in each the quick and long run. Our strategic funding in training now will leverage essentially the most return on each greenback invested.
There are necessary concerns to make sure that our efforts are profitable. First, inclusion should be a precedence for training and workforce investments. Maine should leverage the abilities of our residents from all demographic backgrounds if we’re to energy a vibrant, globally aggressive financial system. Training establishments and employers alike should pursue focused actions, resembling fairness audits, to make sure our efforts are actually inclusive. Second, sturdy partnerships are vital. Enterprise, training and neighborhood leaders should come to the desk collectively to determine present expertise growth challenges, areas for development and new strategies of collaboration. We should work collaboratively towards the frequent purpose of creating Maine a prime studying vacation spot that pays dividends for college kids, companies and the neighborhood.
A current coverage transient from Educate Maine and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce – titled Higher Education in Transition: Opportunities and Challenges for Maine – emphasizes the numerous methods through which Maine’s postsecondary establishments and policymakers can meet the wants of this second. The transient outlines the significance of creating high-quality on-line studying accessible to all; constructing stronger partnerships between training and enterprise that result in extra short-term credentials and experiential studying alternatives; valuing increased training as a strategic funding, and retaining fairness on the forefront of our efforts. The report gives a roadmap for the sorts of practices and insurance policies Maine must prioritize whereas we tackle the financial upheaval introduced on by the pandemic.
Many nice people and organizations have been working tirelessly for a yr now to ship high-quality training and coaching throughout probably the most tough crises we’ll face in our lifetimes. Now that the top is in sight, let’s take this chance to leverage our studying from the previous yr and reimagine what is feasible for postsecondary training in Maine. With imaginative and prescient, innovation and collaboration, the longer term for Maine’s expert workforce is brilliant.
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