Governor Paul R. LePage joined with students, business leaders of the Manufacturers Association of Maine to launch a statewide outreach campaign aimed to attract more youth and job seekers to careers in technology and manufacturing. The announcement was held Monday morning in the Governor's Cabinet Room at the State House.
The Manufacturers Association of Maine, a business and industry association serving more than 425 members, partnered with the Office of the Governor and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to develop a two-year outreach campaign that will focus on students, parents, teachers and the general public to promote manufacturing-related job opportunities located in Maine.
The Manufacturers Association of Maine has set a fundraising goal of $300,000 for the campaign, of which $30,000 from the private sector has already been raised within the past few weeks. The Governor announced on Monday that DECD will provide $50,000 to support the effort.
"Manufacturing is critically important to Maine's economy. Manufacturing companies employ over 51,000 workers in high-tech, high-skilled jobs in Maine," said Governor LePage. "They pay well too. Wages in manufacturing are 28 percent higher than all industries in Maine. An average salary in production is about $46,000 per year. Average engineering wages are $62,000."
Still, the Manufacturers Association of Maine has identified approximately 1,000 jobs unfilled because of a skills gap and many Maine students and workers do not see manufacturing as a viable career option.
"We will use existing organizations and resources to make stronger connections between Maine manufacturers and schools to help students understand what companies need and to build the applicant pool with qualified young people," said Lisa G. Martin, Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association.
This campaign is designed to change the perception of manufacturing. In contrast to the dirty, noisy and sometimes dangerous mills and factories of previous generations, today's manufacturing facilities are clean, well-lit, safe and state of the art. Computer technology has brought about dramatic changes in the way new products are made. More than half of all manufacturing careers in Maine are considered high-tech jobs.
Several students from Oakland's Messalonskee High School attended the announcement expressing interest in pursuing careers in the manufacturing industry. The students were encouraged by the Governor to explore all their options and learn more about opportunities in these companies that are seeking their talent.
McKenzie Brunelle, a junior, shared with the crowd that she enjoys math and science and would like to stay in Maine. "I want to find a job I love and I'm encouraged by what I'm hearing today because I know there will be opportunities for me when I graduate," she said.
For more information about the initiative, contact the Manufacturers Association of Maine at (207) 854-2153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.