Partnership engages in ‘Education to Industry’

6 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Efforts to better link employers with educators in Aroostook County continue for Aroostook Partnership.

The Partnership facilitates an “Education to Industry” working group to develop methods to grow the 20- to 44-year-old workforce in Aroostook County and provide a more skilled workforce for emerging jobs and those open due to retirements.

Some of those methods include purchasing Virtual Job Shadow for every school in Aroostook. According to AP officials, the online product provides students with examples of potential careers, what skills are needed and what the educational requirements are. Also, business-educator socials have been held to acknowledge the effort of teachers, administrators and others to educate the workforce of tomorrow.

The working group also advocates and assists, when possible, with student bus tours to local businesses.

The group, which met earlier this month, consists of guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, business leaders, economic development officials and others. Matt McHatten, vice-chair of the Aroostook Partnership board of directors, chairs the working group.

“Northern Maine is fortunate to have a highly skilled, engaged group of educators. It is one of our greatest assets in facing our workforce challenges,” stated McHatten. “We have seen positive results from the committee’s efforts to improve communication and collaboration. Our next step is to increase experiential learning opportunities for our students which is vital to work readiness and furthering awareness of the great careers available here in The County.”

The most recent business-educator social, held in Caribou this fall, highlighted businesses such as the Defense Finance Accounting Service in Limestone, MMG Insurance in Presque Isle, Porvair in Caribou, JD Irving and Katahdin Trust, which both have interests all over Aroostook County. Both the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College were represented as well.

Speakers relayed information to the teachers about jobs available and skills needed, but many of the presenters took the opportunity to discuss why they had chosen to have a career in Aroostook County. Many of the stories were similar, quality of life, great place to raise a family, low stress region, etc.

“We hope these stories make it back to the classrooms, to encourage students who may want to stay in the region, there are jobs and reasons to stay,” said Aroostook Partnership President and CEO Paul Towle.

“And for those who do choose to pursue opportunities in other areas of the state or country after school, we hope to periodically remind them, through effective outreach, of the many great reasons to possibly return home someday to live and work in the County,” said Towle.

Another business-educator social is planned for this spring in the St. John Valley.

To learn more about “Education to Industry” or  to become part of the effort, contact Towle at (207) 551-6601