Policy Priorities

Maine’s 10-year statewide economic development strategy is centered on talent and innovation. To achieve the three overarching goals of the plan – grow wages, raise the value-added contribution of each worker, and attract 75,000 people to the state’s talent pool – Maine must advance policies and investments that create strong foundations, prepare Maine’s youth for college and career success, re-engage and retrain adults, and attract new talent to our state. To further the goals of the state economic plan and grow the size and skill of the Maine workforce so that 60 percent of all Mainers have a postsecondary degree or credential of value by 2025, the MaineSpark Coalition supports legislation that:

Expands quality early learning opportunities, improves training and compensation for Maine’s early childhood educators and allows working parents to more fully participate in the economy, like:

  • LD 1584, An Act To Attract, Build and Retain an Early Childhood Education Workforce Through Increased Training, Education and Career Pathways which expands the ECE workforce pipeline from CTE to advance degree and provides scholarships and stipends to educators.
  • LD1760, An Act To Support Children's Healthy Development and School Readiness, a public-private partnership for early care and education that models the successful Educare’s Elevate Maine community-based approach in Skowhegan that supports quality care in Maine by opening up new enrollment opportunities in child care centers and programs and building a stronger childcare workforce.

Advances affordability and access of postsecondary education and workforce training, including for non-traditional students, like:

  • LD 509, An Act To Increase the Minimum Grant Amount under the Maine State Grant Program, which would raise the minimum need-based award for the first time in three decades.
  • Restoration of FY21 funding increase for the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy to lessen potential tuition increases.
  • Investments in broadband connectivity critical to time- and place-bound adults accessing flexible online education (as proposed in LD 1836 and LD 2021).

  • Modernizes public education facilities to support 21st Century learning and improve recruitment and retention:

    • LD 1947, Act To Fund Capital Improvements to Career and Technical Education Centers which would provide $20,000,000 for CTE center capital improvements.
    • Legislation initiated by the report of the Task Force to Recommend A Sustainable Funding Model for Maintaining Maine’s Public Higher Education Infrastructure, which recommended a new revolving fund to address $1 billion backlog at Maine’s public universities and colleges.

    Increase the labor force participation of existing Mainers and attract new talent to our state, like:

    • LD 647, An Act To Attract, Educate and Retain New State Residents To Strengthen the Workforce, which provides vocational education and training and job placement for new immigrants.
    • LD 1164, An Act To Improve the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit, which simplifies the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit to bring more talented professionals to live and work in Maine.

    Maine needs 60% of its workforce to have a credential of value (college degree, trade certificate, etc.) in addition to their high school diploma in order to connect to a job in today's economy.

    Today Maine is at 46%. Reaching our goal will require aligning education and training, from birth through adulthood, to provide Maine citizens with the knowledge needed to fill good jobs.In addition to best practices and investment strategies, this work requires a supportive and comprehensive policy framework.

    The four tracks of MaineSpark believe that advancements on any of these fronts will improve outcomes for Maine people. Together, these priorities provide a powerful roadmap to achieve our workforce goal.

    These underlying technical resource needs span all tracks as top priorities.

    1. Improve broadband quality and access statewide, with emphasis on connecting underserved communities.

    2. Adopt unified definitions for Adult Learner, Degree & Credential Attainment, Degrees and Credentials of Value, and College and Career Readiness.

    3. Develop a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) to track learning outcomes, credential attainment, employment and wages.

    A listing of bills to watch for the 130th Legislative Session will be added as available.

    It’s easy to advocate for a brighter future for Maine. We encourage MaineSpark partners to include in their testimony that they are part of this important coalition. See the below sample language used by our partners:

    • "As a member of the MaineSpark coalition, we support Maine's goal that by the year 2025, 60% of adults in Maine's workforce will hold a postsecondary degree or credential of value in demand by Maine employers."

    • "Our mission is to ensure that Maine people are prepared to succeed in education and careers and that all Maine people reach their highest educational potential. As a member of the MaineSpark coalition, we measure this by attainment - the share of adult workers with a postsecondary credential of value in demand by Maine employers. Maine's goal is to reach 60% by 2025."