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Only a week is left before the 128th Legislature’s scheduled adjournment on April 18. Among the unfinished business is LD 1492, “An Act to Attract, Educate and Retain New Mainers to Strengthen the Workforce.” An amended version of the bill eliminated the proposed executive branch “Office of New Mainers” but would spend $390,000 in FY 2018-19 on adult education, language courses and workforce training for immigrants. A recent op-ed in the Bangor Daily News by University of Maine professor Robert Glover and an undergraduate honors student, Cleo Barker, makes the point that almost half of recent immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the United States have at least a bachelor’s degree, but end up working in low-skill positions because they lack U.S.-based work experience. Glover and Barker argue that many of those under-employed new Mainers have skills and experience that are needed in this state and would benefit from the programs funded by the amended bill. Despite strong bipartisan support, LD 1492 was sent to the “special appropriations table” — where, as the authors note, “good bills go to die.”
If this bill dies, do you see it as a missed opportunity to address Maine’s shortage of skilled labor by helping immigrants get the training or credentials they need to be fully employed?
Comments

04/11/18 AT 03:22 PM
With unemployment rates at near-bottom levels Maine urgently needs new and upgraded workers to make its economy grow. All the talk about business tax incentives is useless if businesses cannot find the workers they need.

04/11/18 AT 02:34 PM
Our state is one of the oldest/grayest states in the country. We need younger people to keep our local economy strong. This would be *such* a missed opportunity if the bill is allowed to die.

04/11/18 AT 01:52 PM
Shame on the Legislature!

04/11/18 AT 12:39 PM
Short-sighted thinking.

04/11/18 AT 12:39 PM
Maine is aging. The fastest way to get young professionals here to work in our hospitals, our restaurants, our lobster boats, our housing industry, is to actively encourage immigrants.

Portland
04/11/18 AT 12:15 PM
From 1995 to 2012, the number of K-12 students in Maine dropped by 30,000. The negative trend continues. Without attracting and retaining new people to Maine, small businesses will simply be sold or disappear. This is a train wreck we can avoid starting with state funding that makes Maine the best place for immigrants/incomers to grow and prosper.

04/11/18 AT 12:15 PM
We already have plenty of programs for this group of people. How about finally coming up with programs to help middle-income American citizens that have to get a second mortgage to send their kids to college or the kids have to get extremely high interest loans to pay for a degree. Then, once they have the degree, they have to leave the state of Maine to get decent paying jobs that will allow them to pay back their loans so they don't have to live with their parents.
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