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October 29, 2018
From the Editor

What do infrastructure and transportation have to do with Maine’s labor shortage? Plenty.

It may not be surprising that in an issue about transportation and infrastructure, we're once again pounding the drum about the labor shortage.

As Senior Writer Laurie Schreiber reports in our cover story, the majority of the goods we purchase were delivered by truck. The trucking industry is huge. It's not a glamorous industry, but there are a lot of trucking companies in Maine — and to keep the trucks rolling, they are desperately seeking workers.

Elsewhere in the issue, Senior Writer Renee Cordes looks at the fast-paced changes at Maine's two largest airports. And Staff Writer Maureen Milliken stokes a long-simmering debate about whether Maine should invest more in public transportation — an issue that, not coincidentally, gets back to the labor shortage. Without public transportation, many able-bodied workers are shut out of potential jobs.

Final ‘On the Road’ stop: Bangor

Every year, Mainebiz visits six locations as part of our "On the Road" series. This year we were in Portland, the Berwicks, Rockland, Caribou, Bethel and, most recently, Bangor.

I pledged at the start of the year to spend more time in Bangor. I partially fulfilled that pledge, but could certainly spend more time there. There's a lot happening.

For starters, I was able to get a tour of the new Bangor Savings Bank headquarters. The site overlooks the Penobscot River and the Waterfront Concert venue, and every office and conference room seems to have a view. With the built-in environmental features, the bank has a headquarters that will likely be the centerpiece of every recruiting mission. Cianbro is rapidly completing the second phase, where many of the employees will be housed, and workers should be in there by spring of next year. Husson University has also been active on the construction front, having recently opened a new research and education facility and having broken ground on a wellness center.

"On the Road" events have two parts: There's a public networking event and, prior to that, we have a roundtable with invited business leaders.

The theme of workforce development was on everyone's mind, and we were able to get the feedback from representatives of two area universities, University of Maine and Husson, as well as the Bangor Chamber of Commerce, the Cross Insurance Center, the city and several businesses and nonprofits.

Special thanks to everyone who took part in the roundtable: Blake Henry, Cross Insurance Center; Renee Kelly, University of Maine; Julia Munsey, Maine International Trade Center; Steve Bolduc and Tyler Collins, city of Bangor; Sadd Eastman, Jobs for ME; Tony McKim, First National Bank; Kelly Osborn, Goodwill of Northern New England; Cary Weston, Sutherland Weston; Eric Gordon, Husson University; Niles Parker, Maine Discovery Museum; Deb Neuman, Bangor Chamber of Commerce; as well as Mainebiz staff writers Laurie Schreiber and Renee Cordes.

And back to infrastructure: Streets in downtown Bangor have been torn up in recent months as part of an effort to replace aging sewer and water pipes, some of which date to the Civil War. This was a standard procedure in every city in the Northeast where I've lived, as all these cities have ancient infrastructure systems. But at our networking event in Bangor, the topic was brought up again and again. Most realize it is temporary and necessary, but it remains a sore spot.

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