Legislation would promote a collaborative effort
April 15, 2009
AUGUSTA – The House of Representatives referenced a bill last week sponsored by Rep. Steve Lovejoy, D-Portland, designed to develop a partnership between the University of Maine System and the Maine business community. The bill was sent to the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and directs the University of Maine System and the Department of Economic and Community Development to develop a pilot project to foster the development of partnerships between the education and business communities.
“The seven University of Maine campuses can be a driver of economic development throughout the state,” said Lovejoy. “This bill will encourage schools to find businesses that can benefit from the educational potential of the University system and help foster economic development throughout Maine communities.”
Lovejoy’s bill, LD 1415, A Resolve to Promote Partnerships between the University of Maine System and the Maine business Community, calls for the state’s higher education and business communities to work together to develop workforce skills and expertise needed for Maine future economic growth.
“I believe this bill will encourage the seven university campuses to go out into their communities and seek out Maine businesses that need a more skilled workforce,” said Lovejoy, an assistant professor of business at the University of Maine in Augusta.
In order to participate in the program, a regional business or group of businesses must intend to create or preserve jobs. The new jobs created or preserved must pay a wage of at least 150 percent of the state minimum wage. If the regional business or group of businesses does not create or preserve the jobs anticipated, there is no recapture of the funding or penalty to the company or university, but the business is not eligible for future participation in the program.
Lovejoy, a member of the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, expects the proposed legislation to be scheduled for a public hearing in the coming weeks.
Rep. Steve Lovejoy, 773-5538
Sean Smith, Legislative Aide, 287-1430
Kyle Leighton, Communications Director, 287-1433