Governor Mills Announces Launch of Strategic Statewide Economic Development Plan

Economic roadmap will seek to grow and diversify Maine’s economy and build a skilled and robust workforce

Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration is launching an initiative to develop a ten-year strategic economic development plan for the State of Maine. The initiative, which will be led by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), in partnership with other government agencies, business leaders and private organizations, will focus on strategies to enhance economic growth, particularly in rural Maine, and address Maine’s workforce challenges. The strategic plan will be the first of its kind in more than two decades.

“Strengthening our economy and tackling Maine’s workforce challenges requires a multifaceted approach that addresses skills training, research and development and increasing Maine’s GDP and median wages,” said Governor Mills. “To achieve these goals state government must be a partner and not an impediment. That is why I am charging the Department of Economic and Community Development to work collaboratively with government agencies and private businesses to develop a long-term strategic plan that drives economic growth, addresses our workforce challenges, and results in a strong, sustainable, and diversified economy.”

“Governor Mills and I share the goal of building a stronger economy so that every person who wants to live and work in Maine has the opportunity to do so. I am proud to lead the administration's efforts to make that goal a reality and help chart a path forward for our state,” said Commissioner Johnson. “This economic strategy will mobilize the private sector, nonprofits and educational institutions to focus on the same goal of creating a diverse and sustainable economy and establishing a brighter future for our state.”

“Our state’s ability to support established employers and attract new businesses is dependent on maintaining a skilled workforce. At this moment—when unemployment is at historic lows across Maine—we need to increase opportunities for those currently on the margins of our economy including our young people, older adults, New Mainers, people with disabilities, and those who need additional skills to find good jobs,” said Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Laura Fortman. “Connecting our economic development and workforce systems with educational strategies will produce opportunities needed for our workers and businesses. We look forward to collaborating on the strategic plan.”

The ten-year, nonpartisan plan will serve as an economic roadmap for the state and offer strategic recommendations for how Maine can build a strong, diversified, and sustainable economy powered by a highly-skilled, robust workforce. The plan’s guiding vision statement calls for Maine, by 2030, to be known as a national leader for its forward-looking work in creating a diverse and sustainable economy.

“We will empower innovators and entrepreneurs, attract young families and new businesses, and revitalize rural Maine so that every person will know unequivocally that living in Maine means not only an unmatched quality of life, but an unmatched opportunity for good-paying jobs in innovative industries across the entire state,” the vision statement reads.

A six-member steering committee which will include officials from the Finance Authority of Maine, ConnectMe, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management and the Maine State Economist will lead the development of the strategic plan. The plan will be crafted with the close help of economic development and business organizations, like the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Development Foundation, and will seek input from across all economic sectors, industries and regions in Maine. The Department of Economic and Community Development will convene meetings across the state in the coming months to obtain public input to help inform the plan and the department will issue regular progress updates to the public and the business community.

“If we, as a state, expect to fulfill our economic promise, we need a pathway forward that plays to our strengths and sets priorities for economic growth,” said Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber. “That is the purpose and value of a strategic plan, why we need one, and why we are excited to be a part of this impactful work.”

“MDF and the Maine Economic Growth Council are committed to partnering with the administration to help ensure that the statewide economic roadmap is well-grounded in good, nonpartisan data working with a broad cross-section of Maine people,” said Yellow Light Breen, President & CEO of Maine Development Foundation.

“Maine is at a unique juncture with regards to its standing in the global economy. Our innovative spirit, position to market and work ethic embody our longstanding commitment to excellence. I applaud Governor Mills for her foresight to create a strategic plan for the State and look forward to working with her to move it forward,” said Peter Vigue, Chairman of Cianbro, Cos.

The Strategic Plan will be delivered to the Governor’s office on November 15, 2019 and will be available to all legislators prior to the start of second session of the 129th Legislature.