Preparing Young People for High-skilled, Meaningful Careers in Maine

June 9, 2023

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

We all know how great a job Career and Technical Education programs do to equip students with the skills and hands-on experiences they need in order to secure good-paying jobs and have rewarding, life-long careers here in Maine.

Despite that, we know that for decades Maine has done way too little to invest in modernizing and expanding this effective model of education.

We see the effects of that neglect today. Maine desperately needs more electricians, plumbers, welders, and other skilled workers.

I’ve always been a believer in the power of our CTE system to teach students real world skills. In fact, nearly ten years ago when I was Attorney General, I used funds obtained through a settlement with Bath Fitter to start plumbing programs at four Maine high schools.

When I became Governor, I continued to make investments in our CTE system so that it can serve more students. Two years ago, the Legislature approved my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan which invested $20 million in Maine’s CTEs, the first such investment in decades.

My administration recently distributed $4.5 million of that investment to 23 different CTE programs across the state so they can purchase and upgrade equipment, preparing students for high-skilled, in-demand industries.

And, earlier this year, we distributed another $15 million of that investment to four other Maine CTEs to expand hands on, real word learning for Maine students in plumbing, electrical, building construction, culinary, hospitality, EMT, welding, and other programs.

One of the CTEs which received funding was Biddeford Regional Center of Technology, and this week, I was proud to join Biddeford community members in breaking ground on a project to expand their facility—an expansion funded by my Jobs Plan.

Biddeford CTE is using its $7 million in grant funds to build a two-story addition to the existing high school to create a culinary arts and hospitality program and the state’s first athletic training program, as well expanding existing plumbing and emergency medical technician programs.

Biddeford also received additional Jobs Plan funds to purchase two pieces of equipment that’ll allow students to simulate patient experiences and practice their medical skills before graduation.

The three other CTEs who received funds from my Jobs Plan — Northern Penobscot Tech in Lincoln, Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico, and Oxford Hills Technical School — are using these resources to train more students in welding, and culinary arts, and plumbing, and electrical work, healthcare and other occupations.

Today, 27 Career and Technical Education regions and centers are training nearly 10,000 students in 85 different programs. Many of these students will receive industry accreditation, earn college credit, and graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the job market or in higher education.

With this investment from my Jobs Plan, our CTEs will be able to train more students. That’s good for Maine students, it’s good for our economy.

My Administration will keep doing all we can to support the work of the CTEs to prepare our young people to take on important, meaningful careers here in Maine.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.