Sunday, 04 February 2018 13:27

Brain Drain Part II Featured

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STATEWIDE -  Lawmakers in Maine are addressing the aging population and the fight to keep younger people here. Some are proposing bills for incentives programs created to preserve Maine's future.

The brain drain is a term that's used to describe a situation the state is facing.

 

"On one hand, people seem to be eager to find good jobs. But on the other hand, a lot of the businesses seem to not be able to find the people they want, " said Ben Sprague, Bangor City Council Chair. "There's a mismatch here where I think we need to do a better job at training."

 

This greatly impacts the local economy. Lawmakers are working with educators to find new ways to keep young people in the state.

 

"Maine's economic recovery has been sluggish," said Sprague. "I think the rest of the country has outpaced us to a certain degree. We got some major headwinds, especially in some of the more rural parts of the state."

 

According to Ben Sprague, Bangor is the youngest city in Maine. While it's located near colleges and businesses, are younger people staying here? Some educators are running programs such as flagships, where a school offers cheaper tuition options for people coming from out of state. There's also some state programs that will reimburse a student for living and working in Maine.

 

"Jobs are the first and foremost the most important thing when people consider where they are going to live," said Sprague. "They also want a social scene. They want to have arts and culture and entertainment for the most part, I think Bangor has done a pretty good job the last 10-15 years."

 

There are currently a few proposed bills to offer tax credit to businesses hiring young professionals and offering them affordable housing.

 

"What younger people want: jobs, affordable housing, clean environment, recreational activities, arts and culture, that's what older people want as well," said Sprague. 

 

Officials believe talking to students at an earlier age is crucial. They stated, it helps them know what jobs are truly out there.

 

"Students should know going into school what the jobs are going to be out there after school," said Sprague. "They should be thinking about that early on. We should be matching up employers with students as much as we can, so there's that connection and students can know what the employers are looking for."

 

Educators say Maine is a great place to work, it houses some major companies such as Jackson Laboratory, L.L.Bean and Cianbro.

 

"I alone am posting probably 1,100 to 1,200  jobs and internships a year," said James Westhoff, the director of career services at Husson University. 

 

But it's getting them connected to those companies that could make a difference.

 

"Developing a pipeline through internship opportunities is the way to go for businesses," said Westhoff.

 

Some officials believe we shouldn't be just focusing on young professionals, people are working longer and retiring later. Lawmakers believe, getting them certified or back to trade school could also preserve maine's workforce.

 

"A lot of things that younger people want, older people want as well," said Sprague. "We shouldn't try to segregate out what we are trying to do just based on a specific demographic."

 

Jack Hilton

Reporter
jhilton@wvii.com

Jack Hilton joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in March of 2016. He was born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in the sunshine state, Fort Lauderdale before graduating cum laude from Husson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

Born in a famous boxing family, Jack set off toward a different career path, after the mysterious death of his uncle, Arturo Gatti, who is in the Boxing Hall of Fame.

With a heart for people, he is always looking to meet and tell the stories of those in the community. He is charismatic, funny and down to earth.

When not on the air, he enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, his parrots and attending church. He's also a huge fan of TV series such as Buffy, Friends and The Office.

If you have any story ideas or want to talk about tv shows, contact him at jhilton@wvii.com or tweet him @News_JackHilton