Did you know that in Maine:

  • Almost 266,000 children (under the age of 18) live in the state;
  • 65 percent of children under the age of 6 have both or their only parent in the work force;
  • Approximately 2,635 children participate in the federally-funded Head Start program;
  • 52 percent of fourth graders are reading below grade level;
  • 62 percent of eighth graders are below grade level in math;
  • 16% of high school students fail to graduate on time.
  • Almost 90% of all new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will require some type of formal education beyond high school.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs will grow by 7% in between 2008 and 2018, and 87% of STEM jobs will require post-secondary education by 2018.
Click here for the complete Maine Child Fact Sheet.


  Developing Necessary Skill Sets

To overcome the challenges of the skills gap, we must train and re-train our current workforce. We must also develop skills in young people to ensure that they enter the workforce better prepared.  To be equipped with the knowledge and abilities businesses now require, students must:

  •  Master Core Academic Content
  •  Think Critically and Solve Complex Problems
  •  Work Collaboratively
  •  Communicate Effectively
  •  Learn How to Learn
  • Develop Academic Mindsets
Click here to read a description of these skills.

Innovative high school education models, along with rigorous standards, assessments, and accountability systems, can help to address the skills gap affecting businesses across the country. Business leaders know the importance of educational standards and aligned assessments that will help students master core academic content, and train them to think critically, solve complex problems and communicate effectively (i.e. deeper learning skills) that they will need to be competitive in today’s highly-skilled workforce.

Click here to view more on the background of these standards.

Click here to learn more about standards for math and standards for English language arts.

Click here to view more on Maine’s standards.

Bringing Career Relevance to High School Classrooms

In conjunction with these standards and assessments, innovative high school have shown promising results in preparing students for success in college and career. Often called “smaller learning communities,” education models such as “Career Academies” integrate career relevance training with a rigorous academic curriculum, equipping students with important skills highly valued by employers. These schools:

  • Are comprised of a group of students who take classes together for at least two years and are taught by the same group of teachers
  • Provide a college preparatory curriculum based on a career theme that helps students see relationships and connections between academic subjects and their application in the real world.
  • Develop partnerships with employers, the community, and colleges.


Our 2014 Policy Priorities


Education policy at the federal and state levels needs to address the range of knowledge and skills needed for all students to be fully ready for college and careers. Policy opportunities include:

  • Skill Development
  • Measurable Results
  • Accountability
  • Professional Development and Teaching Practice
  • Academic Standards and Aligned Assessments
 Click here to view the policy actions in support of increased workforce skill levels in Maine.

America’s Edge members will be urging their state legislators and Congressional delegation to do the following:

a.    State Policy Priorities:

  • Protect the state’s funding for Head Start from further cuts and support efforts to restore 2012 cuts;
  • Protect childcare subsidies from further cuts;
  • Strengthen early education; and
  • Promote innovative high school programs that focus on deeper learning skills.

b.    Federal Policy Priorities:

  • Support the state-federal partnership that would increase access to and quality of pre-k to children across the country. This proposal is being discussed as part of the federal budget negotiations that began after the government shutdown. If not included in a budget resolution this year, our work to support this partnership will continue in 2014.
  • Fight against cuts, and where possible seek increases, for Head Start, Early Head Start and both the discretionary and mandatory funding streams of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).


America’s Edge Releases New Report in Portland

Ed Cervone, President and CEO, Maine Development Foundation

Click here to view the report entitled, Keeping Maine Competitive: Reducing Our Skills Gap Through Innovative Education Models and Rigorous Standards.

Chris Hall, President, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce

Three Maine Business leaders and educators released a new America’s Edge report on May 14, 2013 entitled, Keeping Maine Competitive: Reducing Our Skills Gap Through Innovative Education Models and Rigorous Standards. The report offers good news and bad news for Maine’s economy. On the upside, Maine can look to significant growth in well-paying jobs requiring post-secondary education. On the downside, the state will not have nearly enough workers to fill them without a substantial shift in
current education trends.

Dr. Steve Pound, Associate Director, Workforce Development, Cianbro Institute

The America’s Edge report was released at the Portland office of the Cianbro Corporation, a leader in the construction industry, by Chris Hall, President, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce; Ed Cervone, President and CEO, Maine Development Foundation; and Dr. Steve Pound, Associate Director, Workforce Development, Cianbro Institute.  






America’s Edge Releases New Report in Portland


Click here to view the report entitled, “Boosting Maine’s Economy: Short- and Long-Term Effects of Quality Early Learning”

Three prominent Maine business leaders released a report Janaury 24, 2013 showing that investments in high-quality early learning programs are good for Maine businesses and help boost the economy both today and in the future.  The report also shows that quality components of these programs, such as small class sizes and small child-to-teacher ratios, are the key to achieving robust economic outcomes.

Robert “Bob” Moore reading to students at the Opportunity Alliance Head Start Center

Participating in the news conference at The Opportunity Alliance Head Start Center were Meredith Strang Burgess, CEO of Burgess Advertising and Marketing and a former state representative from Cumberland who chaired the Health and Human Services Committee; Robert (Bob) Moore, CEO & Chairman of Dead River Company; Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce; and Susan Gates, National Director of America’s Edge, a nonprofit business leaders organization.


America’s Edge Releases New Report in Portland and Bangor


1104 ME Press Conference Multiplier Report13.JPG Click here to read the report entitled, “Strengthening Maine Businesses through Investments in Early Care and Education

Coverage about the Report Release

See Video Coverage of Report Release in Bangor, ME

America’s Edge Maine Members Meet with U.S. Senators Collins and King



Dana Connors, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Eileen Skinner, and Elizabeth Timm

Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Eileen Skinner, CEO Mercy Hospital, and Betsey Timm, retired Maine President Bank of America met on May 28, 2014 to talk about Maine business community’s support for federal investments to expand and strength high-quality PreK.




Dana Connors and Elizabeth Timm with U.S. Senator Susan Collins

On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, America’s Edge members Dana Connors, President of Dana Connors and Elizabeth Timm with Sen. Susan Collinsthe Maine Chamber of Commerce; Elizabeth Timm, President, (Ret.), Bank of America; and Derek Volk, President, Volk Packaging Corporation, met with U.S. Senators Susan M. Collins and Angus S. King in the Senators’ DC offices. Connors, Timm, and Dana Connors and Elizabeth Timm with U.S. Senator Susan CollinsVolk discussed the priorities of America’s Edge with the Senators: high-quality early learning and innovative high school education models.

Dana Connors and Senator Angus King


America’s Edge Maine Members Meet with U.S. Senators Snowe and Collins


America’s Edge members Jim Clair and Dana Connors with U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, America’s Edge members Dana Connors, President of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Clair, CEO of Goold Health Systems, met with U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan M. Collins in the Senators’ DC offices.  Connors and Clair introduced America’s Edge to Snowe and Collins and made the case for increased federal investments in Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care Development Block Grants.

Dana Connors and Jim Clair with U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe

 “As a country, we have rarely viewed early childhood development as a strategy for economic growth. But investments in high-quality early education and care are among the most cost-effective and powerful sources of economic stimulus available.” –James A. Clair, CEO, Goold Health Systems, Augusta, ME

Click here to view the sign-on letter presented to Senator Collins, and click here to view the sign-on letter presented to Senator Snowe.

In May 2012, two America’s Edge members — Peter Gore and John Rohman — met with Senator Susan Collins in Washington, DC to discuss the business outcomes in investments in early care and education.

American Edge members Peter Gore, Vice President Maine State Chamber of Commerce and John Rohman, retired Chairman of the Board, WBRC Architects & Engineers, Bangor meet with Senator Collins



America’s Edge Maine in the News


*For more information, please contact State Director, Kim Gore.

Phone: (207) 725-5946