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.
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
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.
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
- Professional Development and Teaching Practice
- Academic Standards and Aligned Assessments
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 PortlandClick here to view the report entitled, Keeping Maine Competitive: Reducing Our Skills Gap Through Innovative Education Models and Rigorous Standards. 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. 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.
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
Coverage about the Report Release
- The Portland Press Herald’s story about the report release: “Educate kids early to help everyone later, businesses say“
- The Morning Sentinel’s story about the report release: “Good early education boosts economy“
America’s Edge Maine Members Meet with U.S. Senators Collins and King
On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, America’s Edge members Dana Connors, President of the 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 Volk discussed the priorities of America’s Edge with the Senators: high-quality early learning and innovative high school education models.
America’s Edge Maine Members Meet with U.S. Senators Snowe and 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.
“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
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.
America’s Edge Maine in the News
- March 3, 2014. Jessica Laliberte. Early Childhood Education, Economic Development. Bangor Daily News.
- February 14, 2014. Eleanor Baker and Chris Emmons. “Maine Voices: Elevate Maine aims to help front end of education pipeline.“ Portland Press Herald.
- January 30, 2014. Dana Connors, Elizabeth Timm, and Derek Volk. “Collins, King support early care, education programs.“ Morning Sentinel.
- January 30, 2014. Dana Connors, Elizabeth Timm, and Derek Volk. “Collins, King support early care, education programs.“ Kennebec Journal.
- October 23, 2013. “High-quality early care and education pay impressive dividends.” Presque Isle Star-Herald.
- October 23, 2013. “High-quality early care and education pay big dividends.” Aroostook Republican.
- August 4, 2013. “Readers divided over impact of tougher school standards.” Portland Press Herald.
- June 3, 2013. “High-quality early education will boost students, economy.” The Times Record.
- May 31, 2013. “Universal pre-K would be a good place to start.” Portland Press Herald.
- May 20, 2013. Partners for Progress. (Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce Newsletter.)
- May 16, 2013. “Maine business leaders push for high school models and rigorous academic standards to maintain global competitiveness.” Impact (Maine State Chamber of Commerce Newsletter.)
- May 16, 2013. “Maine should address skills gap with businesses, schools, leaders, group says.” Lincoln Group of Schools Blog.
- May 14, 2013. “Report: Turnaround high school a work-force model.” Mainebiz.
- May 14, 2013. “Education, internships needed to fill ‘skills gap’.” Portland Press Herald.
- May 14, 2013. “Skills gap concerns Maine business leaders.” WGME/Channel 13 News. (Clip Synopsis.)
- May 14, 2013. “Wanted: 15,000 highly skilled workers. Apply to: Maine.” Bangor Daily News.
- March 15, 2013. “Another View: Workforce development requires business and schools join forces.“ Portland Press Herald.
- March 12, 2013. “Business leaders commit to raising money for early childhood education.” Kennebec Journal.
- March 12, 2013. “Business leaders commit to raising money for early childhood education.” Morning Sentinel.
- March 5, 2013. “From the State House: Putting our preschoolers first.“ Lincoln News.
- March 5, 2013. “At the Legislature: Putting our preschoolers first.” Penobscot Times.
- February 22, 2013. “Putting our preschoolers first.“ Marsh Island Express.
- February 18, 2013. “Getting it together on universal preschool.“ Bangor Daily News.
- February 2, 2013. “Maine Voices: Skilled workers start out as well-educated young Mainers.“ Portland Press Herald.
- January 30, 2013. “Report: Early childhood education helps economy.” Lewiston Sun Journal.
- January 25, 2013. “Report urges early education investment.” Maine Biz.
- January 24, 2013. “Maine business leaders call for quality early learning to strengthen state’s economy.” IMPACT (Maine Chamber of Commerce Newsletter).
- January 5, 2013. Gore, Kim. Box Radio Talk Show. WLOB Radio.
- December 31, 2012. Peters, John. “Early learning aids economy, too.” The Times Record.
- December 14, 2012. Wood, Godfrey. “Another View: Maine lawmakers on the right track with focus on skills gap.” Portland Press Herald.
- September 12, 2012. Laliberte, Jessica. “Maine can grow manufacturing sector with targeted education.” Portland Press Herald.
- September 7, 2012. Shea, Michael. “Crime studies.” Bangor Daily News.
- August 31, 2012. Timm, Betsey. “Innovative education will prepare Maine’s students for the future.” Portland Press Herald.
- August 26, 2012. Welch, Bill. “Quality early learning builds foundation for stronger economy and workforce.” Sun Journal.
- June 22, 2012. Rich, Stephen. “Early education is key.” Bangor Daily News.
- June 10, 2012. Rick Stanley. “Reasons for the ‘skills gap’ in Maine economy run deep.” Portland Press Herald.
- June 7, 2012. Gore, Peter and John Rohman. “Early learning key to later career success.” Bangor Daily News.
- May 17, 2012. Hussey, Tim and Robert Moore. “Career-focused education needed for Maine’s future workers.” Portland Press Herald.
- February 7, 2012. Porter, John. “Invest early.” Bangor Daily News.
- January 6, 2012. Miller, Bill and Dan Tremble, “Early education a sound investment.” Bangor Daily News.
- October 24, 2011. Clair, Jim. “High rate of return from early learning programs.” Morning Sentinel.
- October 24, 2011. Clair, Jim. “High rate of return from early learning programs.” Kennebec Journal.
- July 7, 2011. Davis, Bob. “Important caveat.” , The Times Record.
- June 1, 2011. ”Leaders stress importance of early education to business.” The Bangor Daily News.
- America’s Edge Report, “Strengthening Maine Businesses through Investments in Early Care and Education,” Featured in Impact, The Maine State Chamber of Commerce Newsletter. The article and a picture of Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and an America’s Edge member is located on page 5.
- May 1, 2011. Morrison, Chip. “Early education key to future business success.” Lewiston Sun Journal.
- March 15, 2011. Ault, Charlie. “Head Start sound investment for Maine.” Kennebec Journal.
- November 17, 2010. Peters, John.
- November 16, 2010. Burgess, Meredith Strang, Rep. “Early education benefits children, families and our economy.” The Notes.
- October 3, 2010. Emmons, Chris. “Educare center path to future.” Portland Press Herald- Maine Sunday Telegram.
- October 3, 2010. Clair, Jim. “Educare to give Maine two economic ‘bounces.” Kennebec Journal Letter.
- August 21, 2010. Skinner, Eileen and Godfrey Wood, “Early childhood investments pay dividends for Maine’s economy.” Portland Press Herald.
- June 28, 2010. Comstock, Arthur. “A Solid Investment.” Bangor Daily News
- June 15, 2010. Peters, John. “Leaders of Tomorrow.” Times Record.
- June 10, 2010. Hutchinson, Glenn. “Invest in Early Education.” Times Record.
- June 6, 2010. Clair, Jim. “For business, no better investment than early learning.” Kennebec Journal.
- May 28, 2010. Rohman, John. “High-quality early education essential to success.” Bangor Daily News.
- April 16, 2010. Connors, Dana. “Maine Compass: Educare will serve children, community, future workforce.” Morning Sentinel.
- March 13, 2010. Davis, Bob. “Preschool programs worthy, shouldn’t be short changed.” Portland Press Herald.
- March 12, 2010. Bragg, John. “Invest early, often.” Bangor Daily News.
- February 11, 2010. “Maine business leaders see high quality early education as key to future economic success.” Impact, Maine Chamber of Commerce’s weekly newsletter.
- December 2, 2009. Davis, Bob. “Building a Strong Future.” Times Record.
- October 30, 2009. Peters, John. “Early childhood investments make sense.” Times Record.
- October 14, 2009. Connors, Dana. “Investing in Maine’s Youngest Children Has Great Returns for Business.” Maine Policy Review.
- September 25, 2009. “Early education investment touted to area business.” Times Record. (following up to Sept. 24th Mid Coast Regional Business Leaders Summit).
- March 13, 2009. Connors, Dana. “Senators stimulus vote seen from opposite sides.” Portland Press Herald.
- February 1, 2009. Brackett, Todd and Jim Clair. “Invest in 21st century workforce.” Maine Sunday Telegram.
*For more information, please contact State Director, Kim Gore.
Phone: (207) 725-5946