PRESQUE ISLE — The agenda has been finalized and final preparations are underway for the Aroostook Partnership for Progress “Education to Industry” summit to be held Tuesday, August 6 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle Campus.
“We are hoping to get as many employers and educators together in the room to address the declining 18- to 44-year-old workforce in Aroostook County,” said APP President Bob Dorsey. “We feel increased opportunities for job shadowing and internships will help in retention efforts and show middle, high school and college students there are good jobs available in the region with the right skills.”
The summit is the result of considerable work members of the “Education to Industry” working group, which includes educators, business people, economic development officials and philanthropists.
“Every teacher in Aroostook County needs to think, how can I get a business in my classroom,” said Tim Doak, superintendent for SAD 27 and a member of the planning team. “Collaboration is the future of education.”
The agenda for the half-day summit, which is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon, is as follows:
Welcome – Linda Schott UMPI President
Purpose and Sense of Urgency
Educational Goals – Reaching the other 75 percent
Junior Achievement Overview – Job Shadowing
Aroostook Aspirations Initiative – Overview
Business Survey – LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development
Employer Internship Current Examples
Student Intern Experience/Expectations
Initiative Plan/Process – How To Get Involved
Summary – Way Ahead
“All teachers, principals, guidance counselors, superintendents, higher and adult education officials, business owners or any employer should attend,” said Dorsey. “Especially those with an older, aging workforce that will need to be replaced over the course of the next four or five years should attend. We need to work in a collaborative partnership to connect the dots to get students aware of opportunities and the needed skills, training, certificates or college education to fill the emerging jobs.
Chelsea Henderson, vice president of human resources F.A. Peabody Company, is on the front line of hiring for her company and agreed to help the initiative because she realizes there are some challenges ahead.
“As employers, we need to be prepared and willing to do what we can to grow our workforce,” she said. “We will struggle if we don’t have the skilled workers to fill our projected needs in the near future. The future of The County truly depends on the ability of employers and educators to work together and facilitate programs that will keep our workforce growing and sustainable.”
Lynn Lombard, vice president and director of human resources at MMG Insurance, serves on the working group as well.
“We have about 130 people at our home office in Presque Isle and at the end of the day we have to grow our business and be concerned with succession,” she said. “That means we have to bring people in who have the skills and aptitude to do the work.”
Dorsey added there is already work being done in this area in the region and it is his hope best practices can be identified and leveraged.
“This effort is in the crawl, walk run stage right now, but if successful we may be able to retain more of the younger population and help businesses in the future,” Dorsey said.
To register for the free event, log on to the APP website, www.appme.org or at www.nmdc.org.