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Attracting new workers to Maine

I was glad to see a recent article highlighting the potential labor shortage that could soon be a critical issue for the state economy as a result of Maine’s continually shifting age demographics. I’m writing to share a perspective from the front lines of workforce attraction, which is a rosier picture than you might expect.

Our biggest challenge is that there are simply not enough people with the appropriate credentials of value to fill the labor shortage coming our way. That’s where Live and Work in Maine comes in. Our mission is to attract and retain more talented people to call Vacationland home, and we do that with initiatives like our “Boomerang Back to Maine” and “Visit for a Week, Stay for a Lifetime” which encourages workers to consider a full-time career in Maine.

As a member of the MaineSpark Coalition, we hope to ensure that, by 2025, 60 percent of Maine’s working-age adults will hold a higher credential to match the current and future jobs in Maine that will require them.

Of course, “selling” Maine isn’t hard, but it takes thinking outside the box. We know that talented people choose Maine for quality of life. The good news is that every county has those offerings, each with a unique twist that allow folks to choose their own Maine adventure. We just have to tell the story and show everyone that quality of life comes with a quality career here in Maine.

Nate Wildes

Executive Director

Live + Work in Maine

Brunswick

Doing our part with masks

All businesses have visible upon entrance to the store a sign that says facial coverings

are required. Yet there are people entering without the facial coverings and the store’s

employees aren’t asking the people to wear one.

I looked up the definition of the word “require.” It means to ask or insist upon, as by right or authority. The governor ordered mandatory face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is difficult. So every person who refuses to wear a face covering should not be allowed in the store to shop until such time as they put one on. Nobody’s civil rights are being violated. Facial coverings help slow the spreading of COVID-19.

I pray that in the near future if people use facial coverings and practice social distancing, the pandemic will come to an end. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to still be careful about social gatherings.

People, we have to do our part to put an end to more COVID-19 cases in large numbers. Facial coverings and social distancing is the answer.

Becky Wiers

Palmyra

Thinking ahead to spring

As we gardeners plant and plan now for spring beauty, I urge us to remember the birds and pollinators who are having a very difficult time right now. Many plants with wonderful blooms have a positive environmental impact as well, whether as food or medicine for humans or for the pollinators upon whom we depend for food.

Native plants are especially important for the co-evolved native insects the birds consume for reproduction. Examples of multi-tasking native flowers are bee balm (tea, medicine, hummingbird food), echinacea (butterflies, medicine, bird food) and Jerusalem artichokes (windbreak, human, livestock, pollinator & bird food). Many gorgeous non-natives also have medicinal uses, like peonies, lilies, and forsythias and many attract pollinators too.

It is a fun challenge to integrate attractiveness with utility and ecology. To this end, some seed catalogues are marking which of their bulbs yield flowers visited by bees, usually before other blossoms are available. They include at least some varieties of allium, anemone, crocus, fritillaria, muscari, peony, tulip, and others. Other catalogues have native plants and a lot of information. Local folks are selling more natives in the spring too.

It would be terrific to see our parks emphasize planting natives and food trees. Please join me in providing for the natural world as we beautify our landscapes.

Jean Vitali

Belfast