From Houlton to Fort Kent, this room is full of the county’s best and brightest…educators…business leaders and community advocates. But it’s the next generation of best and bright, they’re all concerned for. And why this Education to Industry Summit is created…to keep young people from leaving the county to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Bob Dorsey is the President and CEO of the Aroostook Partnership for Progress and says “its when they’re still interested they’re still stimulated you can connect with them and we need to inspire them at that early age to be more inquisitive about jobs about careers.”
Linda Schott is the President of the University of Maine at Presque Isle which hosted the summit. She adds “we’ve tried just sitting them down and telling them things and we’re losing 75 percent of them so how can we rethink education and help students realize that they can all learn.” The summit was put on by the Aroostook Partnership for Progress. But this is a collaboration among community leaders who say if youth outmigration isn’t addressed NOW…the future of county sustainability will be adversely affected. But it all starts with kids excelling in school, getting to, through and graduating college…and ultimately finding work in this community.
Business, education and economic development leaders agree this summit is a necessary first step in tackling important issues like youth outmigration, an unskilled workforce and the need for more businesses.
Sandy Gauvin President of the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative which is a partner in the summit.
“they think that they cannot live here and be successful here to have a good job and raise a family here.”
Ryan Pelletier is the Executive Director of Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Development and moved back to Aroostook County after working downstate. He says he often tells other young professionals of the existing opportunities in this region and encourages them to relocate here.
“With the aging workforce that we have in the A.C. I know firsthand the number of job openings that are going to be happening over the next 3-5 years its critical time for young students.”
Tim Doak Superintendent SAD 27/AOS 99 says “we’re training them in schools and colleges and the businesses are hiring them and we need to start talking and working together so we can get a better path for these kids.”
Community leaders say the goals outlined in the Education to Industry summit don’t end here. He says the next step is to continue to get more county schools and employers on board with making a difference.