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Business and Economy

Development Groups Identify Problems With Attracting New Workers To Maine

Workforce expansion, workforce development and workforce retention continue to pose major hurdles for Maine employers, according to a new report from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Development Foundation and Educate Maine.

The three development groups said Thursday that Maine's quality of life, the work ethic of its residents and the state’s abundant natural resources continue to attract new businesses.

But, Chamber President Dana Connors said a survey of more than 1,000 employers finds that access to affordable health insurance is one of the top five major obstacles to attracting new workers.

"In addition to that, three of the top five had to do with our workforce challenge," Connors said. "To no surprise, because you hear it throughout the state. It's both a skill as well as a supply challenge, and the issue had to do with all levels of our workforce from the entry level, to the skilled to the professional level."

Connors also says meeting employment demands remains a challenge in a state with the oldest demographic profile in the country.

"It's about attraction, it's about retaining, it's about keeping as many people in our state as possible and our student population is a great asset for us to meet that goal," Connors said.

Connors said the three groups crafted the report to assist Maine's next governor and members of the Legislature in crafting new initiatives to strengthen the state's economy.