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State Lawmakers Consider Measures for Improvements, Equipment at Maine's Trade Schools

The Legislature is considering two measures that would allocate more money to improve technical training around the state.

One bill, up for public hearing on Thursday, would add $4 million to next year's state budget for career and technical education centers and to purchase new equipment. The second would authorize up to $20 million in bonds for similar purposes.

At a public hearing at the Statehouse Thursday, more than a dozen Supporters testified for the two bills. Jason Stutheit, the president of D.P. Porter Contractors in Hermon, says students need access to up-to-date equipment to ensure they've got proper skills to join the state's workforce.

“We have far too many jobs and not enough trained employees,” Stutheit says. “Let's take bold steps to move the economy forward to help Maine's students.”

Waldo County Technical Center Director Kevin Michaud says underfunding for new equipment has forced nursing students to use old pieced-together mannequins.

“We're dealing with mannequins, that, where they're just parts. And our kids don't take it seriously,” Michaud says. “They go, 'This is not real life.' It's that kind of thing we deal with around the hub. I'm hoping there will be equitable distribution, and our kids will take it more seriously.”

Gov. Janet Mills recently included $3 million for CTE improvements as part of her supplemental budget proposal.

Work sessions for the bills are scheduled for next week.