GORHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Maine's manufacturing businesses are starting a new effort to recruit new workers - and starting young.
The Manufacturers Association of Maine is working with schools to bring students into their plants, let them see the work being done and learn about the skills and job opportunities. Seven plants opened their doors to schools on Friday , as part of the "Dream It, Do It" campaign.
Students from Westbrook High and Cape Elizabeth Middle School toured MEGA Industries in Gorham. MEGA makes specialized microwave transmission equipment it says is used in research labs around the world. Manufacturers say their plants are modern, high-tech businesses, and the work often requires extensive computer use and knowledge, along with hands-on skills.
They say there are also plenty of job opportunities, but still find it hard to find workers.
John Butera, economic advisor to Governor LePage, said Maine has 1,000 manufacturing jobs that go unfilled each year because of a lack of workers. Other manufacturers said they need to change "the perception" of manufacturing among parents, because surveys suggest many parents still don't want their children going into manufacturing as a career.
They say the jobs pay better than most other jobs in Maine, and offer good career opportunities.