Report: Maine workforce decreasing, hire immigrants

Maine labor shortage highlighted in study.

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Development Foundation released a report Thursday morning in Augusta that highlighted Maine's aging and decreasing workforce and suggested hiring immigrants could help the issue.

The report is called Maine's Labor Shortage: New Mainers and Diversity. It stated that Maine's workforce is projected to decline, and that the number of employees older than 45 will drop by tens of thousands in the next eight years.

"We simply don't have the ability to grow our population ourselves," said president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce Dana Connors. "We hear from employers across the state and throughout the economy about the difficulties they face in finding enough workers with the skills and education they require."

The report also showed that Maine fails to hold on to young workers, who sometimes try to find work outside of Maine. 

"We also need to look beyond our borders to bolster our population, our workforce, and our economy," said Connors." 

The report states that 45,000 immigrants live in Maine. Connors said one of the issues facing immigrants is integrating into the workforce, either because of the language barrier, or due to challenges understanding the job search and hiring process, workplace culture, and transfer of educational and professional credentials.

"When we are striving to grow the quality of Maine's workforce and increase the productivity of our economy, immigrants are crucial to that as well," said Yellow Light Breen, president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation. "This [report] gives us a number of best practices to choose from, but also highlights the urgency to act. We need more people contributing to our economy to their maximum potential to move forward."
 
You can read the entire report here.

 

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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