I want to thank Rep. Andrew O’Brien, D-Lincolnville, and others who are keeping the face of unemployed Mainers in the forefront of our minds.

Employers are looking for workers, and Maine people are looking for work. Easy enough said, so what’s the disconnect?

Perhaps people are not prepared for jobs in this economy, perhaps it’s poor job readiness skills or maybe it really is too much government interference in business. Whatever the case, we need to keep talking until a fix is found. At the same time, however, we shouldn’t shut out those who are most affected by the topic: unemployed Mainers.

Government, the business community and our educational systems must partner with unemployed Mainers to jointly solve unemployment issues. This powerful coalition could break the cycle of blame and hostility and lower the unemployment rate. If we really want employers to be successful and want our university and community college systems producing fully educated people with skills necessary for today’s world, then we must come together for the common cause.

I urge the state Chamber of Commerce, University of Maine System, community colleges and state government to host jobs summits throughout Maine bringing all parties together. Lets make our new state slogan “Maine Where Work Happens!”

State resources are tight, but we must stop blaming and start positive action. I know Maine has the talent to pull off such events but do we have the will.

I call on other readers to join me in asking Gov. Paul LePage’s administration to lead such a partnership in 2012. Our voice must be unified if we intend to see that, in this state, every person who’s able has a job with a living wage.

 

Penny Plourde

Vassalboro