I grew up in Maine, but like too many young Mainers, I found the most meaningful employment out of state.

Coming home to visit for the holidays is nice. I get to catch up with family and friends. Many friends are also now “visitors from out of state.”

When will Maine make the resolution to focus on the next generation? The long-term livelihood of this state is in jeopardy.

I am getting married soon, which means kids, a car, a house etc. Essentially I’ll become a Professional Economy Stimulating Terminal (PEST for short). Where are the jobs in Maine? In my current position at a private research university, I connect students to employment all around the country and world. Jobs in tech, healthcare innovation, arts, public policy and biotechnology.

Not in Maine, though. I wonder why not? It is a beautiful place to live, physically it’s closer to much of the world than other states (Maine is the closest state to Europe and Africa) and the people are wonderful.

The answer: no jobs. I can’t sit here and tell you I know the answer. It’s a complex issue with no clear solution. You’d need a whole team of people to figure it out. People who can make decisions that are binding.

Maybe the state Legislature? I’m beginning to have my doubts, though. I see other states marching into the 21st century while Maine sits idly by. It isn’t only about retaining the shrinking young population, but also attracting young who have never called Maine home before.

Both sides can agree this is an issue worth exploring. I hope in the new year they resolve to figure out ways to get more PESTs, like me, home for more than just twice a year.

Jordan Bell

Pittsburgh

Formerly of Winthrop

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