Maine employers have thousands of open jobs but too many Mainers lack the skills needed to pursue those good-paying opportunities. That’s why more than 1,000 Maine business leaders agreed that growing our professional workforce was second only to lowering the cost of health care as the top issue the state’s next governor must address, according to the Maine State Chamber’s Making Maine Work report.

The University of Maine at Augusta is a leader in solving this skills shortage, helping thousands of Mainers access affordable, quality education that transforms their lives and their earnings. We recently launched the Pine Tree State Pledge, removing financial barriers for qualified students with the greatest need and allowing them to attend for zero tuition. And we are in planning to offer a nursing program on our Augusta Campus and through our UMA Centers in communities with the most urgent need to replace retiring nurses.

In order for us to continue meeting the changing needs of our students and our state, we need public investment.

Voting yes on Question 4 would provide $49 million for infrastructure improvements across our public university campuses, including $3.3 million at UMA.

UMA students are mostly adults and often the first in their families to go to college and are already working and living in our communities. Many are veterans looking to transition from service member to student to the workforce. Beyond important investments enhancing student safety and accessibility, Question 4 would create enrollment welcome centers at our Augusta and Bangor campuses, providing students support from enrollment through graduation and career placement in one location.

The need to invest in our campuses and the future workforce has never been greater. On Nov. 6, I urge you to support Question 4 and the opportunities it provides our students and employers for greater success in Maine.

Rebecca M. Wyke

president

University of Maine at Augusta

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