CARIBOU - The recently concluded National Association of Development Organization (NADO) annual training conference is already paying dividends for Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC).
The conference in Denver at the end of August convened more than 650 regional development professionals - including executive directors, policy board members, program staff and others - to hear from leading experts about a variety of relevant and timely topics, share ideas and exchange information with peers and learn about successful and replicable regional development projects and initiatives.
NMDC Executive Director Bob Clark and Director of Economic and Workforce Development Ryan Pelletier participated in the training sessions and said the gathering provided many positives, including some that are relevant right now, like strengthening the Mobilize Northern Maine and Education to Industry initiatives.
"This is one of the better trainings I have attended," said Clark. "I was really impressed with the 'WealthWorks' training. It focused on building wealth in the community."
The daylong training was to learn about identifying assets, extending partnerships, and building wealth through local and regional development efforts.
Clark said it was very similar to the current Mobilize Northern Maine efforts, which reinforced the approach but also provided insight in how to improve some areas.
He added it also highlighted the value of the right partners in developing the assets of the region.
Follow up training on "WealthWorks" is scheduled for October.
Pelletier said another session provided a good idea for strengthening "Education to Industry" efforts in Aroostook.
"It is a program called 'Teachers in Education' and industry and education team up to provide paid internships to teachers in the summer," said Pelletier. "It provides the educators with a greater knowledge of opportunities and skills needed to do certain professions."
The program is currently in North Dakota and Pelletier says there may be value in replicating it in northern Maine.
Other workshops focused on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), changes in government regulations relating to federal grants, Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) and workforce development.
Also at the conference, Clark was elected to the NADO board of directors for a 3-year term.