CARIBOU - The Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP) "Education to Industry" working group is working on finalizing goals, objectives and action priorities for 2015 and beyond following a very successful 2014.
Meeting this week in Caribou, working group members, representing education, businesses, economic developers and Aroostook Aspirations Initiative (AAI) discussed plans for the New Year.
APP President and CEO Bob Dorsey outlined an example of how APP has used previous group inputs on retention and attraction ideas to formulate an overall strategy and prioritized actions to help grow job awareness in the County, increase internships in 2014, expand the Junior Achievement program and launch the Opportunities Aroostook social media and jobs website initiative. APP also has held two "Education to Industry" summits locally to educate schools and businesses of the advantages of job shadow and internship programs.
"This year we want to reach more teachers, school boards and administrators with the message that there are many emerging jobs in The County and we're going to need every able body in order to fill them," said Dorsey.
The principal of Presque Isle Middle School Anne Blanchard suggested using teacher in-service days to give presentations on anticipated jobs in the region and the potential for growth.
"This is a message sometimes teachers don't hear, considering their busy schedules and job demands," she
said. "Teachers are the ones in the trenches every single day and have a huge impact on these students."
Tim Doak, superintendent for SAD 27, said he hopes to make businesses true partners with schools.
"Why we [educators] don't ask more community members into our schools is a question we need to ask," he said.
Another topic of discussion was on how to help businesses, which have never had interns before, tailor and set up their own internship programs and for that matter, understand the difference between a job shadow and an internship program.
"When F.A. Peabody was starting to offer internships, it would have been helpful to have guidelines and procedures available, sort of a handbook, to make sure the business and student get the most of the internship," said F.A. Peabody human resources manager Chelsea Henderson.
Dorsey said the ultimate goal of the "Education to Industry" work is to grow the 20- to 44-year-old workforce in Aroostook County and provide a more skilled workforce for emerging jobs and those opening due to retirements.
"We will take all the information from these two meetings and formulate a plan of attack for 2015," added Dorsey. "We have a great deal of momentum and want to continue this important work in the best and most efficient way possible."
Attending the meetings were, Dorsey; Doak; Henderson; Blanchard; Sandy Gauvin and April Flagg, AAI; Dave Keaton, Region 2; Lynn Lombard, MMG Insurance; Jennifer Curran, Tempo; Susan Dubay and Dee Butler, Jobs for Maine Grads; and Jon Gulliver, APP.