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Notes from APP and NMDC
Volume 3, Issue 120
Jan. 9, 2015
In This Issue
Aroostook Day at the Legislature registration reminder

AUGUSTA - To get an accurate head count for Aroostook Day at the Legislature, organizers are asking the public not to wait until the last minute and register for the Wednesday, Feb. 11,event as soon as possible.

LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development (LEAD), a key partner in the Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP), coordinates the event.

"We sponsor Aroostook Day as an opportunity for members of the private, public and nonprofit sectors in Aroostook County to interact directly with our elected state representatives on issues of importance to The County," said Jim Davis, LEAD president.

The event, held at the Senator Inn in Augusta, begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour, then dinner, followed by formal presentations.

Ryan Pelletier, Executive Director of LEAD and Director of Economic and Workforce Development at Northern Maine Development Commission, and Scott Voisine, Dean of Community Education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, are the speakers for the evening.

"This is a chance to inform not only our delegation, but other committee members as well about our economic development opportunities and challenges," said Pelletier.

Voisine will focus on UMFK's Rural U Program, a fast-growing early college and dual enrollment program that serves students in 57 high schools throughout the state. He will also briefly touch on the new Aroostook Business Initiative, which brings the four higher education institutions in Aroostook County together along with other partners to increase interest in business learning opportunities for learners from middle school to adulthood.

"Once the meeting is over, legislators are usually asked to give a brief update to the attendees of what is happening with them and issues that are coming up," Pelletier said. "The next day we try to hold a meeting with officials on a subject that LEAD has an interest, in the past it has been transportation related but this year it will focus on growing the forest economy."

Anyone who would like more information or to attend Aroostook Day at the Legislature is urged to contact Judy Dinsmore at NMDC by email at or by phone at (207) 498-8736.

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"Education to Industry" working group talks objectives and strategies

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.

NMDC hires Fort Fairfield native as accountant

CARIBOU - Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) is proud to announce the hiring of Matt Tompkins as accountant.

Tompkins, of Fort Fairfield, graduated from the University of Maine Presque Isle with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Accounting award in the 2013-14 academic year. Tompkins also served as treasurer of the UMPI Business Club and was a Junior Achievement mentor at the most recent Titan Challenge business competition.

Matt Tompkins

"Matt is a great example of a local person who availed himself of a quality education at one of the region's four institutions of higher learning and found a career right here in Aroostook County," said NMDC Executive Director Bob Clark. "We are pleased to have Matt on staff and look forward to his contributions to the organization."

"The opportunity to work for NMDC was one I could not pass up due to their commitment to serving and bettering Aroostook County, an area I have grown up in and want to see prosper," Tompkins said.

Tompkins is a member of the Fort Fairfield Lions and Fort Fairfield Fish and Game Club. He is also active as a coach, of baseball and basketball, at both the recreation department and middle school levels.

Tompkins's first day at NMDC was Dec. 1.

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