Vermont Governor Phil Scott, back right, watches Michael Peppard, a student at G.S. Precision's School of Manufacturing Technology in Brattleboro, Vt., operate a milling machine during a tour of the school on Thursday Nov. 10, 2022. National Apprenticeship Week was Nov. 14-19. Credit: Kristopher Radder / The Brattleboro Reformer via AP

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The recent article in the Bangor Daily News on a Maine yacht maker paying off student loans for their newly hired workers is just one example of how innovative employers have to be in the current economy with a dire shortage of skilled workers. Another great proven strategy is increasing apprenticeships for Maine high school students and opportunity youth.

Apprenticeships offer young people a blend of teaching with real-life work experience and hands-on learning. These programs are a key strategy to support Maine’s educational attainment goal that 60 percent of adults in our state have a credential of value by 2025.

That’s why I’m pleased to see the new partnership between Educate Maine and the Maine Department of Labor to expand much-needed apprenticeships in construction, trades, broadband and logistics in rural communities across Penobscot, Hancock, and Waldo Counties.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, Educate Maine will work with employers, high schools, colleges and other training programs to create at least 115 pre-apprentice and apprentice positions for 16-to-24-year-olds who otherwise would not have such learning opportunities. Each youth will gain valuable workplace knowledge and experiences, earn good wages and industry credentials, and build powerful connections with businesses in their local areas all while being mentored by professionals in their field.

Given my long career hiring and managing people in both state government and the private sector, and as a father of seven adult children, I believe strongly that increasing pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships will pay dividends many times over for workers, their families, businesses and Maine’s economy.

Shawn Yardley

Board member

Educate Maine