Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Good News In Difficult Times

The daily economic news has not been fun to watch or read in the last few months. Though, what follows is some good news in these difficult economic times. Recently, in the March 2009 edition of the North Star Alliance newsletter there were several items of good news. The North Star Alliance is a WIRED(Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) grant Maine received to help with the economic and workforce development in the boat building, marine trades, and composites clusters of industries.

According to the March newsletter, thanks to funding through the North Star grant 1200 Maine citizens have begun some type of training within this cluster. 700 Maine citizens have been able to complete a certification, degree, or some type of industry recognized credential. These individuals have been both new hires and incumbent workers and this has helped several companies develop new projects or products.

For instance, Harbor Technologies, a Brunswick based company may be hiring as many as 20 new workers on a new contract. Harbor Technologies makes composite docks and harbor pilings. Their new and existing employees have taken classes and participated in On-The-Job Training funded through the Nort Star grant. Click here to see a WCSH-6 story on Harbor Technologies.

I believe the public/private partnerships that have been developed through the North Star grant and WIRED model will continue to help businesses grow and thrive in Maine. We must use this model in other clusters like Energy, Healthcare, Tourism/Hospitality, Precision Manufacturing, andTDL (Transportation, Distribution and Logistics). Click here to learn more about industry clusters.

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