By Loraine Aceto
All political parties will benefit from voting Yes on Question 4! Nov. 6 is Maine’s time to shine for a vote that will invest in Maine’s future. Ballot measure No. 4 would put out “A $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine’s public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine’s economy and future workforce.” It would attract and retain students in the workforce, building our economy.
On the 14th, I had walked up to a “Vote Yes 4 Maine’s Workforce” booth at USM to receive informational papers. According to the papers, cited from Yes 4 Maine’s Workforce website, “Maine relies on the $1.5 billion annual statewide economic impact of the University of Maine System — a $7.50 return for every State dollar.” For a cost lower than that of a new Maine high school, Question 4 will do the following:
Upgrade (expand, improve) classrooms and labs to provide education/training where “Maine needs workers.”
Numbers will boom of recruiting graduates to be prepared for Maine’s well-paying careers.
The cost of the universities’ footprint will be much less for operating and maintenance.
Best of all, Yes on 4 would “Bring more students, jobs, investments, and opportunities to University campuses and local communities and keep them in Maine”!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the U.S. has reached a record low unemployment of 16 years.
The Yes on 4 campaign urges that “with record low unemployment, an aging population and severe shortages expected in jobs requiring a four-year or advanced degree like teaching and nursing, the time to invest in Maine’s public universities is now.”
$25.2 million of the bond will be invested directly in southern Maine to:
Build new Student Success & Career Services to excitingly connect USM’s blossoming Portland campus to internships and jobs for students locally;
Double the size of USM’s nursing simulation lab, increasing the effectiveness of Maine’s largest nursing school and producing “more nurses to care for our aging friends and neighbors”;
Allow the expansion of engineering classrooms and labs, producing more graduates and new technologies right away, “as requested by southern Maine employers and in partnership with UMaine”;
Allow more computer programmers and cybersecurity professionals to be trained to protect the personal and financial information of Maine people and business will be produced;
Attract young people from out of state “by improving existing residence halls and other high-use facilities the campus and community depend on, critical to revising the state’s dangerous demographics”;
Help transform Portland’s campus in a visionary master plan: performing arts center, student housing and a graduate professional center.
According to the Yes4MainesWorkforce.org paper, paid for and authorized by the Maine Economic Growth Coalition, “Yes 4 Maine’s Workforce provides $12 million in nursing investments to grow enrollment and expand programs into high-need regions of Maine”.
If you vote Yes on Question 4, graduates will be prepared ASAP for the global economy.
Vote Yes on 4!