June 19, 2024
4 min read

Maine CTE Centers and the Local Economy: Preparing Students for Growth Industries

Photo by Alex Moliski on Unsplash

Maine's labor market is at a pivotal juncture. With an aging workforce and retirees on the rise, the need for new, skilled talent has never been greater. Did you know that Maine has the oldest population in the nation, with a median age of 44.7 years and 21.7% of its residents aged 65 and older? Maine CTE Centers can make a difference in revitalizing the local economy by equipping students with the skills needed to work in growth industries.

Maine Growth Industries

Maine's 10-year strategic plan, created in 2019, highlights the importance of growing local talent, attracting new talent, and promoting innovation for the state's success. The plan highlights industry areas that are growth opportunities for the state, which all need technically trained workers. Industries include:

Renewable Energy

Interest in renewable energy and energy efficiency is creating jobs in Maine, while also supporting energy and climate goals for the state. Governor Janet Mills has set a goal of 30,000 clean energy jobs in Maine by 2030 and is investing in workforce training initiatives to help train people seeking careers in the industry. Jobs are needed in solar, wind, and hydropower installation, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance.

Bio-Based Material Production

Innovative materials, such as advanced building materials, bioplastics, and biofuels, are being produced from Maine's forest resources. These materials help a range of industries and well-known brands use more sustainable products. This industry can create and retain more than 4,000 jobs in Maine by 2030 in machine operations, maintenance, electrical, and engineering.

The Role of Maine CTE Centers

As new growth opportunities emerge for Maine, CTE Centers have an exciting role in helping to advance the economy as the population ages. CTE Centers can expose students to new career paths through partnerships with local employers and universities.

Training programs using industry-relevant equipment offer students invaluable hands-on experience so they are ready to jump into work. This equipment bridges the gap between classroom learning and workplace demands by simulating real-world environments, equipping students with the practical skills and confidence they need to succeed from day one.

Tri-County Technical Center has an Energy Systems Technology program. The program provides students with a foundational understanding of Maine's alternative energy and energy efficiency career fields. The project-based course covers solar photovoltaic systems, wind energy, micro-hydroelectric systems, biofuels, and sustainable local food systems.

Creating New Programs to Align with Career Paths

Your Maine CTE Center may need to create new programs or incorporate emerging topics into existing programs to train students for these exciting career paths. Partners like AET Labs, an end-to-end lab solutions provider for New England CTE schools, can help you connect what's relevant in the industry to what's appropriate for training high school students.

A Festo wind solar training system product photo.

As you develop new courses, consider incorporating training equipment into your program to give students hands-on experiences. For example, the Solar Wind/Energy Training System by Festo Didactic helps students understand how wind turbines and solar cells are used in the residential and industrial markets through experiments and complementary online learning courses. It comes with a student manual, instructor guide, and textbooks for comprehensive learning.

If you're considering new equipment, you might need to rethink your classroom layout. A partner like AET Labs can assist in designing a layout that accommodates your equipment and addresses mechanical, electrical, and plumbing needs, while also ensuring space for collaborative group learning. With careful planning, you can creatively optimize the space you have.

Boost the Local Economy with Your Maine CTE Center!