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Maine Voices: Business, higher ed have the same problem – can they work together to solve it?

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Maine’s post-COVID economy is threatened by two distinct human resource challenges – fewer students enrolling in higher ed and the continuing worker shortages in business. A recent Press Herald editorial (Our View, Nov. 9) raises concerns about student declines within the University of Maine System and, particularly, at Maine’s community colleges. It goes on to say that potential students are faced with a tough choice of whether to take a job or get an education. Remarkably, it goes on to suggest that recent employee wage and benefit gains may be causing this. Just a short time ago businesses were criticized for not paying their staff enough, and now it seems they are paying too much and hurting educational attainment!

Without a doubt these are unusual times, and there are many unanswered questions and problems yet to be solved. Most would agree, however, that along with the pandemic a big contributor is purely demographic. Maine is the oldest…

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