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Legislature starts work on workforce

7:39 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The legislature is hoping to come up with some ideas to provide more jobs...and prepare more people to fill them.

A special joint committee on "Workforce Training and Maine's Economic Future" held its first public hearing today in Augusta. The committee is the idea of Democratic leaders, who announced the plan as their first action after becoming the majority party in the legislature.

The committee has an equal number of members from both parties., similar to the Regulatory Reform committee launched two years ago by republicans, when they were in the majority.

Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham), co-chair of the committee, says they will focus on ways to improve training for current and future members of the labor force, ways to help downtowns grow and then ideas to help small businesses grow. The work starts with the workforce component, and committee members heard from a former state economist and several business leaders at their meeting today. Legislators say the workforce training portion is especially important, to make sure people can fill the jobs that are available.

The committee will hold a special public forum in Bangor next Wednesday, February 6 at Rangely Hall at Eastern Maine Community College. They plan several other public sessions later in the winter, along with regular meetings in Augusta. They plan to develop a variety of bills to be voted on by the full Legislature this year.

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