Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA – Maine State Senator Amy Volk (R-Cumberland) is sponsoring a bill to address a potential shortage of engineers in southern Maine in the near future. Senator Volk presented the legislation (LD 312), “Resolve, Directing the University of Maine System To Study the Opportunities to Increase Engineering Capacity in Southern Maine” to the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on March 1, 2017.
It requires the University of Maine System to study the existing and emerging engineering workforce, applied research and technical assistance needs of Maine businesses and industry and to develop recommendations to increase the engineering capacity, specifically in southern Maine by strengthening academic and nonacademic programs at the University of Southern Maine.
The University of Southern Maine currently offers degrees for mechanical and electrical engineering. LD 312 could eventually pave the way for the university to make a third engineering program available.
Volk’s decision to submit the bill follows her attendance at the Maine Engineering Workforce Summit in Lewiston in which state business and government leaders discussed the need to increase capacity in the engineering programs in order to meet future workforce demands, as well as replenish the number of engineers aging out of the workforce.
“Maine’s engineering programs are among the best in the nation,” Senator Volk said. “But in order to keep up with the growing demand for skilled engineers here in this state, we need to ensure we have the capacity to accommodate new students at our colleges and universities-particularly in southern Maine.
“This is an industry that has a $3.7 billion impact on Maine. I believe we must do everything in our power to meet the growing demand for engineers, and hopefully this study will shed light on how to best do that.”
Once the resolve has been voted out of committee, it will go to the full Legislature. If approved, the study group will report its findings to the Education and Cultural Affairs and Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committees by December 31, 2017.