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USM is committed to 'workforce development'

9/3/2018

I could not agree more with a letter you published recently from Thomas Harmon (See letter to the editor, Aug. 20 issue) that talked about the critical role the University of Southern Maine must play in workforce development for our region and the state.

In fact, there is no higher priority for USM than working closely with Maine employers to ensure we are preparing our graduates for the jobs that are critical to their workplace growth. And in doing so we also ensure that our graduates can find good-paying jobs right here in Maine.

Our “USM Works for ME” initiative, our Career & Employment Hub, our plans for a new Graduate Center for Professional Studies that brings together and creates synergies between the University of Maine School of Law, a new MBA program and the Muskie School for Public Service, are just a few examples of our commitment to workforce development.

Moreover, we have recently worked closely with Maine's other public universities, both parties of the state Legislature and Gov. Paul LePage to place on the Nov. 6 ballot a critically important bond measure that would invest in university workplace development initiatives and related infrastructure improvements across Maine.

If this bond measure, Question 4, passes, USM will be investing in its nursing, engineering, computer science programs, as well as in a Career and Student Success Center designed to meet employer and student needs. These are all projects essential to our state's economic growth.

While our planned USM Center for the Arts, which Mr. Harmon raises, is not a workforce development initiative, it certainly meets another important student and community need here in greater Portland. With the momentum and growth we are experiencing at USM, we are confident we can do both.

“A refocused, rebuilt, expanded USM campus in Portland is crucial for USM's future,” closes Thomas Harmon's letter. I'll end mine with the very same statement.

Bob Stein
Executive director of public affairs
University of Southern Maine