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December 4, 2018

Aroostook County sets workforce development as key goal

Courtesy / The Aroostook Partnership
Courtesy / The Aroostook Partnership
Paul Towle is the new CEO and president of Aroostook Partnership, an economic development organization in Caribou. At the partnership's annual meeting, Towle identified workforce development as a major goal in 2019.

New Aroostook Partnership President and CEO Paul Towle has identified workforce development as a major goal for this coming year.

Speaking at the partnership's annual meeting at Northern Maine Community College this week, Towle said upcoming initiatives include promoting personal and professional benefits of returning to the region among older professionals, Thecounty.me reported.

"We need to promote benefits that we have, such as the low cost of real estate, the safety, the sense of the community," Towle said.

At the same meeting, Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber recognizes the challenges Aroostook County faces compared to other areas of Maine in terms of aging population and wants Aroostook Partnership to play a role in expanding workforce opportunities.

Aroostook Partnership is an economic development organization in Caribou. Towle stepped into his new role after the August retirement of former CEO Bob Dorsey, who led the organization since 2012. Towle, who grew up in Aroostook County, had spent the previous eight years as COO of I Care Pharmacy in Fort Fairfield.

Other county organizations have identified aging demographics and securing the future workforce as the region's biggest challenge.

Aroostook County's Northern Maine Growth Initiative, a grassroots collaboration of business, educational, social services and faith-based groups, has been working on plans to attract more families to the region and build the workforce. Members of the initiative traveled to Florida this year to provide Catholic Charities USA caseworkers with information on workforce and housing opportunities for Puerto Rican families, with the goal of relocating four Puerto Rican families to Aroostook County by February 2019.

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