On Thursday, March 18, the Maine State Chamber testified in support of LD 241, An Act to Support the Trades Through a Tax Credit for Apprenticeships Program, before the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation. The bill encourages the use of apprenticeships in business by providing an income tax credit of up to $2,500 to employers with apprenticeship programs approved by Maine Department of Labor.
Workforce is a huge issue for employers in Maine. A highly skilled workforce is critical to growing Maine’s economy. The problem: Maine has the oldest workforce in the country. According to MaineSpark, Maine will need an estimated 158,000 more credentialed and educated workers by 2025. MaineSpark is a 10-year commitment between business and educational leaders to work together to ensure that Maine’s workforce is competitive and productive.
Apprenticeships will help that process and help to continue to grow Maine’s workforce. Apprenticeships give students an opportunity to learn job skills in a prospective career over an extended period of time while earning a paycheck. That formal training often times leads to providing students with jobs after graduation. Anything Maine can do to increase, encourage, and support employers by providing incentives for apprenticeships is a step in the right direction. There are a lot of technical jobs in Maine that go unfilled because there are no qualified people to fill them.
In November 2014, the Maine State Chamber and the Maine Development Foundation released a report in the “Making Maine Work” series that dealt with Preparing Maine’s Workforce. In that report, it talked about the importance of apprenticeships and the role they play in training our future workforce. The most recent update of that report again in December 2018 discussed the very same issue and the need to strengthen diverse pathways such as apprenticeships that lead to career successes.
The committee’s work session is scheduled for Thursday, March 25. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Caprara by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 106, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.