L. Willey: Gaining the skills needed for life

Question 5 on the November ballot will give Maine businesses the opportunity to hire more graduates for good-paying jobs. I am supporting it because there are exciting things happening at Central Maine Community College.

A "yes" vote on the question will provide the local community college with $2.35 million to construct a new building that will house state-of-the art classrooms and science labs.

Enrollment in the community colleges has grown 83 percent in the past decade, but even after all that growth there are students waiting to enroll. That waiting period is preventing students from getting their degrees, while Maine employers are confronting a growing skills gap.

Voting "yes" on Question 5 is about opportunity for Maine and Central Maine Community College students to get the skills they need to do the jobs of the 21st century. Maine businesses will have the opportunity to grow by hiring people from the local community college.

Question 5 is about giving Maine’s economy the opportunity to grow and become stronger and more sustainable.

Question 5 is not complicated. Voting "yes" will give Maine people the skills they need to fill the good-paying jobs that Maine businesses have to offer.

Lloyd "Bud" Willey, Lewiston

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



 's picture

Before retiring, I worked in

Before retiring, I worked in computer programming for 40+ years - still do some occasional consulting. I moved back to Maine in 1985 and worked for three employers until 2010. Two were in MA and one in CA. I was a telecommuter before that word was coined. Before then I lived in MA, VA, TX and NH - following the "good" high-tech jobs. Not one of those jobs was created by government. In fact, all of them existed and persisted in spite of government and the obstacles it places in the way of efficient private enterprise.

And not one of those jobs belonged to a ME employer. If I wanted to get back in the business now, I still would have to look in other states for those "good" jobs that ME politicians have been promising for decades.

Spare me the hogwash about "tons" of good jobs - it depends on your definition of "good". And you can't create one of those jobs simply by preparing a kid to fill it.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"Question 5 is about giving

"Question 5 is about giving Maine’s economy the opportunity to grow and become stronger and more sustainable."

Did you just make this up? If Maine it the mecca of economic growth, why wouldn't businesses seek talent nationally? I would.

The conclusion is that Maine's business climate is not suffering from the lack of community colleges. Please go back to the drawing board.

Talented people will follow the jobs to Maine if and only if jobs are created in Maine. All that we have to do is witness the job migration to North Dakota filling jobs servicing the oil industry. Focus directly on created jobs, the people will come.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Mark as usual, you missed the point.........

Maine has toms of high tech jobs right now. After seven years, my last employer still sends me, openings available in house before going out to advertise, current employees always have the first shot at these jobs, but unfortunately, are some of the very few qualified for them. My employer before that also had numerous in house, very high paying jobs available, however very few people were technically qualified for them. I went to CMCC, back when it was CMVTI. I had taken just single and double courses there for years, not really for any particular reason other than I was interested in the technology field. I ended up using my credits from CMVTI, to receive my degree from BU, in order to accept my first job in my new career field, in Portland.
It also wouldn't hurt to take a couple business courses, you will need to learn a lot more than just technical stuff. The hardest part for me transitioning from being a long time trucker to working in a more structured business enviroment, was learning the inner workings of the company. I had to learn a whole new language, I had a hard time learning to carry on a conversation using nothing but acronyms, and military time. I never did get the acronym part completely down, I used an acronym dictionary, and cheat sheets. It also helps to learn to read charts and graphs, I swear, in every large company, there's one department specifically dedicated to producing charts and graphs, identified with acronyms.
It's not just being technically prepared, it's a whole other lifestyle. and there's no reason you can't get all the training you need right here in Maine.,..................................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Toms? I assume you mean tons.

Toms? I assume you mean tons. I think your yardstick is 33 inches too short. There are not tons of high-tech jobs in Maine. There are some, but not tons. Pay employees well, and they will come. Work is all about the money. If business cannot get "qualified" people, then they need to increase compensation to attract them to Maine; the free market is a two-way street.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I did mean tons, and I do mean tons................

You are wrong, I am updated weekly, even eight years after leaving on long term disability, I get notices mailed to me with this weeks job openings at the plant. This has been going on for eight years. My job before that always had openings they could not fill. It was a constant challenge having to train to run different robotic machines. When I left, my work station was on two separate floors of the facility. All I can say is thank God I had permission to use the freight elevator.
Many companies are changing, it was due to one of those technology changes I was recruited to my most recent employer. It was better pay and I didn't have to travel to Portland every day. Yes that's right, better pay. Better pay than I got not only operating, but repairing robotic manufacturing equipment.
A lot of businesses that have been around for years, are trying to expand production, by automating their manufacturing process. It can be daunting, but in the end, the output is usually incredible. Everything from producing a product to material handling, to preparing the finished product to be loaded on the truck. That's freight handled by unmanned robotic vehicles that travel around the warehouse entirely directed by computers,
These are jobs available now, but you have to go looking, a lot of these openings aren't found in the news papers.These jobs require a certain amount of education, but nothing that couldn't be attained by anyone.................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you have never been

Perhaps you have never been out of Maine - one employer is not a ton. Compare the number of tech jobs in Maine to places like North Carolina, Texas, or California silicon valley and your ton quickly diminishes to grams.

You are lacking perspective IMHO.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

All I'm saying is you are wrong.................

I haven't been out of Maine? (1) I wasn't even born here, (2) I was an over the road truck driver for over twenty years, I've gone over that big green bridge a couple of times.
You are basing your opinions on technical jobs offered by technical companies. If you haven't noticed there are literally thousands of large and small businesses in this State. These companies need people to help them transform from eighties ere plants to twenty first century competitors. In order for a lot of companies today to even compete, they need to transform. Not just upgrade, that won't cut it, they need to completely modernize in a way that allows them to compete. All these thousands of businesses, can't just by some equipment and start it up. They need to be shown what they need, whats available, and how to make it work for their particular business. I had educated myself as well as taken college courses for years just for the fun of it, I even finished a degree program to start a new job. It wasn't until I actually started working in the industry that I realized exactly what was going on out there. On the job, I was in constant contact with out of state technical construction companies. These are companies that send teams to actually construct the equipment itself. There are people who just write the software code for a particular application. Then there's people like myself who specialize in the Hardware aspect of things. Physically building computers, perifials and so on. If something physically breaks,bends or just wears out, I fix or rebuild it. Don't ask me any software questions, you won't like my attempt at an answer. There are a lot more opportunities than most people realize out there. There are definitely not enough people willing to learn this stuff. A lot of people are scared to death of technology, it sounds to complicated. It isn't really..................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"You are basing your opinions

"You are basing your opinions on technical jobs offered by technical companies. "

Damn straight. Non-technical companies don't really offer too many technical jobs.

Would you like to super size that meal? Perhaps we have a different view of "technical."

"Physically building computers, perifials and so on"

I think you are a bit dated on how small business buy their technology. Long gone are the days of building PCs from components. PC are very cheap; it is more cost effective to replace rather than repair most computer systems small business require. Moreover, how many times to you see something bend or wear out on a PC.

"A lot of people are scared to death of technology"

Perhaps in your age group, but not for generation X's. Again, a sign you are dated.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

If you only had a clue...............

I never said a thing about building PC's, You see, you don't even have a clue what I was talking about. I'm talking about robotics. Your right, PC's are disposable now. Where do you think the new PC's and laptops, smart phones all those neat little toys out there now come from? They don't come from some little workbench in China. Where ever their built now, they're built by machines. Now just who do you think builds the machines that build hi tech gadgetry? Who builds the machines that produce just about everything now-a-days? Actually, what we built and maintained were robotic assembly lines. Capable of starting with raw materials at one end and finish up on a shrink wrapped pallet of product ready to be loaded onto a truck. Very little to no human intervention needed, except to keep the machinery running. At the speed these machines run, trust me, one split second hic-up, could mean hours of very high tech repairs. Try watching shows like "How it's Made", there's a lot more high tech out there closer to home than most people would ever imagine. and these companies large and small need people to keep these lines going......................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

English is a precise

English is a precise language. I you mean "robotics" try using the word. A robot is not a computer. It may have computer control, but it is much more than that.

It is kind of like calling a "car" a computer because cars are control by them.

People know far more than you think the know about technology. Again, an artifact of begin out of touch.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Well I've had enough of this................

You just disagree with everything. If I said the world is round, you would disagree. You make no logical sense. You don't know what a computer is yet you insist, I'm lying. It must be awful hard going thru life disagreeing with everyone. You are so contrary, that if you were to fall in the river and drown, they'd look for your body, up stream.............................................

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I never said you were lying;

I never said you were lying; I said your information is dated - big difference you think?

You say I disagree with everyone. That fact is not true. I agree with 99% of what Mike LeBlanc says for example; you just fail to notice because you are fixated on your own emotion. In fact, there are times that I agreed with what you have to say - just a few however.

Anyhow, we should stick to the topic. A robot is not a computer. A robot is comprised of many mechanical and electrical components, one or more of which are embedded micro-controllers.

Here is what people typically mean when you say "computer" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer


Dr. Right

 's picture

I agree completely.

Workers will come and pay taxes that will directly support community colleges. A bond for them just kicks the can down the road and hands the bill to our kids - those who haven't left Maine looking for those good jobs.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Unfortunately, many people

Unfortunately, many people see this in reverse. Invest in infrastructure and they will come. Many cites have fallen on that sword (aka Stockton, CA).

It is the other way around in reality. Jobs bring revenues that allow cities to build infrastructure. Look at the industrialization of Lewiston- Auburn for example. Industry brought jobs that brought in money that allowed L-A infrastructure expansion. See, the expansion is and effect to a cause - jobs, not a cause begging an effect.

I have no clue how people get it ass backwards.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...