WILTON — Wilton Select Board member Michael Wells shared with his fellow select board members a presentation of Maine STREAM Place [MSP]. A non-profit corporation established in February 2022, the organization aims to bring more technology opportunities to Maine students and communities.

STREAM is an acronym for science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts, and manufacturing. Wells currently serves as Vice President and Treasurer of MSP board of directors, along with President Joseph O’ Brien, Secretary Leah O’Brien, and Director of Marketing Jeremy Hatch.

Their facility, located on Route 133, is a technology center designed to teach and prepare children between eighth and twelfth grade for careers relating to STREAM.

“We’re bringing in robotics into teaching kids’ kind of a shop class like we used to go through; a shop class on steroids,” Wells stated. “Everything from what’s the difference between a flathead and a Phillips head, sockets, ratchets and then also into servos motors, controllers and the IT end of maintaining a local area network.”

Joseph and Leah O’Brien are both retired from Boeing with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering, with Leah also having an M.S. in human factors engineering. Upon arriving to the area, Joseph and Wells bonded over a mutual concern over access to technological education for children in rural communities.

“Joseph and I started talking when he came to town, I just met him through our code enforcement officer in Wilton and got to know him,” Wells stated. “And we kind of came to this realization that there’s so many kids out here in rural Maine, in the rural United States that don’t know where to get some education on technology.”


Wells also added that many kids that have interest in careers relating to technology end up leaving the state when they graduate to pursue those ventures elsewhere.

“A lot of kids get their education here in Maine, and then they leave because there’s no technology here in Maine,” he said. “There’s not a lot of companies that use or have engineering/technology jobs.

“Also, businesses have trouble finding employees,” he continued. “Bath Iron Works, you hear those ads continuously, they’re looking for anybody from a welder to an electrician to a pipe fitter. We’re going to teach a lot of those skills to the younger ages, just to get their feet wet. And so, they can learn a little bit about industry, and also about the trades.”

Classes will be announced soon with schedules built around a typical school schedule with classes being offered at night, on weekends and over the summer. Classes will include a robotics summer camp, an introduction to being an electrician and fiber arts, a class where kids will learn to knit or spin yarn from a veteran 4-H instructor

“Some of the summer programs we’re going to have is have local electricians, plumbers, welders come in, teach [the kids] some hands on stuff, teach them some theory behind the trade, and then teach them a little bit about the trade as well,” Wells stated.

Wells also aims to have a robotics team to compete in the FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] Robotics Competition. Their team, which will be called the Knights of Katahdin, is currently facing challenges in funding as a rookie team, but Wells hopes to have everything ready to launch in fall of this year.

“It’s a nationwide worldwide competition between the robotics teams,” he elaborated. “So right here in Wilton, the kids are just starting the process of designing and building a robot that will compete against other robots in the state of Maine, throughout the Northeast and so on throughout the country, depending on how well they do in the competition.”

For more information about Maine STREAM Place and when their classes will begin, please visit their website at www.mainestreamplace.org.

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