It is heartening to read in your newspaper that legislators are considering a proposal to increase funding to Maine’s career and technical high schools.

From where I sit as the CEO of a 186-year-old large manufacturer, this is long overdue.

Technical education centers are the very places where my company, along with many other employers, seek out qualified and skilled young technicians to work for us. It is our hope, and expectation, that CTE students have developed the skills and have the experiences needed to successfully work at Hussey Seating.

Such training includes the use of advanced technologies and equipment, and that means updated infrastructure and instruction are necessary.

Maine CTE programs need additional investment in order to reach more students. State records show that, since 2019, CTE enrollment has increased by more than 10%. Across Maine’s 27 CTE centers, more than 9,800 students are enrolled in 85 diverse programs ranging from welding, to carpentry, to culinary, to cyber security. Yet, that represents only 16% of Maine high school students.

An investment in Maine’s CTE centers will provide more students with the opportunities to learn and train on modern, industry-grade equipment, so they come to our businesses workforce-ready.

Doing so would help address our workforce challenges and grow our economy. It’s a win-win.

Gary Merrill, Saco, Hussey Seating Company CEO

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