9.15.2011

SMCC confirms need for investment in higher ed


Monday I wrote about my feelings regarding efforts in Maine to retain dying industries. As an alternative, I touched on the need for human capital formation to build a work force compatible with industries the US has a comparative advantage with in the global market. This morning, Portland Press Herald published a jobs skills analysis conducted by Southern Maine Community College that further confirms the need.

According to projections, 4000 positions are available and may go unfilled over the next several years. These positions include fields such as:

  • IT/computers
  • Precision production
  • Hospitality
  • Transport
  • Construction
  • Science/technology

There's some obvious overlap between the demand for labor identified in the report, and the industries I suggested the state of Maine help foster:

  • IT and telecommunications
  • High-tech manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Niche-based food production
  • Financial services
  • Bio-tech in medicine/agriculture
The overlap isn't perfect. However, excluding niche-based food production, which you might try to include as part of tourism, all the non-overlapping industries (transport, construction and financial services) happen to be needed as complimentary services in a growing economy anyways.

At the same time, readers should be aware of the bias of the report. It's probably no coincidence SMCC is calling for more investment from the state to support more associate degree and certificate programs. Generals will always want more funding for defense,  doctors for health, farmers for subsidies, etc.

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