At the January 13 meeting of the St. George Business Alliance (SGBA), small business owner and former Maine state senator Chris Rector, who now serves as one of seven regional representatives for Senator Angus King, told the group’s members that how Maine addresses workforce development will be a key factor in whether the state thrives economically.
“The biggest challenge is the demographics,” he said. “We need younger workers, we need immigrants. Businesses considering moving to Maine look at our workforce and say, ‘Who will be available to work for us in 10 or 15 years?’ The graying of Maine is a big problem.”
Karen Brace of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce (of which the SGBA is now a member) seconded Rector’s comment, noting that a related issue frequently brought up by the Chamber’s members is the need for more housing that a younger workforce can afford.
Rector said his job is to be King’s “eyes and ears” in this region. “I regard spending time with a group like yours as an opportunity to open lines of communication.” In many ways, he said, a peninsula like St. George is like an island. “Each peninsula has its own characteristics of culture,” stressing the importance of recognizing such distinctions.
Although Rector spends much of his time traveling his assigned region, he has an office in Augusta at 4 Gabriel Drive and can be reached at 622-8292 or Chris_Rector@king.senate.gov.
The January SGBA meeting took place at The Point restaurant in Tenants Harbor, owned by owner/chef Jessica Beal. —JW
PHOTO: Diane Hall