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Maine’s Forest Opportunity Roadmap to hold virtual summit

Apr 08, 2021

Augusta — Maine’s Forest Opportunity Roadmap, or FOR/Maine, announced today the upcoming release of its Workforce Development Strategy for the Forest Products Industry. The strategy will be released as part of a virtual summit Friday, April 9, “Forwarding the Future of Maine’s Forest Bioeconomy.” The summit is free to attend.

“This Workforce Development Strategy is a significant component of the plan to drive growth in the Forest Products Industry to reach $12 million in economic output by the year 2025,” said Steve Schley, chair of the FOR/Maine steering committee. “A well-equipped workforce is the only way we can achieve our goals for growing this sector. The summit on Friday will feature a lot of useful information to help the industry attain this goal, and the workforce development strategy is a highly anticipated part of the overall roadmap.”

The Workforce Development Strategy report has been prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine. Ryan Wallace, director of the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the Muskie School of Public Service, will present the report during a session titled “Forest Products Industry Workforce Development.” The goal of the report is to provide a base understanding of both challenges and opportunities that are facing the Forest Products Industry. The base is expected to help inform a strategy for — and implementation of — a workforce plan.

“This report will focus on workforce demand, and recruitment and training efforts as they stand today,” said Ryan Bushey, human resources and safety manager at LP, and chair of FOR/Maine’s Workforce Development Committee. “It will help us to better understand and communicate opportunities that exist for careers in the forest products industry.”

In addition to the Workforce Development Strategy, it was announced last week that Gov. Janet Mills will address the summit, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday. The virtual summit will also feature keynotes, panelists, and additional presentations on a variety of Forest Products Industry-related topics, including woodland owner outreach and engagement, strategic investment attraction, and communicating the opportunity of Maine’s forests.

There is no cost to attend the summit, although registration is required at formaine.org/for-me-summit-2021/.

FOR/Maine is a cross-sector collaboration between industry, communities, government, education, and non-profits, with a focus on Maine’s role in the global forest economy. The coalition was created with support from the Economic Development Administration and Dept. of Agriculture, Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust, and Maine Technology Institute.

FOR/Maine, released an action plan in September of 2018 with a goal of creating actionable steps to grow Maine’s forest-based economy. The plan included a combination of transportation, community outreach, workforce development, and strategic investment attraction.

More details on the FOR/Maine initiative can be found at formaine.org.

 

 

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