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Curry bill would create Maine Workforce, Research, Development and Student Achievement Institute

Apr 28, 2021

Augusta — Sen. Chip Curry, D-Belfast, introduced a bill April 28  to create a nonpartisan research institute to provide the Legislature with information and policy options to improve Maine’s economy.

LD 1517, “An Act To Establish the Maine Workforce, Research, Development and Student Achievement Institute,” was the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature’s Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee.

“In IDEA, we work on some of the biggest and most challenging issues facing our state,” said Curry, Senate chair of the committee. “For example, developing a larger, more skilled workforce requires more workforce housing options, increased broadband coverage, expanded access to affordable child care and more. These issues are complex, and nobody is an expert in all of them.

"By providing credible, objective research about what things are like in Maine right now, and about emerging trends and policies that are working in other states, the institute will help the Legislature craft better policies to make a difference in Mainers’ lives.”

The bill establishes the Maine Workforce, Research, Development and Student Achievement Institute and a related steering committee to advise the Legislature on matters related to workforce training, research and development, student debt and economic advancement in Maine. The Legislature would work alongside the institute to identify areas needing further study; the institute would then carry out this study and provide the Legislature with objective, nonpartisan information and policy options. Similar groups currently exist to compliment other legislative committees, including the Maine Education Policy Research Institute, which advises the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and which this bill is modeled after.

The Finance Authority of Maine, the Maine Jobs Council, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Economic and Community Development were among those testifying in favor of the bill.

LD 1517 faces further action in committee.

 

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