Maine AGC Commits $300K for Workforce Development

Thu September 12, 2019 - Northeast Edition #19
Maine AGC


Contractors review donated items for the silent auction.
Contractors review donated items for the silent auction.

The Associated General Contractors of Maine Education Foundation announced following a Gala Event that contractors have committed to more than $300,000 in additional funds for Maine students pursuing construction careers. The total fund balance will exceed $800,000 as contributions are received.

As the construction industry recovers from the recent great recession, the entire industry remains under pressure to educate new skilled workers.

"This effort was considered before the recession but placed on hold," said AGC Maine CEO Matthew Marks. "I don't think anybody expected Maine would lose more than a quarter of the construction workforce. Increasing our capacity to support Maine students attending a post-secondary institution is part of our plan to meet the demand of increased costs for students."

AGC Maine designated a committee to lead the fundraising efforts and set up a Gala Event at the Freeport Hilton Garden Inn to celebrate past scholarship winners and continue fundraising efforts. Chair of the Committee is AGC Maine's 2007 Board President Eldon Morrison, the founder of CPM Constructors: "The construction industry by nature will always be fierce business competitors," he said. "But we know working together to build a stronger generation of skilled workers is in the best interest for all of us and the people of Maine. The cost of education is rising, and we need to support Maine people who will fill the work boots of those retiring."

The task force members led by Chair Eldon Morrison include; Patty Labbe-Cormier, Susan Morrison, Beth Sturtevant, Michelle Ibarguen, and AGC's Andrea White. They were helped by volunteers including Dianne Morrison, Tim Ouellette, Abigail Morrison-Ouellette, Isabella Morrison-Ouellette, Sophia Sturtevant, Sophia Koziell, Mark Bancroft, Charlie Cianchette, Mary-Kate Cianchette, and Jack Kelley.

Maine's construction employment has slowly started to recover, but the need will continue to grow. At peak construction, before the recession, more than 32,000 construction workers applied their skills in the industry. Nearly 10,000 construction workers, that's more than 26 percent, lost their jobs during the recent great recession. Today, around 50 percent of those jobs lost have been replaced. The number of aging workers will only continue to grow.

"The fact is we lost so many talented workers who could have helped the industry bring new workers up to speed," said Marks. "So now we not only have the population challenge in Maine, the exposure to programs like industrial arts has all but disappeared for general education. We can overcome all of these new challenges if everyone works together."

This year, the foundation provided $21,000 in scholarships for 16 students attending Maine institutions with a construction career focus. AGC Maine will continue to build on existing education and scholarship programs while introducing new ideas this year to increase opportunities for careers in construction.

"We have a great start on our renewed efforts to recruit and support students," said Morrison. "I'm proud of the engagement by the entire industry."

Gala Event Sponsors included: Northeast Paving; Bancroft Contracting; Reed & Reed; Cote Crane; J.P. Martin & Sons; Albin, Randall & Bennett; CPM Constructors; EJ Prescott; MEMIC; The Rowley Agency; Ranger Contracting; Sargent Corp; Wyman & Simpson; Norway Savings Bank; Frankenmuth Surety; Casco Bay Ford; Clark Insurance; BerryDunn; R.W. Gillespie & Associates; Loren & Donna Clark; Liberty Mutual Surety; United Rentals; Landry/French Construction; Patty Labbe-Cormier; CCB, Inc; Cianbro; Hews Company; The Penobscot Company; PC Construction; S.W. Cole Engineering; L&D Safety Marking; Cross Insurance; ES Boulos.