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Invest in Maine’s Public Universities

The University of Maine System’s top legislative priority in 2018 is support for LD 836, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Build Maine’s Workforce Development Capacity by Modernizing and Improving the Facilities and Infrastructure of Maine’s Public Universities.

The $49 Million Bond Package Will:

  • Add capacity for STEM education, including computer science and cybersecurity education
  • Expand nursing simulators and allied health training labs
  • Improve spaces on all campuses that support student success, recruitment and retention, career development and job placement
  • Bring jobs and new investments to our local communities

Why invest in Maine’s Public Universities? Our economy depends on it.

Maine’s economic success is built upon a strong public university system. The state’s people and prosperity depend upon a skilled workforce – produced by Maine’s public universities. But the current condition and capacity of our facilities is costing us students, which Maine simply cannot afford. $49 million in State investment in workforce development infrastructure at the University of Maine System through LD 836 will:

Produce More of the Skilled Workers Maine Needs: From rural nursing homes and hospitals to Main Street banks and small businesses to global high-tech manufacturers, Maine employers say University of Maine System graduates are their top talent – they just need more of them. For less than the State now spends to construct a new high school, this investment will build capacity and enrollment in programs that directly support Maine’s workforce needs at all University of Maine System campuses, leading to more graduates prepared for Maine jobs in the increasing number of high-demand fields that require a four-year or advanced degree.

Grow Maine’s Economy and Reverse Demographic Declines by Attracting Students/Future Workers: Campus appearance and quality are key factors in choosing a college and staying through degree completion. As the University of Maine System works to keep Maine kids here and attract more out-of-state students who pay more and often stay in the state to live and work after graduation, our campuses must be competitive with peers in the region. Modernization of facilities will improve recruitment and retention and is necessary now to ensure our continued growth in out-of-state enrollment (up 36 percent in the past five years to now nearly 6,000 students) essential to the economic health of Maine and its public universities.

Enhance the System’s Fiscal Position: Nearly half of the System’s 550 buildings have not been meaningfully renovated in at least 50 years (less than 20 percent of our competitors’ facilities have gone that long without upgrades). This makes our space more costly to maintain and renovate, and presents safety and accessibility concerns. Public investment, which will spur private and other giving, will build upon the System’s improved financial stability (brought about by One University reforms and right-sizing that have resulted in $82 million in annual savings) by further reducing repair and operating costs, decreasing our facilities’ footprint and increasing tuition revenue.

This much-needed investment in University workforce development infrastructure must be a top priority now. Just like roads and bridges, our campuses are critical public infrastructure essential to our state’s prosperity. University facilities and the Maine students, employers and communities who depend upon them cannot wait for a future Legislature to act.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much would be invested in workforce development infrastructure at my local campus?

How do these investments compare with others recently made in public education infrastructure?

Why is investment in public higher education good for Maine?

Can I see a project list?

Why can’t the System fund these projects with existing resources?

Current Bond Status:

The University’s workforce development infrastructure bond bill faced its final vote in the House, where it passed 135-8. The bill now goes to Governor LePage’s desk and if signed, will move to Maine voters in November. Please thank those legislators who voted in favor and expect to learn more from us over the summer about our plans for a statewide campaign to build public support for this important investment and the value and relevance of public higher education to strengthening Maine’s economy and communities.  

Additional Resources:

University Bond Support Letter Templates (Word doc attached)

BDN Op-Ed From UMS Chancellor Page: For the Future of Maine, the Time to Invest Is Now

Bond Priority Projects Infographic (NEW)

Suggested Talking Points

Infrastructure Investment Infographic Handout

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Find Contact Information For Your Legislator

UMS Economic Impact Infographic Handout

BDN Op-Ed from Educate Maine: Investing In Higher Ed Is One Way Maine Can Attract Young Workers

Become An Advocate/FMI:
Samantha Warren, UMS Director of Government & Community Relations
samantha.warren@maine.edu
(207) 632-0389 (cell)