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Invest in Maine’s Public Universities

Question 4: An Investment in Maine’s Future

This November, Question 4 will provide Mainers a historic opportunity to invest in the state’s future workforce and economic prosperity.

This $49 million bond package – to be matched by at least $49 million in private and other public funds – will expand the capacity of Maine’s public universities to produce more of the nurses, engineers, educators and other in-demand professionals the state’s economy and communities need to grow and prosper.

Maine’s economic success depends upon a skilled workforce – produced by Maine’s public universities. In the last decade, the University of Maine System has awarded more than 56,000 degrees and our top five degree programs produce graduates where Maine most needs workers: health professions, education, business, engineering and social sciences. But with record low unemployment, an aging population and the greatest growth expected in jobs requiring a college degree, Maine must make strategic investments in growing the size of its skilled workforce.

Question 4 will:

  • Improve and expand classrooms and labs to provide modern education and training in sectors where Maine most needs workers.
  • Increase student recruitment and retention, and the number of graduates ready for good-paying, high-growth Maine careers.
  • Reduce operating and maintenance costs and the University’s footprint, consistent with our overall right-sizing commitment that has already reduced our annual operating budget by $82 million and has put us on track to close a structural budget gap estimated at one time to be $90 million.
  • Bring more students, jobs, investments and opportunities to University campuses and local communities, especially those in rural Maine.

Maine relies on the $1.5 billion annual statewide economic impact of the University of Maine System – a $7.50 return for every State dollar.  For less than the cost of a new Maine high school, Question 4 will:

  • Produce more rural nurses by bringing four-year nursing education to Central and Southern Aroostook County through a UMFK-led partnership with UMPI.
  • Grow the state’s marine economy and sustain Washington County’s future by modernizing science classrooms in Machias to attract more students to Maine’s coastal campus.
  • Double engineering enrollment and produce more in-demand computer programmers and cybersecurity professionals by expanding 21st century classrooms and labs in southern Maine.
  • Provide hands-on training for future early childhood teachers and access for local families to affordable childcare through the construction of a new child care and education center at UMF.
  • Connect students in all majors to local internships and jobs that will keep them in Maine by building a new Career & Student Success Center at USM’s growing Portland campus.
  • Provide first generation and nontraditional students including Veterans seamless support so they can realize more stable, independent and fulfilling futures by creating Enrollment Welcome Centers at UMA’s Augusta and Bangor campuses.
  • Expand enrollment of state’s largest nursing school by doubling size of USM nursing simulator.
  • Renovate UMF’s Student and Community Center, the most utilized public event space in Western Maine and improve residence halls.
  • Improve recruitment, student success and strengthen campus and community ties by constructing a new Welcome Center at UMFK for all student and public-facing functions.

“The need to invest in the University’s campuses has never been higher and this bond presents a great opportunity to make a significant impact across many areas. At Kennebec Savings Bank, we strive to hire skilled, local employees to better serve our community. With 130 employees and constantly growing, this bill would facilitate the growth of talented, educated workers in our community, and provide them the opportunity to live and work in Kennebec County and build a lasting future for our county and our state.” – Kennebec Savings Bank President Andrew Silsby

“Sappi is growing and investing in Maine, having just completed a $200 million investment at its Somerset mill…We hired almost 100 employees in Maine last year alone, and expect this trend to continue. The success of Maine-based companies like Sappi depends upon a sustainable, highly trained workforce. It is therefore vital that the University System have the infrastructure and resources to recruit and retain both local students and those from out of state while keeping tuition affordable. To make this happen, we need this infrastructure bond.”
– Sappi North America President/CEO Mark Gardner

Current Bond Status:

The University’s workforce development infrastructure bond bill passed its final vote in the House by a 135-8 margin and was signed the next day by Governor Paul R. LePage. It will be on the statewide ballot in November as Question 4.

Contributions to support the public bond campaign can be made via check written out and sent to:

Maine Economic Growth Coalition PAC
P.O. Box 550 
Orono, ME 04473  

Additional Resources:

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

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

UMS Economic Impact Infographic Handout

University 2018 Fact Sheet

Making Maine Work: A Report from the Maine State Chamber, Educate Maine and the Maine Development Foundation

Receive Updates/Become An Advocate:

Samantha Warren, UMS Director of Government & Community Relations
(207) 632-0389 (cell)