The Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee (ERC), which has met continuously since May 2020 to respond to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on Maine’s people and economy, has released its final report. The report, Recommendations to Sustain and Grow Maine’s Economy, follows on a July report and focuses on bridging from the pandemic emergency to the goals of the Governor’s 10 year strategic economic development plan.
Like the 10 year plan, the ERC’s final report recognizes that to grow Maine’s economy and support talent development, Maine must be more welcoming of immigrants and supportive of people of color. The report also stresses that Maine must intentionally and thoughtfully address systemic inequities that impact every aspect of the lives of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, including many immigrants.
MeBIC was invited to submit information and ideas to the ERC’s Education and Workforce Subcommittee, and to its successor Talent Attraction and Development Subcommittee. Immigrants, like native born Mainers, need affordable and high quality childcare, housing, transportation, and equal access to basic safety net supports. But MeBIC stressed that many immigrants also have specialized needs, such as for additional English as a Second Language classes, or combined ESL/job skills classes, or for improved driver’s license access. These and other initiatives are critical for Maine to be a leader in helping immigrants reach their full potential, which in turn will help Maine attract and retain these important community members.
MeBIC will be working in the upcoming legislative session on bills aimed at addressing these needs.
You can find the full ERC report here.