Is Maine’s Public University System Meeting Needs of the Private Sector?

Read the full report | According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maine state government spent $715,163,000 on higher education in FY 2006—$544 for every man, women and child in the state. Most of this money went to support the University of Maine system. However, are Maine taxpayers getting a good return on this money?

One of the primary purposes of a university system is to produce graduates with the skills necessary to fill productive jobs in the private sector. Unfortunately, the University of Maine system is failing to meet that goal. For example, the University of Maine system is graduating six times as many “Life, Physical and Social Science” graduates as there are projected yearly job openings while only meeting 40 percent of the graduates needed in the “Healthcare Practitioners and Support” occupations.

In addition, taxpayer support for the University of Maine system is based on the assumption that a post-secondary degree is vital to success in Maine’s job market. However, 84 percent of all projected annual job openings and 76 percent of all projected net new jobs require on-the-job training and do not require any post-secondary training. This fact suggests that Maine’s business community is more important to the education of Maine’s workers than is the University of Maine system.

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