Preparing Maine’s future workforce

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To the Editor;
During my career, I’ve been an educator and a businessman who focused on workforce development for one of Maine’s largest companies. I feel the need to weigh in on the issue of proficiency-based education — an issue that’s extremely important to me.

Proficiency-based learning not only enhances education experiences for students, but it can improve their future success. In turn, it can also strengthen Maine’s workforce and economy.

It’s no secret that Maine employers often struggle to find workers with the skills businesses need to grow, compete and succeed. And the jobs of the future are going to require greater skills and credentials, with many requiring a college degree or more. Maine’s business community understands that, to meet the demands of our economy today and tomorrow, we have to develop workers who can compete and thrive in the modern workforce.

Preparing this workforce starts early, and it means teaching students more than the basics. We need to cultivate solid work habits among our future workers, along with skills like strong communication, critical thinking and problem-solving. And because not all kids learn the same way, it also means making sure each student has a pathway to success without getting left behind. This is what proficiency-based learning does and why I’m so excited about it.

Adapting to new learning methods and standards is challenging for schools and teachers, as well as parents and students. But we cannot reverse course on proficiency-based learning, a model that holds great promise for the future of Maine’s economy.

Steven Pound

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