MAINE, Maine — Climate change is already challenging some Maine industries while expanding others.
On Tuesday, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce hosted its second of three webinars on the economics of climate change. Tuesday’s talk focused on adapting jobs for Maine’s future.
This was not a discussion about redirecting established laborers or encouraging lobstermen to learn to write computer code. Rather, the three panelists encouraged finding Mainers still seeking a career and telling them there’s likely a well-paying, meaningful climate-related job they’d enjoy.
Vaughan Woodruff was one such panelist and is the vice president of workforce at ReVision Energy.
"We need to tell the stories. We need for these jobs to be visible. We need for young people to be able to see themselves in these jobs, and see themselves as being successful, and understanding what those benefits are," Woodruff said.
Rachel Kerestes is the executive director of Science is Us, and moderated the discussion.
"Maine, in particular, is really well positioned to take advantage in this growth in climate technology, and then growing their STEM workforce as well," she said, explaining that Maine's small population and relative resilience to climate change impacts help this growth.
Philip Jordan is the vice president of BW Research Partnership, a firm that advises companies on talent impact on sustainable communities. He said he wants Maine to break through lasting stigmas surrounding trade jobs, and let potential workers know their skills are transferrable.
"If you’re gonna work an offshore wind project as an iron worker, you are not an 'offshore wind occupation worker,'" Jordan said. "...You’re gonna have all kinds of things you’re gonna be able to do. Same with electricians, same with all the other construction trades."
The group hopes by shifting the understanding of climate jobs, Mainers and the state will benefit from this changing economy.
The third and final webinar is expected in the fall of 2023 when new panelists will discuss ways Maine can attract innovation and technology investment.