Nearly every seat in the Edmunds Conference Center at Northern Maine Community College, in Presque Isle was filled January 5th for the USDA Community Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth in Maine’s largest and most northern county. The seventeen inches of snow that fell in previous days did not dissuade from excellent attendance at the Forum. In addition to the 50 people seated at the Forum, another 15 people joined the discussion from video-teleconference sites in Houlton and Madawaska, bringing the number of participants to 65. This forum was a follow-up on the Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth held by President Obama on December 3, in Washington.
It was my privilege to welcome the crowd, which featured local economic and community development leaders, college and university presidents, business owners, agricultural producers, and Congressional Staff. The Forum was hosted at Northern Maine Community College and included presentations from USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director, Donovan Todd, III, and Northern Maine Community College President, Timothy Crowley; as well as local guest speakers Maine Public Service Company President and CEO, Brent Boyles; Northern Maine Development Commission Executive Director, Robert Clark; and Aurora Mills Owner, Matt Williams.
The important conversations shared among participants centered on creating jobs, growing local businesses, opportunities for economic growth, as well as barriers that need to be addressed in order for Aroostook County to recognize its full potential for economic expansion.
The information provided from the discussion will be summarized and provided to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and President Obama for consideration.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel welcomes a crowd
of 65 at Maine’s January 5th USDA Community Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth
By USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel