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March 31, 2019

In March Podcast, King Discusses Legislation to Promote Early Career Opportunities in Maine’s Traditional Industries

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the March Edition of his Inside Maine Podcast. This month’s edition features Congressman Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Brian Parke, President and CEO of Maine Motor Transport Association, who join Senator King to discuss new efforts to promote early career opportunities in lucrative industries such as logging and trucking. Specifically, they discuss the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE)-Safe Act, which would establish an apprenticeship program for 18-to 21-year-old CDL holders to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce, and the Future Loggers Careers Act, which allows 16- and 17-year olds to learn the logging trade under parental supervision. The podcast can been heard HERE.

“It’s crucial to Maine’s future that career opportunities are available to our youth, and that businesses in Maine have access to a pool of qualified workers,” said Senator King. “These two bipartisan bills will allow our youth to access good, high paying jobs directly out of high school and provide them with the opportunities they need to live and work in Maine. Not only that, but both bills also aim to address the workforce shortages in these traditional and vital Maine industries.”

Senator King, a co-chair of the Working Forests Caucus, has been a strong supporter of Maine’s forest economy, which plays a vital role in the state’s rural communities. In late September, he applauded an action plan released by the Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/Maine) Initiative to grow Maine’s forest economy and increase economic prosperity in rural communities, and one of the key recommendations was workforce development. The Future Loggers Careers Act aims to expand the available Maine workforce by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 so that 16- and 17-year-olds are allowed to work in logging operations under the supervision of their parents or grandparents. The bill also contains safety measures protecting 16- and 17-year-olds in the forest products industry, such as prohibiting the use of chain saws in logging operations by those under 18.

Though many states allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license at age 18, federal law currently prohibits those operators from driving goods across state or national borders until they are 21. This not only makes it difficult for the trucking industry to fill jobs, but limits the opportunities that young Maine people have coming out of high school. The (DRIVE)-Safe Act would establish an apprenticeship program that would allow 18-to 21-year-old CDL holders to legally operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. The apprenticeship training program would help ensure these drivers are trained beyond current CDL requirements and include rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks.

The Inside Maine Podcast with Senator Angus King is a 30-minute program that aims to help keep Maine people informed about issues of the day, how they affect life in the state, and how they factor into Senator King’s work as one of two independents in the U.S. Senate. Senator King’s podcast builds on his existing radio show that airs on Newsradio WGAN in Portland, Maine between 10 and 11 a.m. on almost every last Saturday of the month. The Inside Maine Podcast with Senator Angus King is available for free in iTunes and on Senator King’s website.   

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