Maine has a proud history of a strong work ethic. When we were growing up as kids in Pittsfield, everyone had a job in the summer starting early – I was babysitting from the time I was 12. Kids across the state used to pile on the bus to go rake blueberries in the summer. But for more than 30 years, liberals have been undermining that work ethic through welfare policies that paid people not to work; that discouraged work. I have spoken with so many Mainers who are working hard every day and they are frustrated and angry because they know someone who is capable of work but who is sitting at home, collecting a welfare check. And now, because this had been going on for so long, we have generations who have been raised without seeing a parent getting up in the morning and going to work. We can’t let the left keep looking down on hard work, vocational jobs, and service industries. We need to continue to take pride in a being a state knows how to get tough and get the job done, whatever it is.
Promoting work matters on two fronts: first the dignity of work contributes to strong, independent individuals who will support strong stable families connected to their communities; second: Maine must have a workforce that is ready, willing, and able to work.
- We need to protect and expand work requirements across all welfare and disability programs
- We need expand drug testing across all welfare programs
- We need to tie school payments to programs that are aligned with current job needs and identified future job markets.
- We need to incentivize and prioritize our vocational education programs beginning in our middle schools
- We need to support our youth having access to meaningful work opportunities at younger ages
- We need to strengthen the commitment to apprenticeship programs