Aroostook Aspirations Initiative released a recent report developed by Plimpton Research at a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Northern Maine Community College.

Aroostook Aspirations Initiative

The press conference featured the results of the Plimpton Research Report, titled, “Addressing Barriers to Economic Development in Aroostook County.”

Aroostook Aspirations Initiative (AAI) partnered with Plimpton Research to investigate recent trends in educational attainment and economic indicators in Aroostook County compared with Maine and the nation. The report provides context from studies within the County and around the state and country to suggest how County leaders can invest to ensure an economically vibrant future.

It was reported in 2004 that Aroostook County’s population loss from 1960 to 2000 was the largest of any county in New England. The population under age 30 declined by more than half from 1970 to 2000. Today, only 26% of Aroostook’s population is under age 25, compared with 29% in Maine and 34% nationwide. The list of current concerns in Aroostook is topped by the aging workforce, and uncertainty about whether enough qualified replacement workers will be available. This is tied to Aroostook’s concern about losing young people to other parts of Maine and other states.

AAI’s mission is to support the educational and career goals of County youth, and to mobilize the future prosperity of the County. In response to the suggestions in the Plimpton Research report, AAI is currently expanding the Gauvin Scholar program in order to further contribute to a better educated local workforce, enable more young people to stay in the County, support future business leaders, and ultimately contribute to economically sustainable local communities.

"We know that population trends and workforce needs are a challenge in Aroostook County," says Kristen Wells, AAI's Executive Director. "Plimpton Research provides additional context to help address these challenges. It's one thing to say that we need to support students in Aroostook County but now we have evidence that the success of our young population directly correlates to our economic prosperity. Basically, we can't afford not to support them."

For more information about scholarships, internships and other opportunities available through Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, contact Executive Director Kristen Wells at (207) 760-0558 or at kristen@gauvinfund.org or go to www.gauvinfund.org.