State Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay, has sponsored a bill that would authorize a bond to strengthen the science, technology, engineering and mathematics departments throughout the University of Maine system.

 “Funding STEM will have long-term benefits for students, the state as a whole and its economy,” said MacDonald.  “We need to fund programs that will help students enter growing fields with well-paid jobs.”

 The initiative would provide $50 million in funds to improve equipment for critical programs at all of the campuses in the University of Maine system. The proposal would focus on projects that boost research and development as well as basic science in the STEM fields. 

 Bond proposals require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature and voter approval.

 According to the Maine Department of Labor, one in seven new Maine jobs will be STEM-related in the next decade and wages associated with STEM jobs are 58% higher than wages for other Maine jobs. 

 Recently, the National Science Foundation named the University of Maine one of the top 100 U.S. universities for research. Major projects areas currently include oceanic tides to use as energy and ways to use wood-based biofuels in military jets.

 The bill has been sent to the Appropriation’s and Financial Affairs Committee and will be scheduled for a public hearing in the coming weeks.  For more information on the bill go to: http://www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280047380

 

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