Ashland Area Economic Development Committee (AAEDC) recently hosted an Open House and ribbon cutting at a new office location in Ashland.

More than thirty guests were in attendance representing business, education, and community.

Representative John L. Martin, Senator Troy Jackson, and representatives from the offices of US Senator Susan Collins, US Senator Angus King, and US Representative Bruce Poliquin were also among attendees.

Members of AAEDC shared progress made in the past year including securing a USDA Rural Development Grant and matching funds from local employers and municipality, hiring an administrator, launching a WorkReady credentialed training program, and opening the office.

Don Tardie, Chair AAEDC said,

“Our first year of success could not have been achieved without the in-kind and financial support of our stakeholders and the commitment of our committee members.”

 

With the progress of the past year, Tardie believes the region is positioned for more results in 2018.

Included in the listing of stakeholders were Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, Aroostook County Action Program, JD Irving, Katahdin Cedar Log Homes, Katahdin Trust Company, Maibec Lumber, Maine Woods Company, Mark Rafford Trucking, Norstate FCU, ReEnergy Holdings, Seven Islands Land Company, Towns of Ashland and Portage, and USDA Rural Development.

Tardie added,

"In support of our regional employers, we are initiating programs for workforce development and undertaking initiatives in the expansion of the Machias River Industrial Park located in Ashland,” “Our efforts here will be focused on finding grant monies needed to provide rail service, water and sewer lines, as well as other infrastructure needed to help ReEnergy find businesses to collocate and take advantage of their steam and power platform. Finally, we want to continue building on the success of last year in our community revitalization initiative.”

 

Committee member and Maibec Lumber, Inc. Human Resources Manager, Ben Lothrop also weighed in on the conversation saying,

“Anything that can be done to strengthen the workforce here in the Route 11 corridor is great for all of us,” said  “From training the existing people to bringing in new families to the area, it’s only going to help all of the business in the area. If we’re going to be successful in this area, we all need to work together. The Ashland Area Economic Committee is a perfect vehicle for that!”

With AAEDC, Lothrop assisted in the development of an internship program and potential scholarship with Maibec and Ashland District School.

The AAEDC office is located at 190 Presque Isle Street in Ashland and updates from the committee are posted monthly on the Boards and Committee page of the Town of Ashland website here.