Help Wanted: The Immigrant Opportunity


Given that Maine is racing into an economic crisis because it doesn’t have enough workers for its jobs, we decided to examine the role immigrants could have in helping to solve Maine’s serious workforce needs.

We moved away from the heated rhetoric that focuses on people who are in this country illegally and examined how immigrants who are cleared to work could help fill Maine’s employment gap.

To do this, we conducted more than 40 interviews and collected a lot of clarifying data. To navigate the labyrinth of immigration law, we talked with policy experts and public officials. We turned to Maine economists to help put the employment crisis in perspective. We spent time with immigrants and business owners discussing myriad barriers to employment. And we spoke to legislators about how the state could better support the entry of immigrants into the workforce.

Help Wanted: The Immigrant Opportunity is the culmination of that work.

Maine employers look to immigrants to fill severe gap

Advocates say increasing support for immigrants so they can be more involved in Maine’s workforce is critical to the state’s health, but opponents worry about associated costs, added bureaucracy and favoring outsiders.

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Authors & Contributors

Peter Weed

Peter Weed’s journalism career has included covering wine and crime for the Napa (Calif.) Register, serving as deputy sports editor for the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, and working as a sports editor and special sections editor for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Along the way, he has seen grown journalists on deadline cry, upend desks and throw chairs into walls. He also taught for three years at the University of Missouri while pursuing graduate studies. Peter has done freelance work for clients ranging from multinational companies to local hunger-relief nonprofits and is the East Coast editor at large for MovieMaker Magazine, for which he has written about biker gangs, British gangsters, French criminals and other denizens of the film underworld.


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