July 22, 2021

Why Workforce?

Broadening our focus to address this critical need

The workforce shortage in Maine is nothing new, but it has become even more acute and highly visible as we emerge from the pandemic. In our work supporting Maine's island and coastal communities, we have heard a lot about the workforce issues they are facing, and it is one of the top areas of concern for the partners and community members we work with. As the Island Institute went through its recent strategic framework planning process and developed the organization's priorities for the next 10 years, it also became evident…
Yvonne Thomas
July 16, 2021

Archipelago Artist Profile: Helene Farrar

For this next feature in our ongoing series of Archipelago artist profiles, the Island Institute’s Lisa Millette introduces us to encaustic painter, Helene Farrar, whose nature-inspired pieces create a profound connection to Maine and the world around us.
Lisa Millette
July 13, 2021

Energy resilience planning begins in Eastport and Islesboro

What communities everywhere can learn about clean energy from Maine's islands and coast

How do you cope with electricity outages and plan for energy resilience when you’re a small, isolated community—either at the end of a 40-mile power line or on an island several miles out to sea? Eastport and Islesboro, both off Maine’s coast, were selected to tackle these issues through a U.S. Department of Energy program, the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP).
Emma Wendt
June 22, 2021

Offshore wind in Maine: Using what we’ve learned to guide our future

Takeaways from a decade of work on ocean planning and offshore wind

Since the development of Maine’s Ocean Energy Task Force in 2008, the Island Institute has worked to help the questions, priorities, and concerns of fishermen and fishing communities be heard in decisions about ocean use. As we move into a new set of work to support these conversations, here’s some of what we’re bringing with us from the past 13 years.
Suzanne MacDonald | Nick Battista
June 17, 2021

Building climate resilience in Maine

Our collaborative approach to implementing "Maine Won’t Wait"

Now that Maine’s Climate Action Plan, "Maine Won’t Wait," has been finalized and shared widely, what’s our role at the Island Institute in supporting our state’s ambitious goals? Since our last update, we’ve continued to work alongside Maine’s island and coastal communities to build climate resilience. Here, we highlight several examples of where we’re collaborating with communities and partner organizations.
Susie Arnold, Ph.D. | Emma Wendt
June 9, 2021

Broadband and (nontraditional) education

One of the critical benefits of having a good connection is access to education—and not just for kids

In 2020, more than 14,000 Mainers participated in academic, workforce training, high school completion, English language, and college prep programs through Maine Adult Education. They are Maine’s future: people who are overcoming barriers to employment and learning new skills they’ll need to access post-secondary education and training. Adult education is their avenue to that first job, or the next better job. And COVID-19 threw another enormous obstacle in the way.
Maggie Drummond-Bahl, Maine Community Foundation
June 8, 2021

Celebrating World Oceans Day: Life and Livelihoods

What does the ocean mean to those whose lives are connected to the sea?

At the Island Institute, we’re proud to collaborate with leaders across the coast to build resiliency and create opportunities that help to ensure our marine economies remain vibrant. “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” is the theme for World Oceans Day 2021, so we and our partners at Luke’s Lobster asked members of our community whose livelihoods depend on the ocean to share a little bit about their work, their connection to the sea, and the ways they’re working to create a more sustainable coast.
Island Institute and Luke's Lobster
June 3, 2021

Legislative Update: Spring 2021

We work collaboratively with communities to tackle challenges and build resiliency. While this often means spending time in the places where we live and work, it also means focusing on what’s happening further inland at the State House. This has been a busy legislative session so far with multiple bills and issues affecting our coast. In our latest policy update, we highlight some of the key issues we’re watching, what they mean for our communities, and the work that’s been done so far.
Nick Battista
June 2, 2021

Technology, older adults, and the story of resilience

When the pandemic hit, it was hard to ignore the depth of the digital divide in Maine. We worried about school children and adults unable to work from home, because broadband access was not available or affordable. At the National Digital Equity Center, we worried about the many older adults who were already isolated and lonely being left behind without a way to safely connect with the world. Did our older adults have the resilience to brave this new-to-them world?
National Digital Equity Center and The Opportunity Alliance
May 26, 2021

Broadband and cyclical poverty in Maine

Why eliminating food insecurity and expanding broadband access should be our top priorities

Here in Maine, an estimated 85,000 households do not have access to broadband internet of any kind because it is not available where they live. Not all of these 85,000 households are in poverty, but most of them are. Without computers, the skills to use them, and access to reliable broadband internet, these households face more significant challenges to break their cycle of poverty.
Jim Darroch, Good Shepherd Food Bank