By LIZ GOTTHELF | Staff Writer
SACO — Advocates of a proposed bill to expand the Opportunity Maine Program say it will give college students who are pursuing specialized degrees out of state more incentive to come home to Maine after graduation.
The Opportunity Maine Program gives tax credits for reimbursement of student loans to graduates of Maine colleges who stay in the state after graduation and work in Maine. The program applies to those who have received bachelor and associate degrees.
Under LD 1421, sponsored by State Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow, the program would expand to include Maine high school graduates who returned here to work after going out of state to get a college degree, because they pursued a specialized degree program not offered in Maine.
“We want to keep jobs and families in Maine,” said Nadeau, in a prepared statement. “This will be incentive for young people who have specialized careers to come home and work in our state.”
The proposed bill won unanimous support in the taxation committee last month, according to the press release.
State Rep. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, is a co-sponsor of the proposed legislation. Chenette recently graduated from college in Vermont, and said this bill would help many young professionals.
“I think it makes a lot of sense,” said Chenette.
He said it would help combat the “brain drain,” or the migration of young, educated Mainers who move out of state to get jobs.
— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Justin Chenette
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