Expanding College and Job-Skills Opportunities in Western Maine

Strengthening Rural Families

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

March 1, 2008

Summary

This is the story of Franklin County, Maine, a rural community crippled by poverty and too few economic opportunities. It’s a story with two stars: 1) local leaders who rally together to bring college courses and job training to the area; and 2) residents who step out of their comfort zone to grow new skills and careers. Spoiler alert: The county’s transformation is ongoing. But the final chapter of this report? It’s a hopeful — and happy — ending. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Introducing western Maine, where the moose are plenty and the economic opportunities few

Maine’s Franklin County, located 90 miles north of Portland, is a hard-hit, resource-rich rural area that’s home to nearly 29,500 residents. It has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates and lowest median household income levels. 

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