To the Editor:
Just as businesses in our region are struggling to find quality employees, quality employees in and around our region are challenged in finding (reasonable) housing and reliable childcare.
Employers that recognize the importance of these (attributes) in the lives of working families by taking meaningful action should be commended. Their efforts not only make it easier and more affordable for employees to live in our region but also add value to the character of our community.
The Jackson Laboratory is taking a proactive approach to addressing the issue of shortages of reasonable housing in our community. Their proposed employee housing project would add 24 housing units in its first phase, with additional housing options available in future phases.
By offering their employees quality housing on campus, two things happen. They will bring new residents to Bar Harbor for shopping, eating and enjoying our year-round entertainment while also providing some much-needed breathing room in our available housing rental market.
The lab’s collaboration with MDI’s YMCA is expanding the physical capacity of the early age childcare program and will provide quality childcare, close to home, for more than 60 additional kids.
Additional year-round housing and childcare for working families in our community not only helps to recruit and retain quality employees to the MDI area but also helps to provide additional stability to the many small businesses that call our island home, which contributes to a vibrant year-round community on MDI.
In the last year and a half, I have had the privilege of working closely with new employees seeking to put down roots in our community. Housing and transportation continue to be a challenge for many of them. Finding reliable housing is a long-term issue that requires collaboration between multiple stakeholders for a comprehensive solution. I am optimistic that such collaboration is already happening.
I applaud the lab for prioritizing its employee needs. I firmly believe that when organizations take such leadership, it benefits the common good. I hope that many other employers on MDI will join Jackson Lab in proactively seeking to find additional ways to help solve long-term challenges such as housing.
I am optimistic that our community will support such efforts to ultimately make our region strong and vibrant.