Policy Leaders Academy

Experiential training for Maine’s legislators

Policy Leaders Academy is a non-partisan educational program of the Maine Development Foundation for Maine Legislators on the Maine economy. This program has delivered high quality, objective and non-partisan experiential training to legislators since 1985. The program is open and free for all Maine Legislators.

Program participants learn about the fundamentals of the Maine economy and the factors that drive long-term growth. Participants learn how their public policy decisions affect the growth and investment strategies of Maine’s for-profit businesses and organizations. They learn this through interacting directly with business, non-profit, education and community leaders throughout Maine.

Policy Leaders Academy is a program of the Maine Development Foundation, with strong financial and personnel support from several prominent Maine foundations and organizations committed to a prosperous and thriving state.

January 2022 Policy Leaders Academy Events

Maine Development Foundation completed our January 2022 Policy Leaders Academy offerings with the following three learning opportunities for members of the 130th Maine Legislature. Attendance was strong with 83 legislators from all parties participating. The sessions were Zoom panel discussions followed by Q&A and were available to legislators free of charge.

The Maine Economy: Fundamentals, Trends & Vision for Growth

After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine economy is showing signs of both strength and concern. This was a two-part primer on the Maine Economy, starting with a discussion of the new 2021 Measures of Growth report, which offers a non-partisan, data-based snapshot of where Maine sits relative to other states and the U.S. Then State Economist Amanda Rector provided an up-to-the-minute overview of Maine’s economy, what has changed, what hasn’t, and what the opportunities for prosperity are in the years to come.

Presenters: Yellow Light Breen, MDF, and Amanda Rector, Maine State Economist

Connecting Maine People with Training and Career Pathways

In this session legislators heard from higher education and business leaders about innovative training models to help Maine people thrive in various sectors of our economy. The conversation included details about employer-led training, apprenticeships, short-term training, and advanced degrees. 

Presenters: Jason Judd, Educate Maine; David Daigler, Maine Community College System; Joan Ferrini-Mundy, University of Maine; Douglas Cyr, Irving Woodlands, LLC and Irving Forest Products, Inc.; Dawn Sullivan, New Venture Maine’s Next Steps Program (alumna).

How to Help Small Businesses in Your Legislative District

Small business is the lifeblood of Maine’s economy: the state has over 150,000 small businesses that employ over 55% of all employees, and new business startup and survival rates are among the highest in New England. This session focused on how legislators can help the small businesses in their district to access the information and expertise they need to begin, grow, and thrive. The highly interactive panel discussion featured small business owners and state and federal program experts to answer questions and provide practical, useable information to share with constituents. The session also featured an update on the state’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy in action and the use of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Presenters: Diane Sturgeon, U.S. SBA; Charlotte Mace & SarahJoy Chaples, DECD; Chris Rector, Entrepreneur and Former Legislator; Grace Mo-Phillips, CEI; Anne Ball, Maine Downtown Center, MDF.


Download the Executive Summary

Download the Full Report

Maine State Budget Primer 2021

click image to download primer

Policy Leaders Academy Partners

Policy Leaders Academy is a program of Maine Development Foundation, with strong financial and personnel support from several prominent Maine foundations and organizations committed to a prosperous and thriving state. The generous support of these organizations allows MDF to leverage expertise from across Maine to provide legislators with rich learning opportunities at no cost to individual legislators.

This year’s Policy Leaders Academy is brought to you by the following partners:

“The 2019 3-day bus trip proved that as Mainers we can create so much when given resources and inspiration. I’m grateful for the chance to have made meaningful connections with so many hardworking, visionary people – not just the leaders of our tours and talks, but also my fellow Legislators, hailing from all parties and parts of our state, joking, chatting, and eating lunch alongside me on the bus.” 

State Representative Vicki Doudera (D-Rockport)