An engineering career can take you anywhere in the world you want to go. And, honestly, we encourage traveling and working abroad while developing your skills. But while you’re considering college, may we suggest University of Maine as the place to be?

We’re potentially biased, but we’d like to share seven reasons why UMaine rocks for engineers.

1. Competitive pay.

We’ve discussed before (in our Get A Real Job blog series) how entry-level engineers and beyond receive a relatively high wage. We understand that while money isn’t everything, it’s still undoubtedly an important aspect of your career choices. For example, the starting salary for UMPPF engineers in 2022 was $80,000 annually!

Here’s a breakdown of some numbers for Maine*.

  • Chemical Engineers (and all/other engineers):
    • average entry-level wage: $71,020
    • median wage: $100,580
  • Electrical Engineers:
    • average entry-level wage: $69,640
    • median wage: $94,620
  • Mechanical Engineers:
    • average entry-level wage: $69,230
    • median wage: $94,580
  • Civil Engineers:
    • average entry-level wage: $66,090
    • median wage: $93,480

*These numbers were compiled from the Maine Department of Labor website.

2. Job availability.

Sure, Maine is a smaller state than say, Texas, but there are quite a few large companies who hire engineers of all types including Proctor and Gamble, International Paper, SAPPI, ND Paper and Twin Rivers. If you’re looking to travel for co-ops or for your career after graduation, Graphic Packaging, Packaging Corporation of America, WestRock, along with many others, are available options for you.

According to the Maine Department of Labor, the engineering industry falls into the category of “high-wage, in-demand” jobs with an average of 55 openings per year. There are also a high number of those looking to retire in the coming years, which will increase opportunity. Other states that are looking for engineers include Texas, Michigan, California, and Virginia.

Our students interviewed for placement in 54 locations across the country for co-op and full-time jobs this year, so the options are plentiful.

3. History of the industry.

Maine pioneered the paper industry not just nationally, but globally. We’re proud of that history and continue to write new chapters. As consumer needs have changed and technology has evolved, Maine paper mills have embraced innovation. It’s no question that the paper industry is here to stay.

There are several museums in the state that preserve, honor, and share our state’s pulp and paper history, most notably in Livermore Falls, Topsham, and Bucksport.

4. The quality of life.

If you’re looking for a high quality of life (and who isn’t?), look no further than Maine! The state offers safety and security because of its low crime rates; exceptional school systems and universities; some of the cleanest air and water in the country; affordability and reasonably low cost of living; and recreational access to oceans, rivers, mountains, ski resorts, and more. Maine is a very rural state outside of city centers, so if you’re looking for privacy and living “in the country” then Maine might be for you. Which brings us to the next point…

5. Maine is called Vacationland for a reason.

Okay, this is an easy one to talk up because Maine is truly a destination state! The tourism industry produces a great deal of revenue for the state, and why? Maine has it all—mountains, oceans, outdoor recreation, amazing event venues, art and history museums, an epic food and craft beer scene—we could keep going! For students here, this means an awesome vacation could be waiting for you in the next town over.

6. Sustainability and progressive opportunities.

Back in July 2021, Maine became the first state in the nation to adopt an Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging law that requires manufacturers and corporations to help municipalities pay for their recycling resources. Businesses will be looking to curb their costs and will want to reduce waste by developing even more sustainable and renewable packaging. That’s where you come in!

Other important initiatives that need engineers include: alternative transportation and EV solutions, IT and broadband infrastructure, climate and gulf of Maine research, community solar initiatives, and Sustainable Forestry Initiatives including Maine’s Healthy Forests Programs. This program ensures sustainable forestry practices that keep our forests, wildlife and ecosystems thriving. All of these programs need hundreds of individuals to concept and design, build and test, read and interpret data… sound familiar?

7. You’ll get a jump start on networking.

As a student with the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation, you’ll meet dozens of alumni, hiring managers, company owners, and other industry professionals during resume and interview workshops, seminars and events such as Paper Days, and of course, during your co-ops.

Maybe you’ll connect with a company member during student interviews or meet an alumni who’s totally killing in their engineering career. Take advantage of those connections! Maine is fairly small, so it’s pretty easy to meet up with people from different parts of the state for a coffee date, tour of the mill where they work, or hear the vision for their new company.

How did we do—did any of these reasons surprise you?! Of course there are more than seven reasons why UMaine rocks for engineers, so if we missed an important one, please let us know! We love inspiring engineering students on the opportunities that UMaine and the Pulp and Paper Foundation offers.

Learn more about how we help engineering students here.