Jackson Lab opens new employee housing units
BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - Available housing is just one problem facing both employers and employees in Maine.
The Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor took a big step in helping to ease that burden on Thursday, cutting the ribbon on a new employee housing complex.
They say it will create a residential community of individuals, couples, and small families.
It was a celebration two-and-a-half years in the making after the Jackson Lab identified employee housing as its number one issue in February of 2019.
(KATE HOMER): “The first thing was employee feedback, talking to employees. We sent quite a few employee surveys to hear about the problem, and we really saw it. I mean, just people priced out of this area. So much of our housing has moved to seasonal housing, employees have long commutes,” said Kate Homer, Jackson Lab director of finance.
Construction started in June of 2021, and now, Woodlands Lane Apartments features 24 units, with a mix of modern one, two, and three bedroom apartments.
The state hopes the project can be a model and a catalyst for other Maine employers moving forward.
“What we’re seeing is that need for collaboration, and a recognition from employers that housing is critical if they’re going to be able to recruit people to come to their areas,” said Laura Fortman, Maine Department of Labor commissioner.
For the new tenants, Friday is move-in day, and the office will now be just down the road.
“The thing I’m most excited about is being able to not only be a walk away from work but also be able to stay involved with the community events and organizations that I’m a part of on a daily, weekly, monthly basis,” said Ezra Hallett, Jackson Lab
The lab says these new employee housing units are really an investment both in the future of the work being done at the lab and the community.
“We have housing, transportation, childcare. We have a lot of issues being a large employer in Maine. We have 1500 employees who work here in Maine. In order to advance our mission of curing disease and helping human health, we also have to make it easier and healthier for our employees to live nearby,” said Katy Longley, Jackson Lab executive vice president and COO.
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