Human Capital: Deer Isle, ME

Deer Isle’s small population is rich with human capital. Despite having an economy based mainly on the lobstering industry, the community values fostering the arts and education amongst individuals, as well as preparing residents for careers in the fishing industries.

A major way that Deer Isle has worked to strengthen the workforce is through the development of the Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC). The PERC is a non-profit organization, “that works to secure a diversified fishing future for the communities of Eastern Maine.” Deer Isle’s economy is based on the fishing (specifically lobstering) industry, and major environmental changes could put everything at risk. The PERC works to keep the economy stable by providing the latest information and research to the individual fisherman, who are all essentially independent and self-employed. Specifically, they provide information about how to adapt to a diminishing lobster population, in order to give the fisherman options to maintain a sustainable business model. The PERC also paired with the Deer Isle High school in order to educate students about the sea, and the potential career paths it offers. The students are taught marine science,business skills and fishing skills. They’re taught by professors, fisherman, and researchers in the classroom, in the community, and at sea.

Deer Isle also highly values the arts. Public and private art galleries are spread throughout the island, and attract tourists from all over the northeast. Deer Isle’s Haystack Mountain School of Crafts provides plenty of opportunity for artistic development amongst residents of the community. Haystack is a well known name in the art community, and pulls famous artists from all over the country to teach classes for two week periods. Deer Isle also recently started The Reach Performing Arts Center, a program that gives children in elementary school the chance to pursue performing arts. The school is closely tied with the Stonington Opera house, which exposes children to the performing arts world, and offer them with volunteer opportunities from a young age.




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