For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport spoke to the Leadership Council of The Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges at their offices at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland on Monday, November 18.
Rep. Fredette, along with Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland), was invited by the community colleges' board of directors to speak about ways Maine's community colleges can contribute to a strong workforce and a growing economy in Maine. Former Gov. John McKernan, the Foundation's president, was present for the discussion.
"It was an honor to discuss the importance of Maine's community colleges in creating opportunities for young or displaced workers in our state," said Rep. Fredette. "Our education system needs to be better-focused on training people in practical skills that can land them a good job upon graduation."
Rep. Fredette sponsored the bill to allow voters to decide on a $15.5 million bond to improve facilities and classroom equipment at Maine's seven community colleges. The bond passed on November 5 with 66 percent of the vote and will be used to increase the colleges' capacity to reduce admission waitlists and expand academic programs in high-demand fields such as precision manufacturing, health care, information technology, and others.
"Throughout this process, I felt it important that this money go not toward overhead but to real, tangible improvements to the infrastructure and equipment used in our community colleges," said Rep. Fredette. "The most important task before the community colleges right now is reducing waitlists so that more people can move forward with their careers, and improving and upgrading the facilities so that we can ensure they are getting the best education possible."
Rep. Fredette, a Maine native, attended college and graduate school in the University of Maine System and is currently an attorney in private practice in Newport. He is known for his work trying to improve Maine's public higher education system.
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