Governor Mills has proposed investing $35 million in MCCS as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, her plan to dedicate more than $1 billion in discretionary Federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act. The Governor has also proposed committing $35 million to the University of Maine System and $20 million to Maine’s Career and Technical Education Centers.
This investment also comes as the Governor proposes in her budget a three percent funding increase to support the operations of community colleges.
“Maine is in constant competition with other states and the world to build and retain a talented workforce that can succeed in emerging industries shaped by new technology,” said Governor Mills. “To keep Maine competitive, to create a skilled workforce, and to craft a diverse economy that attracts new businesses and provides good-paying jobs, we have to invest in our people and in our public education system. The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan does that to support our community college system and bolster its important role in strengthening our workforce.”
Maine’s community colleges offer a wide breadth of affordable workforce training programs across Maine that are easily accessed through free short-term training, degree programs, certificate programs and advanced certificate programs.
“Now is the time to make bold, strategic investments in workforce training programs that prepare workers for a post-pandemic economy,” said MCCS President David Daigler. “The demand for quality education and training is high, yet many good-paying jobs in this market, from healthcare to precision machining, are still going unfilled. Governor Mills’ $35 million proposal for Maine’s community colleges gives us the ability to greatly expand our training programs and get thousands more people the skills they need for these vital jobs across the state.”
“We have learned so much during the pandemic about how to effectively reach students in creative and new ways to offer them the kind of training they need. This investment means we can get to work offering expanded training to reach as many students as possible,” said CMCC Interim President Betsy Libby. “These students are looking for a way to move ahead, and we’re excited to use these funds to offer them more opportunities.”
“If I had to describe my experience at Central Maine Community College in one word, it would be ‘amazing’,” said Sarah Pierce, a student at CMCC. “I came for the strong network security program, and found great instructors and a caring, supportive campus community. Now I’ve got a new job lined up, and I know it’s because of the skills I learned at CMCC.”
“Maine students like Sarah are exactly who we want to support with the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan,” continued Governor Mills. “With her talent and determination, and the skills she learned at CMCC, she is positioned for a good-paying job in a trade and state she loves. At the end of the day, Sarah’s success is also Maine’s success.”
The Governor’s investment comes in the wake of recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy that call for investment to bolster Maine’s workforce.
Joining Governor Mills today were Betsy Libby, president of CMCC, Dave Daigler, president of MCSS, CMCC 2021 Student of the Year Sarah Pierce, Bruce Tisdale, President of Mountain Machine Work, and Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Maine’s seven community colleges have the lowest tuition and fees in New England and serve more than 29,000 individuals a year through degree programs, customized training, and opportunities for lifelong learning. Central Maine Community College, in Auburn, offers more than 40 programs of study and enrolls more than 3,050 students.