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Community colleges continue to grow
New programs meet needs of employers
SMCC welcomes new president
Dead River truck donation benefits students
Meet inspiring students
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Fall 2011
Enrollment growth continues
Strong student demand statewide
All seven of Maine's community colleges are reporting enrollment growth this fall, as students -- and the companies that will employ them -- seek workforce skills that will enable them to be competitive.

In all, enrollment across the System has increased 4.3 percent over last year and 83 percent in the past nine years to a record high of 18,548 students. While the number of students working toward a degree in a trade or technical field has grown 56 percent over the past nine years, the colleges are challenged to meet the heavy demand for these programs.

"The reality is that enrollment growth is slowing as more and more occupational programs reach their capacity," noted MCCS President John Fitzsimmons in announcing this year's preliminary enrollment numbers. "Eighty-four occupational programs offered by the colleges are at or over capacity this fall, and we have had to turn away many qualified applicants. The will and the demand are there. The resources are not."

To learn more about enrollment at Maine's community colleges this fall
go here.
This fall: new programs designed to meet the needs of Maine's changing economy
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KVCC's Solar Lab
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Over the past decade, Maine's community colleges have added 75 program options to meet emerging workforce needs and have discontinued 40 that are no longer in high demand. This fall the colleges continue to realign their curriculums and have introduced new high tech programs in manufacturing, alternative energy, and engineering.
  • At Southern Maine Community College's new Midcoast campus in Brunswick, students are enrolled in the state's first associate degree programs in composites technology and pre-engineering.
  • At Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, the college's new Center for Excellence in Alternative Energy Training and Education is enabling students in its wind power technology program to work with state-of-the-art equipment as they prepare for employment in the wind power industry.
  • Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield became the first college on the eastern seaboard this fall to offer a building dedicated to instruction in solar thermal heating and cooling.
  • And at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, the school's new Sustainability and Energy Alternatives Center (SEA) is preparing individuals for careers as energy auditors and specialists.

Pictured above: Students learn to install solar panels in KVCC's solar training lab. 

A new president at SMCC
SMCC President Ronald Cantor
Ronald Cantor
Dr. Ronald G. Cantor became Southern Maine Community College's new president on August 22. Previously the Associate Vice President and Dean at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, NY, Cantor replaced Dr. James O. Ortiz, who retired this summer. Listen to Dr. Cantor discuss the future of SMCC in a recent interview on WCSH News.
And they keep on truckin'

Dead River donates trucks to MCCS.

A Navistar International 92000 is a bear of a truck: large, sophisticated, and governed by highly technical systems. This fall, students in the diesel and heavy equipment technology programs at Eastern Maine, Northern Maine, and Washington County Community Colleges have the chance to work on those systems and gain new proficiencies, thanks to a generous gift from Maine's Dead River Company to The Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges. This fall, the company donated a truck to each of the three colleges and will deliver a total of eight more over the next few years. The trucks are, in the words of Gene Fadrigon, the department chair at EMCC, "the ideal learning laboratory."

Pictured above:  Robert Moore, president of Dead River Company; Philip Willey and Devon Watson, students in NMCC's diesel hydraulics technology program; and NMCC President Tim Crowley.
Reaching for the moon.
Crossing the finish line.
Discovering new worlds.

A community college education in Maine can lead to all kinds of interesting places. But this fall, a number of students have embarked on some extraordinary journeys.

 

Take Sheena Farmer, a student at KVCC from Detroit, ME.

 

Thanks to a college humanities course that she says taught her how to do research and demonstrate her knowledge, Sheena designed a prototype vehicle to roam Mars. The work won her a visit to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, as one of 48 scholars nationwide chosen to participate in a three-day intensive at the Flight Center.  When she finishes her coursework at KVCC, Sheena plans to study aerospace engineering at either Cornell University or North Carolina State University. Her career goal: to become an aerospace engineer. Learn more.

 

Closer to home, four EMCC students designed a vehicle of an entirely different sort and took it for a winning ride at Loudon Super Speedway.  See WABI-TV's report about the group's souped up tricycle and what it took to win.

 

And come this spring, two of Maine's community collegeGeorge Mitchell Scholars students will be heading to Ireland as part of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Exchange Program. Nichole Rackliff, an EMCC business student, and John Eder, an SMCC liberal studies major, were named Mitchell Peace Scholars and will spend the semester at the Cork Institute of Technology in Cork, Ireland. Created by the MCCS and the University of Maine System, the program pays tribute to the Honorable George J. Mitchell in recognition of his efforts to facilitate peace in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In all, the exchange program has enabled 26 MCCS students, including the newest scholars, to study in Ireland and 16 Irish students to attend a Maine community college.

Tip of the month
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NEWS BRIEFS
Pratt & Whitney gift to support new program in integrated manufacturing at YCCC -- A $100,000 donation from Pratt & Whitney to The Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges will help ensure that employers in York County have access to a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce. The funds will be used to develop an integrated manufacturing program at YCCC that is expected to begin enrolling students in June 2012. The college will work closely with SMCC and CMCC to develop its new offering. Both colleges have similar programs but are unable to enroll additional students because they lack the capacity to serve them. "Our biggest need is for a skilled workforce to manufacture and assemble precision machined aircraft engine parts. Working hand-in-hand with local community colleges is an efficient and effective way to develop and recruit talent in the plant," said Michael Papp, general manager of the Pratt & Whitney North Berwick Parts Center, in announcing the gift.

KVCC receives grant to help students earn degrees -- KVCC is one of 34 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a grant under the U.S. Department of Education's Strengthening Institutions Program. The grant, which is expected to total $1.6 million over the next five years, will enable the college to add staff and services to assist students in completing their programs of study. "These funds will allow the college to better assist students in completing their programs despite work, family, and personal obstacles that can make that goal a challenge," said KVCC President Barbara Woodlee when the grant was announced. "We measure our success here by the success of our students, and this grant will aid our efforts in important and measurable ways."

NMCC celebrates its 50th anniversary and the success of its graduates -- NMCC marked its 50th anniversary this fall and celebrated by honoring one "shining star" alumnus from each of its graduating classes. Among those honored: an architect, a retired college president, a number of business owners and teachers, a flight and critical care nurse, and a manufacturing engineer. In all, more than 1,000 friends of NMCC turned out for homecoming and anniversary celebrations over the September 9-10 weekend.

New Center for Workplace Safety rolls out its first courses -- The new MEMIC Center for Workplace Safety, based at CMCC, has begun offering programming this fall that is designed to meet the needs of individual employers and their workers, improve workplace safety, and help lower workers compensation costs. The Center offers programming in a variety of topics and settings, including online, at the workplace, and across Maine's seven community college campuses and off-campus centers. To learn more about safety training opportunities through the Center, contact Bryan Wallace at (207) 755-5282.

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