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Spring 2013
Invest in Maine people,
Fitzsimmons urges
In his biannual State of the Community College System address on March 7, MCCS President John Fitzsimmons urged Maine lawmakers to make long-term, sustained
John Fitzsimmons
MCCS President John Fitzsimmons
investments in Maine's human infrastructure. Outlining the good (83% enrollment growth in 10 years) and the bad (growth has begun to slow dramatically), President Fitzsimmons said the slowdown is not due to a lack of interest in higher education by Maine people. Rather, the colleges lack the resources to serve more students. In each of the last two years, he said, the colleges have had to turn away over 4,000 students from the courses and programs they need to complete a degree. "Investing in our human infrastructure," he told the legislators, "is no less a lifeline for our citizens than replacing an aging bridge or a washed-out road."
Workforce committee turns to MCCS to help address skills gap
The Joint Committee on Maine's Workforce and Economic Future has proposed strategic investments to close the state's skills gap and strengthen Maine's business climate. The proposals contained in LD 90 would provide $2 million in funding to the MCCS in each year of the budget to increase the capacity of high demand programs to serve more students. Additional investments would include funds for four new degree programs in rural areas of the state through the Bring College to ME initiative and would expand the capacity of the MCCS Maine Quality Centers to provide training to small businesses. President Fitzsimmons praised the committee for focusing on the skills gap, "a critical problem that needs to be front and center."
KVCC launches new programs in sustainable agriculture
The 120-acre farm at KVCC's new Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley will become home to a cluster of new sustainable agriculture programs beginning this coming fall. The college will initially offer associate degrees in sustainable agriculture and culinary arts and plans to introduce one-year certificate options in 2014. The new agriculture hub is being funded in part by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. 
The farm at KVCC's Alfond Campus in Hinckley will play a key role in the college's new sustainable agriculture and culinary arts programs.
Tuition and fees at Maine's community colleges lowest in New England
After freezing tuition for eight of the past fourteen years, Maine's community colleges now offer the NEBHE Reportlowest college costs in New England, according to a new report from the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). The report finds that over the past five years, tuition and fees at Maine's seven community colleges have increased just 7% compared to the New England-wide average increase of 27%. Students attending a community college in Maine pay an average of $3,287 in tuition and fees. Across New England, the average cost for community college is $4,431. Although well below the New England average, the cost of community college in Maine is still slightly above the national average of $3,282.

"Our colleges are designed to be accessible, but you can't be accessible unless you are affordable," noted President Fitzsimmons in commenting on the NEBHE report. "We are committed to keeping our tuition the lowest in New England as long as Maine is the poorest state in the region." 
High wage. High demand.
In response to strong industry demand for skilled machinists, CMCC has expanded its precision machining program from 75 to 88 students this year, and YCCC will launch a new precision machining technology program this coming fall. The demand for graduates of CMCC's program and their high job placement rates were the subject of a WCSH6 news story in late February. The new YCCC program will be located in Sanford, where the college is currently renovating a site on Eagle Drive to house the high-tech equipment needed for the program.
Tips of the trades


Creating a good online password 
passwordQuick, think of an important date. Got one? Well, if you do, it's a lousy password. So is the name of your dog, your favorite beverage, or a cool catchword from your favorite movie. Ashley Hayes, who teaches network security at CMCC, gives her advice on creating a secure password in a recent Lewiston Sun Journal article. In a nutshell, "The worst thing people can do is think of a password as a word," says Hayes.

Recipes from our chefs
Got a craving for a maple bacon cookingwhoopee pie?  You'll find a recipe for this and other National Pig Day treats in the test kitchens of EMCC culinary students. Want a lighter option?  Check out the recipes the Portland Pirates hockey team sampled during a cooking class at SMCC.
Student Scholars honored
by MCCS Trustees

Fourteen Maine Community College students have been named to the All-Maine Academic Team and were honored on March 27 by the MCCS Board of Trustees for their academic achievements, leadership, and service. Meet a few of them below and read all of their inspiring stories.

Jennifer Woodard, CMCC Jennifer Woodard  
"There are many reasons why I chose to go to a community college: availability of classes, cost, and location. What I did not realize would be so important was the atmosphere. There is a sense of family when you walk through the doors."

David Spenlinhauer, SMCCDavid Spenlinhauer
"It's neat to meet other like-minded and motivated people, all at different points in their lives with some pretty amazing life experiences. Truth be told, I'm not in all that big of a hurry to leave, but if the right opportunity presents itself, at least now I'm beginning to see the bigger picture." 

Christine Phillips, WCCC
Christine PhillipsMaine's New Century Scholar
"I have always had an interest in attending college, and I decided to seize the opportunity to do something I would enjoy and would also put me in a better position to provide for my family in the future. I enrolled at WCCC and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has changed my life. I am very thankful for the opportunity and experience."
News Briefs

When art and science collide
-- As part of an in-class assignment, Paula Ursoy, a student at SMCC, took a photograph of a water sample she had collected from an incoming tide near Brunswick. The photograph, taken with the assistance of photography instructor John Stetson, depicts water teeming with microscopic life. It's a beautiful image, striking enough to have been chosen as NASA's Earth Science Picture of the Day on March 15.

EMCC receives grant to improve student success
A $280,000 grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation to The Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges will support EMCC's efforts to redesign and strengthen its academic support services. The grant will enable the college to hire an additional advising specialist to focus on the needs of individual students and to add a developmental math specialist to assist students in acquiring the math skills they need to be successful. 

WCCC offers two new programs this fall -- WCCC will offer a new powersports equipment/small engine technician program and a criminal justice degree this fall. Students can turn the one-year powersports certificate into a two-year associate degree in mechanical technology. A two-year associate degree program in criminal justice will be offered in collaboration with CMCC. For more information on either program contact the admissions office at WCCC.

YCCC signs articulation agreement with Kaplan University-Maine -- Graduates of YCCC who earn an associate degree can now transfer to Kaplan University-Maine of South Portland and pursue a bachelor's degree. YCCC alumni will also receive a 15 percent discount on their Kaplan tuition. "Kaplan has agreed to take all of our college level degree credits, which means our students enter at the junior level," said YCCC Vice President and Academic Dean Paula Gagnon.

NMCC starts construction on new wellness center
NMCC has chosen J.P. Martin and Sons Construction Corp. of Caribou to build a new wellness center addition and to renovate existing space for a new student center. The Rodney Smith Wellness Center and the Akeley Student Center are being funded by a $5 million gift to the NMCC Foundation by Mary Barton Akeley Smith, a native of Presque Isle. An additional one million dollars is being raised from local businesses and industries, the NMCC Foundation and The Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges. A formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held this spring.

Petersen honored by Junior Achievement -- Rich Petersen, president and CEO of the Maine Medical Center and a member of the Board of Directors of The Foundation for Maine's Community Colleges, is one of three individuals who will receive the Junior Achievement of Maine's Business Hall of Fame award on May 8. The award honors distinguished businessmen and women for their outstanding contributions to free enterprise and the promise of a better, stronger society.
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