Maine community colleges to get over $13 million for IT training

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

September 18th, 2013 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will award more than $13 million in grants to Maine community colleges to improve access to training opportunities in information technology (IT) in order to meet the growing demand for skilled IT workers across a range of industries.

“This is exactly the type of investment in our economy that we need right now. This initiative will not only help workers in our state take that next step in their careers, but it will provide training that can be directly applied to positions that Maine employers are desperately trying to fill. This is truly a win-win for Maine workers and businesses, and it’s a model that should be built upon moving forward,” said Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Mike Michaud and Rep. Chellie Pingree in a joint statement.

The funding will go to a consortium made up of Maine’s seven community colleges in strategic partnership with employers, workforce development agencies, industry associations, and other institutions of higher education. The statewide initiative is called “Maine is IT!” and is expected to serve over 2,000 unemployed and under-employed Mainers. Recent studies show that the fastest growing sector is in IT but Maine has lacked behind in training opportunities. These grants will help fill that void.

Maine’s Community College system started in 2003 when Governor John Baldacci took the technological colleges and turned their system into a community college network. By doing so new programs in a wide ranging variety meeting the needs of an every changing marketplace have been introduced. Now Community College credits can be transferred to the Maine University system.

The grants announced today are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities through partnerships between training providers and local employers. DOL is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

The following community colleges will be awarded funding:

Central Maine Community College: $4,668,250
Eastern Maine Community College: $1,422,710
Kennebec Valley Community College: $2,161,343
Northern Maine Community College: $153,121
Southern Maine Community College: $3,164,830
Washington County Community College: $404,158
York County Community College: $1,098,323