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MCCS Rural Initiative

MCCS Makes Major Investments in Programs Serving Rural Maine

The MCCS Rural Initiative: 2012 update

During the summer and fall of 2007, MCCS President John Fitzsimmons met with focus groups of rural business and community leaders to explore how Maine's community college system could further assist in strengthening the state's rural economy.

On December 19, 2007, President Fitzsimmons released a report detailing the findings from the focus groups and announcing investments totaling $6.6 million in the programs and services the state’s community colleges provide to rural Maine.

Fueled by a $3.5 million challenge grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the investments will enable the colleges to dramatically increase the number of community college scholarships available to rural Maine residents, expand distance learning opportunities, and increase rural high school students' access to the community colleges.

Major gifts from TD Banknorth and the Betterment Fund have helped launch Bring College to ME, a program designed to deliver targeted community college degree programs on an intermittent basis to rural parts of the state.

The investments are being made in direct response to the growing gaps in educational attainment and income between urban and rural Maine. As Fitzsimmons noted in making the announcement: "Rural Maine is facing a significant workforce development challenge; we are making a commitment to be rural Community Connections in building an educated and skilled workforce."

To learn more about the MCCS rural initiative:

Read the 2012 update (PDF)

Read the report (PDF)

Read the press release (PDF)

Learn which communities are considered rural for this initiative (PDF)

Read press coverage about the rural initiative

  • Editorial: Rural Maine students will benefit from Osher's quiet philanthropy
    Portland Press Herald, Dec. 21, 2007
  • Editorial: Private program should help graduation rate
    Kennebec Journal, Dec. 26, 2007
  • Editorial: From country to classroom
    Bangor Daily News, Dec. 26, 2007
  • State Community College System Seeks Boost In Rural Enrollments
    MPBN, Dec. 19, 2007
  • Community Colleges Reach Out To Rural Mainers
    WCSH 6.com, Dec. 19, 2007
  • Education plan targets rural poverty
    Portland Press Herald, Dec. 20, 2007
  • Community college system reaching into rural Maine
    Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, Dec. 20, 2007
  • Plan expands education in rural areas
    Bangor Daily News, Dec. 20, 2007
  • Community colleges announce rural initiative
    Lewiston Sun Journal, Dec. 20, 2007

Read press coverage about the listening tour

View a list of the 16 meetings held across the state