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Maine Technical College System

News Release

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2003
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Technical College and Adult Education systems signed a formal agreement today to work collaboratively to build a seamless bridge into higher education for Maine adults who need additional academic preparation for college.

John Fitzsimmons, President of the Maine Technical College System (MTCS), and Rob Wood, President of the Maine Adult Education Association (MAEA) signed the statewide agreement this morning at a meeting of the MTCS Board of Trustees at Southern Maine Technical College in South Portland.

"Today, a college degree offers the best hope for a good career and financial stability, but the reality is that many adults need additional help to get ready for college," said Fitzsimmons. "Our goal is to create a pathway that's convenient for adults, effective in its results, and cost-efficient for students and for the State," said Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons added, "This agreement will enhance our ability to fulfill the community college mission of providing open access to college for all who aspire to it - whatever their academic, ethnic or socio-economic background."

MAEA President Rob Wood, representing Maine's statewide network of 126 adult education providers, said, "Our programs have worked with the technical colleges to help adults from all parts of Maine achieve success in higher education. With this partnership, we hope to significantly increase the number of adults entering college - and to make sure those adults are prepared to succeed in reaching their goals," he said.

Both the technical colleges and adult ed programs offer some level of developmental programming, skill development and academic and career guidance. However, for adults with more significant needs, Maine's Adult Education system offers more extensive pre-college courses in reading, writing and math, and basic skill development. In addition, about 2,500 Maine adults earn a high-school diploma or GED through Adult Education centers each year.

Over 60 Regional Agreements Signed

In the spirit of the statewide agreement, System officials announced that leaders from the seven technical colleges and close to 70 adult education programs had already begun meeting to discuss ways to strengthen local partnerships. Sixty-two agreements have been signed, with others in the works.

In each region, education officials are discussing a variety of ways to collaborate, including the potential for:

  • offering adult education courses on a college campus, as a way of engaging students more readily in college life; and likewise, offering college courses at adult education centers
  • using similar placement tests, and sharing (with student permission) test results to facilitate advising
  • replicating some of the successful College Transition programs that currently exist in Maine
  • identifying scholarships designated for adult education learners pursuing degrees at the technical colleges
  • exploring opportunities for joint grant proposals; for example, for those designed to help dislocated workers transition into careers in target industries

According to a survey conducted for the MTCS, about one in five Maine adults - or 90,000 people - have a strong desire to go to college. Adding to the urgency, in the last two years alone, over 16,000 Maine adults have lost their jobs due to plant closings and mass layoffs. Of those laid off from traditional manufacturing jobs, the majority are middle aged with a high school diploma or less.

Maine's seven technical colleges and off-campus centers serve over 20,000 Maine citizens each year in one and two-year degree programs, credit and non-credit courses, and customized training. Maine's statewide network of 126 adult education programs serves about 116,000 citizens annually, providing GED preparation, basic math, reading and writing skills, study skills, and other services.

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See Agreement below.


This agreement is a cooperative effort between the Maine Technical College System and Maine Adult Education Association to help Maine adults attain economic security and greater opportunities by providing an effective pathway to college.

WHEREAS, a recent study showed that over 90,000 Maine adults without a college degree have a high interest in going to college;

WHEREAS, it is an economic necessity for Maine employers and the State's economy that more Maine adults attain a college degree in order to assure a high-skilled workforce for the future;

WHEREAS, many Maine adults who desire to go to college lack the academic preparation required for entry into and success in college;

WHEREAS, Maine's statewide network of Adult Education Programs have long provided pre-college preparatory work, including remedial instruction in elementary reading, writing and math, GED preparation and basic skill development as well as student advising and referral to the various technical colleges;

WHEREAS, Maine's Adult Education Programs and Technical Colleges have a long history of collaborating effectively in serving adults; and

WHEREAS, it is a priority of the parties to strengthen those collaborations and help more Maine adults transition successfully into college;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Maine Technical College System (MTCS) and Maine Adult Education Association (MAEA) commit to enhancing partnerships statewide to provide an effective, cost-efficient and convenient pathway to college for adults who need additional preparatory work beyond that available at the technical colleges in order to enter and be successful in college.

The MTCS and MAEA further agree to encourage their respective programs and colleges to enhance or expand collaborations to serve, through Adult Education Programs within the service delivery area of the various colleges, under-prepared adults whose technical college assessment scores and/or admission documents indicate a need to acquire basic reading, writing and/or math; a GED; and/or English as a Second Language, literacy and other basic skills development in order to qualify for a specific program of study at a technical college.

Maine's Technical Colleges further agree to refer students identified by the colleges as under-prepared for success at the college to the respective Adult Education Program for pre-college preparatory work and remediation. With the student's permission, the technical college will provide the program with preliminary assessment information that may be helpful for appropriate advising.

The Adult Education Program will make available to students referred by the technical college, coursework to develop the academic competencies required for admission into a technical college program of study. Upon the student's successful completion of the needed competency development, the program will refer the student back to the technical college and provide the college with a transcript of the student's performance.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have signed this Agreement on the date written below.

John Fitzsimmons, President

Robert Wood

DATE: January 22, 2003