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News Release

Business Leaders to Study Community Colleges' Role in Growing Maine's Economy, Individual Prosperity

Advisory Council to Issue Recommendations
to Governor Baldacci, MCCS Trustees

Thursday, February 23, 2006

CONTACTS: Alice Kirkpatrick: (207) 767-0116 x 3;

AUGUSTA, ME. - At Governor Baldacci's request, the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees has formed an advisory council of top business, labor and economic development leaders to assess the state’s workforce needs at the two-year college level and help guide the next phase of growth of Maine's Community College System. The Governor’s Community College Advisory Council will report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and System trustees this fall.

"Just three years after we broadened their mission, our Community Colleges have emerged as a crucial linchpin in Maine's educational continuum, and in our economy in assuring a high skilled workforce," said Governor Baldacci. "As we look to the future, we must ensure that this system is geared up to support Maine's needs — to help advance areas of greatest opportunity, and to ensure that all Mainers have the opportunity to attain a college degree and prosper in Maine," he said.

"We deeply appreciate this distinguished and talented group of leaders taking on this important task," said Joanna Jones, Chair of the MCCS Board of Trustees, and Co-Chair of the Advisory Council. "This report will provide us with a broad, macro view of what Maine needs of its Community Colleges now and in the future, which will guide and inform our planning well into the next decade," she said.

Members of the Governor's Advisory Council are: Thomas Palmer (Co-Chair), General Manager of Lafayette Hotels in Orono; Joanna Jones (Co-Chair), Director of Human Resources, Education Development Center, Inc., and Chair of the MCCS Board of Trustees; Leon Gorman, Chairman of the Board of L.L. Bean, Inc.; Christopher Evans, President of Sabre Yachts; Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce; Kris Doody Chabre, CEO of Cary Medical Center; Bruce Tisdale, President of Mountain Machine Works; Timothy Hussey, President and CEO of Hussey Seating; Edward Gorham, President of the Maine AFL-CIO; Dianne Tilton, Executive Director of the Sunrise County Economic Council; Cynthia Phinney, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW-1837) and MCCS Trustee; and Brett Doney, President and CEO of Enterprise Maine.

The review will focus on several key areas, including an analysis of business demand for employees educated at the two-year college level; student demographics and the community colleges' role in the PreK-16 education continuum; and the role of the colleges in supporting the state’s economic development efforts.

The Governor's Community College Advisory Council will begin its work in March, and conclude by October. The first meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 1st, at the MCCS Office in Augusta, at 323 State Street. The meeting will run from 9:00 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. It will include a presentation from the Maine State Economist, Catherine Reilly. MCCS President John Fitzsimmons will give an overview of the System, and discuss the proposed process and timeframe.

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